In a previous posting, I ranted on the whole, "What should we call Perl" debate that seems to run as an endless sort of ear-worm around our community. After reading a lot of postings, and speaking with people, I've come to accept that the issue is something, not nothing. So I'm here today to put my support behind the idea that we should re-brand the next major release of Perl revision 5 under the moniker, "Pumpkin Perl". Here's my summary and thoughts on why I believe this.
Matt's suggestion would help conclude the following three problems that the Perl revision 5 community faces (or three of them at any rate):
- We've lost control of our branding. In particular we don't have the ability to promote any major new version of Perl(5) because most outside our community either think that new Perl development has ended (various reasons, sometimes related to Perl6 fairly or not) and/or the are not impressed with what appears to be minor 'point' releases.
- Anger, anxiety and blame toward perl6 because of frustration related to (1) and other reasons.
- Endless bike-shedding regarding what the next Perl(5) release should be called, which consumes terrible amounts of energy, accomplishes nothing AT ALL, and distracts us from tackling some of the real issues we face.
Matt Trout's proposal that we start calling Perl revision 5, "Pumpkin Perl", would solve the three problems I've listed. It gives us a new chance to introduce Perl to the community at large and we get to reclaim a major version number. "Pumpkin Perl version 20" just honestly sounds like what you'd expect from a language that's been around as long as we have. And for anyone confused we get the opportunity to clarified the relationship between Pumpkin Perl and Perl6. Although it seems superficial I've come to accept the mental image here is going to be easier to accept. Because no matter how often I say "Perl6 has evolved to become a new family of languages distinct from Perl5, and Perl5 continues to see active development", in the back of people's minds they are always going to be asking, "But, but why is it called Perl5 then? And, umm, 6 comes after 5 right?"
Rebranding Perl revision 5 to Pumpkin Perl lets Perl6 off the hook to go off and be the best it can be, finally shedding a decade+ of baggage and arguments. Best of luck to it!
Finally, the brand "Pumpkin Perl" would put an end to the pointless bikeshedding that I've seen go on, and on and on... and on for years. Its really depressing. I just turned 44 a bit ago, and honestly it strikes me as silly and a waste of time. Our inability to get past this issue seriously makes me doubt that my dedication and time spent on Perl and trying to build this community was worth the effort.
Now, I don't love "Pumpkin Perl", but I don't hate it either. And I've not heard any better ideas. Here's some nice thoughts about what claiming the brand, "Pumpkin Perl" could do for us.
First of all, pumpkin's have some fairly positive connotations. Fall is my favorite season, and I recall as a child how nice it was to have Halloween to look forward too after being dragged back to school in September. There has often been a tacit relationship between magic and computing, so we got that. And we get to totally OWN Halloween, the coolest and edgiest holiday (at least here in the United States). So that would give us both Halloween and the traditional Advent stuff around Christmas.
Downsides probably include the Rails mafia coding naming their next release 'Smashing Pumpkins'. And of course there's going to be some confusion. And there's going to be some snarkiness related to the apparent "version inflation" of jumping from 5 to 20. Lets just get on it with so that we can get past the confusion and meaness as soon as possible.
Because then we can get on with a ton of real things that we need to work on.
My $0.02 that is.