Skip to content

perl is what happens when you irritate a programmer for years

I hate Perl.

Perl is an agglomeration of functionality combining the worst of incomprehensibly terse unix syntax with the worst of every other incomprehensibly terse syntax Larry Wall could get ahold of.

There are people who love Perl. Who enjoy producing write-only code. Who are proud that an incredibly high percentage of completely random files will be parsed, will do something legal, in Perl. This disgusts me.

I find it hard to look past the fact that in at least five of the last ten or so times an automated build of something I didn’t write failed, the specific component which failed either was a Perl component or was written in Perl.

I would be almost tempted to look deeper for the source of the problem, maybe to fix it–if I didn’t have to deal with Perl.

I sometimes think that Perl was a compromise, or an experiment, to determine exactly how horrible an interpreted language could be and still be widely adopted. Funge was the first experiment. Perl was the second. This astounded the researchers, who had planned a course of twelve, culminating in python. They later released python anyway out of pity.

In a normal language, to access the contents of a variable, you ask for the variable: foo. In Perl, you ask for $@%$foo. The implied profanity cannot be accidental. Actually, scratch the ‘implied’, because you really needed to write $$@%foo and your program doesn’t work and this error is actually impossible for a human to debug.

This leads to the speculation that Larry Wall is the leader of a race of bugs–think Men in Black–who came to Earth to right an injustice which really was only a poor translation. His mission: to do battle with all programmers who want to eliminate bugs from their code. His tactic: release a language in which bugs proliferate like cockroaches in a dump. I’m not saying this is the truth. But it’s possible.

RSS feed


No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.