[Pdx-pm] [meeting notes] What can we do about the low student SoC turn out?
shlomif at iglu.org.il
Fri Apr 11 23:29:54 PDT 2008
On Friday 11 April 2008, Shlomi Fish wrote:
> On Thursday 10 April 2008, benh wrote:
> > Here are all the things that I scribbled down from the meeting
> > tonight, add and comment as you feel necessary.
> > - Make perl 'cool' so that the kids think that it's exciting
> > - games
> Right. In Israel, I jump-started the Israeli Python group, and also gave
> some advice to the Ruby-ILers. I started learning Ruby and it seems
> I'll give my own take of this issue later on, because KMail is misbehaving
> in this message, for the first time ever. (A Heisenbug probably).
One of the presentations I attended an made the most sense is this one:
("The Hacker's Guide to Marketing").
You can try to see how well the first hits in
according to it. (Though perl.com and perl.org has improved since last I
saw), and from what I can see now at least perl.org is now the first hit
instead of perl.com. I tried to take the marketing approach into account when
working on http://perl-begin.org/ , but the testimonials part could use more
work, and I could really use the help of a professional graphics designer
(And probably a professional web-stylist.), but probably cannot really afford
Another problem I see is that Perl has become somewhat of a legacy technology.
Joel on Software describes what happened to OLE/COM here:
That's a huge difference, and when I talked to some friends from Microsoft
Consulting Services about this they admitted that Microsoft had lost a whole
generation of developers. The reason it takes $130,000 to hire someone with
COM experience is because nobody bothered learning COM programming in the
last eight years or so, so you have to find somebody really senior, usually
they're already in management, and convince them to take a job as a grunt
programmer, dealing with (God help me) marshalling and monikers and apartment
threading and aggregates and tearoffs and a million other things that,
basically, only Don Box ever understood, and even Don Box can't bear to look
at them any more.
Obviously Perl is still actively developed, loved by many people, and still
attracts some developers, is not as hard as COM or OLE, and in a better
shape. However, it still has the same problem that it's not what all the cool
kids hear about, and is the latest trend. Ruby had some buzz due to
Ruby-on-Rails, but from what people told me the buzz is now largely over, and
the cool kids have moved to greener pastures.
Perl is also controversial: it was not meant to be likable by anyone, or
particularly aesthetic, or a "small language", nor was a serious corporate
attempt was done to hype it, like Java was. It happened to be there at the
right moment when the web revolution started, became popular and since then
probably lost some of its popularity.
Where was I?
I'm not sure if we should try to renew a new hyper-buzz about Perl. But it
should be doable to counter a lot of the negative hype surrounding Perl and
the fact that many people feel they shouldn't bother learning it.
Another aspect is to convince workplaces that they should train capable and
promising programmers in Perl. While the project head probably needs to have
quite a lot of experience in Perl (see
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/LordPalmerston.html ), some of his
underlings can be new Perl programmers. I've heard that several workplaces
now are desperately looking for Perl programmers, and some even consider
switching to something else (Java, PHP or .NET are usually considered good
candidates by them) because they cannot find good programmers.
Perhaps an article about it would be a good idea. As strange as it sounds, I
had problems finding a Perl job. I didn't see anything of relevance in
http://jobs.perl.org.il/ for a long time, or on the Linux-IL mailing list.
Some companies include Perl as part of a general sys-admin, web-programming
or QA requirements, but I wasn't accepted there. At the moment, I'm
working as a Linux server C++ programmer. The code that originated from Win32
gives me a lot of problem, mostly due to portability problems that are
manifested at run-time (the worst kind), but the work is mostly OK and the
people are nice.
I may feel I'm over-qualified to work purely in Perl, because I have a B.Sc.
in Electrical Engineering, and because I know C/C++ and Assembler in and out.
The job I thought idea was to do something between software and hardware,
like programming Embedded Systems, Signal Processing or kernel or drivers'
development. But Perl is still my favourite language, the one I'm most
productive with, and the one most of my FOSS code is written.
I'm not alone as many experienced Perl programmers ended up taking jobs in
other technologies so they'll have some change.
On Freenode's #perl , we often get people asking us on help how to learn Perl,
or how to fix a Perl script - some of them are young and some of them even
know PHP, Python, etc. We don't have many people looking for Perl hackers to
hire, but I was sometimes told it's a bit prevalent in irc.perl.org's #perl.
Perhaps a site for employers looking to hire Perl programmers would be good
as well as sites for helping people learn Perl.
 - the Frenode channel's policy is that if someone wants us to help him
with his Perl code, he should either learn Perl himself (at least enough to
understand and be able to tweak the code.), or pay someone to do his work for
him. Sometimes people who come to the channel feel it's unfair, but one
should realise that even in the FOSS world, there aren't any free lunches.
One thing I noticed is that many people who frequent #perl6 (including some
Perl "big-names") don't frequeny #perl. This is naturally expected because
they often don't care about the chat and random Q&A that we have on #perl,
but I still feel we could use a more active endoresement of the
I think I'll stop now as I feel this is just a braindump. I'm sorry that this
message was so long, but like Blaise Pascal, I didn't have time to write a
Shlomi Fish shlomif at iglu.org.il
I'm not an actor - I just play one on T.V.
More information about the Pdx-pm-list