back to article Clutching at its Perl 6, developer community ponders language name with less baggage

Earlier this month, Elizabeth Mattijsen, a Dutch software developer and contributor to the open-source Perl programming language, opened an issue in the GitHub Perl 6 repository seeking to rename the project because having "Perl" in the name is "confusing and irritating." To understand why that's so, it's necessary to know a …


  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Vaguely reminiscent of when VB.NET appreared and in no way was backwardly compatible with VB6 ...

  2. StoneTheKiwis

    Just call it Parrot

    ... or Norwegian Blue. Perl5 rulez.

    1. Jove Bronze badge

      Re: Just call it Parrot

      ... but they killed the Parrot!

  3. karlkarl Silver badge

    This is generally my order of language based on complexity of requirements on POSIX systems:

    sh -> awk -> perl -> c

    Is it because I prefer Perl and C to Python, Perl6 and Rust? Hell no; it is because they are there and don't require additional dependencies. Perl6 and Python are annoying to install. Python has that weird Javascript/NPM inspired cancer called PIP that ensures every bit of code you write today; probably wont work on Python in a few months.

    It is nice to see Perl not going through the same mess as Python 2.x -> 3.x. I find that kind of language breakage unacceptable. Like VB6 -> VB.NET. It is basically an abrupt death of a programming language and how replacing it with another of the same name actually manages to trick some "non"-developers is beyond me.

    Also Perl 5 has a cooler logo:

    1. Jove Bronze badge

      ,"Also Perl 5 has a cooler logo:"

      Since when has that been the Perl logo?

      1. karlkarl Silver badge

        It was pioneered by the guys behind mojolicious (one of the biggest perl web frameworks) and is plastered around at most Perl conventions.

        1. Jove Bronze badge

          ... and yet it is not the Perl logo.

  4. Blackjack Silver badge

    I suggest PerlA

    Pronounced as "Perla", that's the Spanish word for Pearl or as "Perl A".

    But honestly I didn't even know Perl was an insult.

    1. JoeySter

      Re: I suggest PerlA

      It should be renames #@$%_++.

    2. Daniel von Asmuth

      Re: I suggest PerlA

      Perla is a coffee brand.

  5. JoeySter

    I vote to call it Per1.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      That’d be good to have as a password too

  6. SVV

    More Suggestions



    Sellafield, in honour of another notorious rebranding of a radioactive disaster area.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about


    (Perl 6 is not Perl 5)

    Or even just PINP

    1. Phil Endecott

      > P6INP5

      Am I supposed to pronounce that “parsnips”?

  8. Orv

    I like my bikesheds forest green with white trim.

  9. jake Silver badge

    Name suggestion


  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    excellent short vid on the topic just saw this yesterday

    1. Jove Bronze badge

      Re: excellent short vid on the topic

      ... yes, but the discussion is not new and the video just demonstrates how inward looking the Perl6 supporters have become.

      An early discussion on the topic:

      Whether or not they finally agree a name change, the rest of the world by and large has moved on to pastures new.

  11. UrsusMinor

    YAPL: Yet Another Programming Language

    Most of these various coding and scripting languages look to start by hacking at a free 'C' compiler as their basis. Thus preserving the worst features whilst larding on complexity. Python and Perl and the like all make a great argument for Fortran and COBOL.

  12. Well Here I Am...

    Rename Perl_6 "NuPerl" and Perl_5 as "Perlx" (....X for extended)

    Interesting exchange on that Github issue thread--someone suggested renaming Perl_6 as "NuPerl".

    But then a Perl_5 aficionado chimed in that that would be BAD, since it would imply that Perl_5 is "old" Perl (which it is).

    How to resolve this issue when Perl_5 people would rather not see Perl_6 retain the word "perl" at all???? Maybe have Perl_5 be renamed to "Perlx" at exactly the same time.

    Then at the command line, type "perlx" for one and "nperl" for the other.

    (Or go with Aaron Sherman's April 1, 2011 article to Perl_6 "Clamchowder":

  13. Stuart Moore

    The Register runs on Perl?

    I thought The Register ran on beer...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: The Register runs on Perl?

      No, it's the Reg hacks that run on beer. I can see where your confusion comes from, though.

  14. John Geek

    reminds me of the lyrics of an iconic 1960s rock song...

