SPUG: rejecting PERL applicants?

Tim Maher tim at consultix-inc.com
Tue Jun 12 14:22:45 PDT 2012

On Fri, Jun 08, 2012 at 04:31:32PM -0700, Jeff Almeida wrote:
> I'm fond of Randal's answer to the question, found here:
> http://www.perlmonks.org/index.pl?node_id=510594
> Which is to say, it's perfectly reasonable to use the misuse of PERL
> as a shibboleth to identify outsiders; if you don't know (or don't
> *care to know*, which is even worse) enough about the language to
> know not to render it in all caps because (in the words of
> perlfaq1),
> "Perl is not an acronym," <

Maybe that was true for a fleeting period of time, but IMHO by now
"Perl" has has effectively been an acronym for decades.

IIRC, the argument for that "Not An Acronym" position has always been
that Larry didn't have an expansion for "Perl" in mind when he adopted
the name. However, one can certainly argue that Perl is at least
officially a "back-ronym" (as in "On second thought, let's agree it
means X") because Larry went out of his way to embrace both "Practical
Extraction and Reporting Language" and its evil twin "Pathologically
Eclectic Rubbish Lister" in no less a work as the Camel!

By the way, there certainly are precedents for all-caps short cuts not
being acronyms--for example, despite the modern trend of rendering
UNIX as Unix, the former representation, standing for nothing in
particular associated with those four letters, was the only rendering
of that "word" (and later, registered trade mark) that ever appeared
in the reams of AT&T/Bell Labs manuals or dozens of marketing
promotions connected to UNIX* (I've got a a van-sized pile of AT&T
documents going back to the early 1980s to prove this!)

P.S. Some modern authors have creatively supplied back-ronyms for UNIX
     such as "Unified Networking Interactive Executive", which
     understandably tend to catch on with the users when they fit
     this well fit, but none has ever been officially sanctioned by
     the UNIX powers that be--in contrast to Larry's acceptance of the
     two expansions for Perl mentioned above.

P.P.S. In other news, just because a sequence of letters is
       capitalized doesn't automatically mean it is supposed to be
       treated as an acronym, or vice versa (e.g. we use "scuba"
       not SCUBA).

 |    Tim Maher, PhD  (206) 781-UNIX    http://www.consultix-inc.com     |
 |     tim at ( TeachMePerl, TeachMeLinux, or TeachMeUnix ) dot Com      |
 |  > "Minimal Perl for UNIX People" has been an Amazon Best Seller! <   |
 |  * Download chapters, read reviews, and order at: MinimalPerl.com *   |

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