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Re: So, Netscape is dead?

by Dog and Pony (Priest)
on Jul 18, 2003 at 01:45 UTC ( #275473=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to So, Netscape is dead?

As outlined in posts above, this is hardly something to lose any sleep over. But as a fun thought experiment, one could draw up an "ain't gonna happen"-scenario:

Microsoft decides that C# was an altogether bad idea, and instead decides that Perl would be the way to go for developers on the Windows platform. So they take the existing codebase, embraces and extends it with lots of Windows specific features and some other non-compatible stuff and calls it Perl# or something silly like that. Maybe they'll make it compile to .NET or something instead of Parrot.

They create a Visual Perl part of their Visual Studio (maybe buying some stuff from ActiveState... or buying ActiveState for that matter), creates the SDK, and start banging on the big propaganda drum, and they get a lot of Windows developers to switch to this new exciting platform. They don't release any code, but the SDK is a free download.

Can they do that? Sure, I think so - the Artistic license probably allows such a fork. In my feeble understanding of such issues anyway.

So what would that mean for Perl 5/6/X? Not much in it self. Development would continue as before. People would still use Perl. Maybe it would even be a good thing in many ways - people that already knows Perl would probably have quite an easy time learning Perl# - no reason why you couldn't do both. Lots of people do both C# and C, Java or whatever other language they did before. The bad stuff would mainly be some confusion about which language is which, when code examples don't work on one or the other. OTOH, noone I know of confuses C and C# even though they have such similar names.

Maybe a few core developers would be bought over, and maybe (probably) they would even be forbidden to work on the "competition" on their spare time, but I'm willing to wager that those would be quite few, and that there would still be plenty of great replacements to take over.

My conclusion would be that such a corporation could very well adopt (embrace and extend) Perl, but they could not "acquire" it as such. When the Java fight was on, Java was also a much younger language, so it was still very new - developers could have been persuaded to follow one path or the other. Perl already has its followers and the community established, of which few would switch. Learn both maybe, but not go to the other side completely.

Note that I was only using MS as an example. I'm sure there are lots of other scenarios, but I am hard pressed to think of any others that could actually do such a move. And I don't think even they ever will. :) Also note that MS has sponsored ActiveState in their development of their version of Perl, and IIRC there are a few articles on Perl on MSDN as well. Not their language of choice, of course, but they do like to have it on Windows. Something which I am thankful for, because it sure has helped bringing it outside *nix-land. :)

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