    "You call it rain, but the human name doesn't mean s*** to a tree..."

  15. J27 Silver badge

    Using Perl 5 for new projects now is introducing significant technical debt right off the bat, Pearl 6 I've never used but it wouldn't be my first (or even fourth) choice because it's not very popular and 3rd party support for a where a language lives and dies.

    I know it's a round-about way to say this, but what I mean is that it doesn't matter what Perl 6 is called, very few people care.

  16. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Ada (and Alexa)...

    "...with Ada in the top 100 girls' names for the first time in a century."

    The ONS said girls named Alexa also halved in a year, possibly due to potential confusion with Amazon's Echo."

  17. sitta_europea Silver badge

    If you've had any exposure to Perl, you've probably heard of Tom Christiansen.

    Twenty years ago, I wrote the letter below to him. He was kind enough to suggest that I write more.

    Well I'm still coding in Perl now, more or less all day every day.

    I'm not sure that was what he meant. :)


    Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 23:46:19 +0000 (GMT)

    From: "G.W. Haywood" <xxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

    To: Tom Christiansen <xxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

    Subject: Re: using function prototypes w/ mod_perl.

    Hi there,

    If pressed, I'd admit I'm a C programmer.

    I probably speak C as well as I speak English, having been at it since it was invented.

    Yes, I'll admit I'm over 40. Well over.

    C has got better over the years. To start with the compilers were a bit dodgy and the linkers didn't know about type.

    Now that's all sorted out you can write code knowing that if you pass a string to a function that's expecting a double you'll never get it past `make'.

    As a result, some of my programmes have been running for over a decade without stopping.

    Some of my code sits monitoring nuclear reactors and patients in hospital laboratories.

    My financial well-being is tied to my proficiency in C because my software currently sends out invoices for any of the 120,000 products that I now sell to a sizeable portion of my 18,000 customers, daily.

    It tells me who owes me money, how much, since when, and where I must go if necessary to get it from them.

    Sometimes it's necessary.

    It has to work. If I need a program that's bullet-proof, that will take absolutely anything that's thrown at it, then I will pull out my trusty old C libraries and get coding.

    When it's finished, a hyperactive kitten jumping on the keyboard will result in nothing more sinister than a couple of bleeps.

    Such extreme duress might possibly cause an invoice to be printed that should not have been printed, (although it wouldn't make it out of the door), but it definitely wouldn't put an entry in the error log.

    In short, I believe in C because I've been at it for 25 years.

    Well, I'm new to perl. About 18 months now. You'd think I'd hate it because it's such a completely different thing from C, but, I don't.

    I love it. I can do things in perl in twenty minutes that would take hours in C, if it were realistic even to consider coding them that way.

    What will it be like when I get to be competent?

    When I talk to that absolutely fantastic interpreter it talks back to me, telling me where I made silly mistakes, sometimes showing me a better way to do it, holding my hand as I stumble along.

    At 400MHz, it's quick enough.

    Would I convert any of my hardcore financial stuff to perl?

    Would I put perl in a diagnostics laboratory? On a reactor?


    But would I mess about with C to get something running on our Website? Why bother?

    There are so many things waiting to go wrong between the user's browser (which is probably a M1croS0ft product so it will almost certainly crash within the next ten minutes or so)

    and my servers (which probably will not survive even the most ham-fisted of attempts by a second-rate undergraduate to gain illegal access) that the idea of my writing a Robust Piece Of Code to do something as mundane as serving pages is simply laughable.

    The Web is moving so fast I'm sure that if I try to do what I need to do in a language like C, I'll never catch it. So I say let's get it done, make a few bob, and on to the next job.

    Tell your C programming friends that function prototypes are for people in air-traffic control and petrochemicals.

    If they're really fussy, tell them they should be looking at RTL/2 anyway. Tell them what the p in perl stands for. It doesn't stand for `prototypes'.

    Kind regards,



  18. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    Pearl's a singerProgramming Language

    1. Jove Bronze badge

      Re: Pearl...?

      Indeed: How many other programming languages have a song written about them (well not strictly true but allowing for some Artistic Licence):

      Elkie Brooks - Pearl's a Singer (1977)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The obvious name would be nit.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      > The obvious name would be nit.

