[Python-Dev] ActiveState & fork & Perl

Tim Peters tim_one at email.msn.com
Tue Jun 8 03:24:47 CEST 1999

[David Ascher]
> In case you haven't heard about it, ActiveState has recently signed a
> contract with Microsoft to do some work on Perl on win32.

I'm astonished at the reaction this has provoked "out there".  Here:

D:\Python>perl -v

This is perl, version 5.001

        Unofficial patchlevel 1m.

Copyright 1987-1994, Larry Wall
Win32 port Copyright (c) 1995 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
        Developed by hip communications inc., http://info.hip.com/info/

        Perl for Win32 Build 107
        Built Apr 16 1996 at 14:47:22
Perl may be copied only under the terms of either the Artistic License or
GNU General Public License, which may be found in the Perl 5.0 source kit.


Notice the MS copyright?  From 1995?!  Perl for Win32 has *always* been
funded by MS, even back when half of ActiveState was named "hip
communications" <0.5 wink>.  Thank Perl's dominance in CGI scripting -- MS
couldn't sell NT Server if it didn't run Perl.  MS may be vicious, but
they're not stupid <wink>.

> ...
>   fork()
> ...
> Any guesses as to whether we could hijack this work if/when it is released
> as Open Source?

It's proven impossible so far to reuse anything from the Perl source -- the
code is an incestuous nightmare.  From time to time the Perl-Porters talk
about splitting some of it into reusable libraries, but that never happens;
and the less they feel Perl's dominance is assured, the less they even talk
about it.

So I'm pessimistic (what else is new <wink>?).  I'd rather see the work put
into threads anyway.  The "Mac OS" problem will go away eventually; time to
turn the suckers on by default.

    who-don't-now-ly y'rs  - tim

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