[Python-Dev] copy, len and the like as 'object' methods?

Dan Sugalski dan@sidhe.org
Wed, 22 Aug 2001 15:51:59 -0400

At 11:44 AM 8/22/2001 -0700, David Ascher wrote:
>Jeremy Hylton wrote:
> >
> > >>>>> "PP" == Paul Prescod <paulp@ActiveState.com> writes:
> >
> >   PP> My sense was "Second System Syndrome" but Damian Conway is
> >   PP> confident that they don't have that problem.
> >
> > Isn't that one of the signs of the second system effect? <0.5 wink>
> >
> > Did he offer any reason for his confidence?
>I think the fundamental source of their confidence lay in Randal's
>answer when I challenged the claim that they would write translators
>which would automatically translate 95% of Perl5 code to Perl6:  "If
>we're smart enough to write Perl5, we can do this".  I think it glosses
>over a lot of important issues, but this isn't the forum to discuss it.

Randal's confidence is based in some part on the fact that he's watching 
other people do it, and it's a lot easier to be confident that way. :) I, 
on the other hand, am nervous as all hell, honestly. (OTOH I feel the same 
way about raising my kids)

Perl 5 to perl 6 isn't that tough though (we do chunks of Python and Ruby 
to perl 5, after all), and we do have a full-featured perl 5 parser handy. 
It's as much a task of either reimplementing the perl 5 C-based parser in 
perl as part of the perl 6 parser front-end (Non-trivial, but not rocket 
science either) or build a perl 5 bytecode->perl 6 bytecode translator, 
which is significantly easier. Or just teach the perl 5 parser to spit out 
a syntax tree, which it pretty much does already.

>Perl6 is being defined pretty much as the kitchen sink -- any cool
>feature from any cool language is going to be supported.
>It's designed by committees (30 or so?), on the
>assumption that integration is a smaller issue than designing each
>'feature' well.

Forgive the snippage, but the above two quotes are directly related.

Perl 6 the language is *not* being designed by committees, though parts of 
it look that way from the outside. There's exactly one person responsible 
for the design of perl 6--Larry. Damian's feeding a lot of interesting 
ideas to him, but Larry's ultimately responsible for putting together a 
coherent whole. The committee setup at the beginning was designed to let 
the people who had an interest in a particular topic get together and flesh 
out a proposal or four for Larry, but we made no promises that the 
proposals would see the light of day unchanged in the final language design.

The internals design is being handled by a small group of folks, about six, 
each of us with a different area of competence. We're working things out so 
we have some good walls between components so they can be implemented 
semi-separately and in parallel.

Part of me would like to have the "design by committee" feel stand until we 
pull the rabbit out of the hat later, but that might convince people that 
committee design can actually work in large projects and, well, we have 
enough of that nonsense around as it is.

>I did have a very interesting chat w/ Damian Conway -- he said that
>Perl6 is already succeeding because it's revitalized the Perl5

FWIW, the success does spread beyond perl. If nothing else, there's a fair 
amount of "Perl can do that? Well, then, so can *my* language!" feeling 
amongst folks who feel strongly about languages and such. (Can't imagine 
who that'd be... :) Perl's doing more, which is prompting folks to do more 
in other languages, as a tit for tat thing if nothing else. And most any 
time you add functionality, everybody wins.


--------------------------------------"it's like this"-------------------
Dan Sugalski                          even samurai
dan@sidhe.org                         have teddy bears and even
                                      teddy bears get drunk