Perl 7?

I remember seeing a fair share of debate concerning the naming of the next stable version of Perl 5. It would be a shame to let all of Perl 5 die simply because of backwards incompatibility.  Specialy as Perl remains a highly powerful language with very good readability. (Stay out of it Python).

Given Perl 6 is forking away from Perl 5 (not entirely backwards compatible), several possibilities come up:

  1. Perl 5 versions converge to 6 (5.99999999…)
  2. Alternate version naming convention (perl 5 becomes perl 7, 9, 11 etc. & Perl 6 then becomes 8, 10 etc.)
  3. give Perl 6 a different name

Each solution has its many disadvantages:

  1. Dificulty to quickly define version number.
  2. What happens if another fork commes along during Perl 17? Perl 10?
  3. Extreme difficulty to decide upon a name. Perl is afterall, more than a programming language, it is also the community of people who program in said language.

I have heard (or rather, read on IRC) that Perl6 is not deployed as stable yet, as it doesn’t (currently?) support the entirety of CPAN.  But, if there is no backwards compatibiliy, there is no way for it to support (most of) CPAN, as it will be 2 different languages.

What I would like to see happen:
– A portability module in the Perl 6 core. the capacity to add “use 5” in Perl 6 code in order to allow for backwards compatibility, without  being automatically used, in order to avoid the overhead.


After reading through the following: read this, I see that the issue is already being addressed in a very optimal manner.  The only thing that I was unable to see adressed there, was the capacity to have the system use both Pumpkin Perl AND Perl 6.  Sure, you could set an alias “pumpkin” in your bashrc to run Pumpkin Perl, one liners, but that doesn’t really help if your system happens to use both for various reasons.

5 thoughts on “Perl 7?

  1. Where have you been recently ? have you completely missed the discussions on this and the decision by Matt Trout to rebadge Perl 5 as ‘Pumpkin Perl’ to address this problem

  2. When thinking about Perl 6 I think you might be underestimating how different Perl 6 is from Perl 5. They are 2 completely different languages and the only way to have them work together is for some kind of bridge. It’s not just backwards compatability. I say this as a fan of the potential Perl 6 has and I’m still optimistic and excited about it. I think they refer to it now as being in the same language family, but it’s never going to be backwards compatible because it’s not the same language anymore

  3. Regarding your concern “the capacity to have the system use both Pumpkin Perl AND Perl 6”, I don’t think it ever has been a problem. /usr/bin/perl has always been Perl 5 for the longest time since none of the Perl 6 implementations has opted to use the “perl” binary name. Rakudo uses “perl6”.

    Even if both uses “perl”, tools like perlbrew can manage multiple Perl implementations for you.

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