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For me the problem with Perl isn't the language but the mindset the goes with it... | Hacker News -
Massive perl scripts that still lurk in our memories of the 90s were not the result of testosterone fueled one-up-manship brogrammer culture. They are the result of needing-to-get-the-report-generated-yesterday one-man-in-the-"computers"-department every-programmer-was-a-sysadmin and-every-sysadmin-knew-perl4-because-that's-all-that-shipped-with-HP-UX/Solaris/AIX (and you had to pay extra for the compiler to build something more modern) culture -- if a single person working in isolation can define a "culture", that is. It's scripts like these that spawned the meme of replacing people with scripts; because that's what these massive scripts did: automated away entire departments, or negated the need to hire for a department all together. Which is important when you're a two man company and all of a sudden you've discovered you need to process $100k of credit card transactions from yesterday, and you better get started on it because there's already another $300k in transactions generated today. It's only one script, so there's no need for revision control. Damn, there's only one guy working on it, it can run out of his home directory. And of course, it was so successful, successfully a blackbox, he's asked to automate some other task, which is only related because there's some slight dependency, and, well, it's a dependency, so let's just put it in the same script we already run. Rinse, repeat. Were these scripts terrible? Of course. But they were the work horses of the Internet and any company with two CPUs to rub together in the 90s. There's a reason that "perl is the duct tape of the Internet" was a saying in the mid- to late- 90s: because it was. These scripts work perfectly fine if the person who wrote them and fully understand them runs them, yet inexplicably fall apart when someone who didn't write them run them (similar to ). These scripts can smell the fear of the new guy put in charge to maintain them. This is where heisenbugs roost and schroedinbugs...
Don't blame the language either. It just is what it is. But there is value in the things you can learn about the code, the people, and the times by taking an anthropological view of it. In fifteen or twenty years we'll be reading rants from people who had to cut their teeth on some overly designed, needlessly abstracted, difficult-to-build-all the-dependencies-for rails app. It's cyclical. -
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