SPUG: rejecting PERL applicants?

Jeff Almeida jeff.d.almeida at gmail.com
Tue Jun 12 14:36:26 PDT 2012

OK, suppose I chose the turn of phrase, "Perl was not originally intended
to be an acronym," instead? (Which, incidentally, might make good candidate
for inclusion in the next revision of perlfaq1)  Because either way, the
strength of the shibboleth is really that the community doesn't render it
in all-caps, regardless of reason.  And for the record, I *prefer*
"Pathologically eclectic rubbish lister," because, as anyone who has
examined the joyful horror of Selfgol and its many, many unusual cousins
will attest, 'Practical' is a matter of debate and 'extraction and
reporting' are to Perl's capabilities as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are
to the cast of Hamlet. ;)

Oh, and yes Tim, after 9 years I finally did succeed in moving up here!
Which, if you count from when I was living in Dallas in '03 and first
(recently) tried, represents about a centimeter-per-second pace. :D

Jeff D. Almeida
near Seattle, WA

On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 2:22 PM, Tim Maher <tim at consultix-inc.com> wrote:

> 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!)
> -Tim
> 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).
>  *-----------------------------------------------------------------------*
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>  |     tim at ( TeachMePerl, TeachMeLinux, or TeachMeUnix ) dot Com      |
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