perl [was: in defense of Java, again]

Jonathan Ellis jonathan at
Thu Jan 26 06:16:03 MST 2006

On Wed, 25 Jan 2006 21:08:44 -0700, "Michael Torrie"
<torriem at> said:
> Other that code written very clearly, perl is one of the easiest
> languages to write unreadable code in that a future maintainer will have
> no hope of understanding.  It's not the one always implies the other;
> just that it's more probable.  One of my CS professors said it best.
> Perl is a great language for doing lots of things quickly, and it's very
> powerful.  However in the hands of most people perl is a "write-only"
> language.

Often, perl fanboys will respond to this with something like, "but you
can write unmaintainable code in any language!"  That's true.  However,
as Erik Naggum said, "It's not that perl programmers are idiots, it's
the language rewards idiotic behavior in a way that no other language or 
tool has ever done."  (From a semi-famous post on perl:  Warning: bring a thick
skin if hearing "perl is broken" brings emotions similar to "your
daughter is ugly.")

That's why these days you mostly see sysadmins and other not-really-
experienced developers using Perl.  Or, professionals using it as an
awk/sed replacement, which is what it was designed for and which it's
quite good at.

C++ is history repeated as tragedy. Java is history repeated as farce.  --Scott McKay

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