Perl and Python to begin joint development

Jeremy Hylton
Sun, 1 Apr 2001 14:56:54 -0400 (EDT)


Perl and Python to begin joint development

Larry Wall, the creator of Perl, and Guido van Rossum, creator of
Python, today announced that their respective projects are about to
begin a period of joint development. 

According to the language designers, the idea surfaced at last year's
Open Source Convention - "We at the Perl Conference were aware of a need
for a new direction for Perl and for its community, and that's why we
announced the work on Perl 6," said an excited Wall. "At the same time,
Guido was thinking very hard about Python 2.0 and where it was going,
and we got together and started talking about helping each other out."

Initially, the pair planned to have their development communities
working together for mutual benefit. Van Rossum cited some of the
technical reasons for the collaboration: "Perl's highly powerful regular
expression engine would be integrated into Python, and would benefit us
greatly; in return, we've got a number of things right that Perl could
gain from, such as signal handling and robust software engineering."

However, as both designers talked about the changes their languages were
going through, they came to the conclusion that they had much to share
at the language level as well as the interpreter level. According to
Larry Wall, "Perl's always been about taking the best features of all
the other languages available; it's perfectly natural for us to
integrate the best features of Python too."

The specifications for the combined language, called Parrot, will be
documented in the forthcoming book "Programming Parrot In A Nutshell",
to be published by O'Reilly and Associates. In the meantime, the Python
Software Foundation is said to be making arrangements to merge with Yet
Another Society. YAS president Kevin Lenzo was delighted at the move:
"It's a natural extension of what YAS was set up to facilitate -
collaboration and communication between programming communities."

Parrot development will begin with the merger of the Py3K development
team with the Perl 6 internals working group; Jeremy Hylton and Dan
Sugalski will be the joint development leads.

Larry Wall and Guido van Rossum both accepted positions at the Vancouver,
Canada development company ActiveState. A spokesman for ActiveState said
that the company was obviously very pleased with the decision, but
denied that ActiveState had influenced it in any way.