[Pdx-pm] An interesting idea this way comes

Phil Tomson ptkwt at aracnet.com
Fri Aug 13 13:37:17 CDT 2004

On Fri, 6 Aug 2004, Jonathan Gardner wrote:

> On Friday 06 August 2004 01:16 pm, T. William Schmidt wrote:
> The same thought was buzzing through the Perl community. "Why is Java 
> and .Net kicking our butts?" "Well, people are looking for three 
> things: ..."

It's all a matter of perspective.  In recent years I've gotten to the 
point where I prefer programming in Ruby (before that I really preferred 
Perl, which is why I'm lurking here, I suppose :), but you don't see a lot 
of ads for Ruby programmers out there.  You do (often) see Perl as a 
requirement.  And occasionally you see Python listed (but not as often as 
Perl).  I did advertise for a Ruby programmer a few months back to take over 
for me on a contract but I suspect that was probably the only Ruby job (where 
Ruby was a primary requirement for the job) that was advertised in the Portland 
metro area this year.  BTW: I found an eager/well-qualified Ruby 
programmer within a day of posting to the local Ruby mailing list (thus 
debunking management's worry that we wouldn't be able to find good Ruby 

Now, of course I'd like to see Ruby be more frequently used in commercial 
settings just as you would like to see Perl be more frequently used.  We 
could always take the Paul Graham approach and consider our language 
choice to be our secret weapon, I suppose (he considered Lisp to be his 
secret weapon because he was so much more productive in Lisp), but then 
when we need to look for work we might not find any jobs which require our 
chosen language.

My point is that I'm not sure that starting a consulting company which 
makes it's main focus a language choice probably is a shakey proposition.  
I could start one for Ruby.  Guido could (probably has) start one for 
Python.  Eventually doesn't it just become your marketing group against 
mine?  Seems to me that the current method works fine - you like Perl, you 
use Perl at work and show others why they might want to use Perl.  
Word-of-mouth, grass roots marketing seems to have served Perl quite 
nicely up to this point.  Java and .Net have lots of marketing $$ behind 
them, which is why they're doing well with the PHBs - but that doesn't 
mean they have street cred.  If you want to fight the fight on Sun's and 
Micro$oft's terms there's no way you can win. 

However, if you started a consulting company where the main focus was 
productivity, that could win.  If you could out-produce those Java and 
.Net programmers by a good margin and get things done faster then you've got a 
strategy for making money.  Currently the focus has been on cost (witness 
the offshoring of jobs to low pay countries like India), however, I 
suspect that over the next couple of years companies will be disappointed 
with the results (you get what you pay for) and they'll be looking more 
towards quality and results - we can only hope anyway.


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