      Do you mean 'knit'? As in knit one, Perl two?

  20. coconuthead

    Let's help them with some name suggestions

    I'll start off:

    Lana - "LArry's Next Abomination"

  21. Esme

    There's something worse than Visual Basic?!

    VB is the language that put me right off trying to get back into programming, many moons ago (I had been fairly good at programming in BASIC, 6502 assembler, 6502 machine code and I messed about with FORTH and LISP a little). I did look at Python a year or two after my encounter with VB (seemed OK, what little I saw of it), but by then had decided Helldesking was my forte, and I was sticking to it! But VB - (shudder). After three days of effort, I still couldn't get a program that would've taken me half an hour to code in old-school BASICs (granted, sans nice UI) to do anything useful at all!

    My hat's off to all you bright sparks that can make all this stuff (waves hand around to indicate t'internet, OS's, etc) work, whatever language you're using to do it!

    1. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: There's something worse than Visual Basic?!

      It looks like you fell for Microsoft's trap.

      VB is no longer BASIC, it is VB.NET; a weak gateway drug to a shite language C#, copying off an awkward language Java.

      If you liked BASIC, then try out the VB dialect (VBA) that comes with Microsoft Office.

  22. TrumpSlurp the Troll

    Elitist, much?

    For all those so far up themselves who consider that you shouldn't be programming if you can't write in C.


    Perl is the next step up from shell scripting which turned out to be so useful that people kept extending it and extending it.

    I've used it in the past for simple things like automating the copying of files, and running a Telnet script to monitor an early ADSL modem on a line which had a wobbly signal.

    The nice thing is that scripts are portable between different OS where shell scripts aren't/weren't.

    I've worked on much larger systems written mainly in Perl where I questioned why it was used (I suspect a demonstrator may have morphed into production) but still, it worked.

    I'm not a professional programmer so although I have written in C it isn't my language of choice when reaching for a book to help me write 10-20 lines of one off ditty.

    Oh, and if you want similar name incompatibility try writing in C shell after learning C.

  23. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    If it doesn't swallow Perl code, then WTF is it called Perl-Anything? It's like writing a compiler that takes source code in the form if (p) { dothing(); } and calling it Basic.

  24. DrXym Silver badge

    The least of its troubles

    Perl's problem is not its name. Perl 5 gained a reputation for being a free form, write-only language. There were about 10 ways to do any simple task and some of them were extremely esoteric. That became a problem since any given script was likely cobbled together from cut and pasted snippets from a google search.

    Unsurprisingly, developers gravitated to more readable, maintainable (and potentially structured) languages. It doesn't help that Perl 6 is not code compatible with Perl 5 but historically Perl has always done that so I don't see that as the main reason for disinterest. There just isn't the audience or demand for it any more and I don't see much that would persuade or sell the language to anybody with an existing codebase in Python, JavaScript or Ruby.

  25. Peconet57

    Rename it "the Camelia Programming Language?

    Her preference would be to rename it "the Camelia Programming Language. No, no and NO! That is just so 'ist to use a name that is so similar to my name. How dare they / her / he / it, change the name. Oh my goodness! While we are at it, WHY not change all the languages all together? All the books that are out there will need changing too, Python, Ruby, C##, C++ and many others. Some change is good, some not so good.

  26. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    For Advanced IntelAIgent Things in AI Circles and Fruity Donuts, a Rhetorical Interrobang ‽

    As puts it, Perl 6 is "not intended as a replacement for Perl 5, but as its own thing."

    Here's Toasting to ITs Hosting of Advanced IntelAIgent Themes ........ Virtually Streamed via Capture in Captivating Media Streams.

    AIRealities for Terrestrial Television to Introduce and Co Host with Secret IntelAIgent Services .... [if anyone needs to know mutter MuI7 Attends and Extends Future Feeds and Seeds]

    The Ponder here is whether it be an AI for Boris to Borrow and Ply with Plunder? :-)

    Who ever would have athought it, ....... Future Remote Real IT Command and Control, Mercifully Mercilessly Available at One's Fingertips.

    Now that News Today for Tomorrow will allow you to Tune In and See and Try Out NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT [Future Remote Real IT Command and Control, Mercifully Mercilessly Available at One's Fingertips.]

    What a lovely situation to be in, El Reg........ with Clear AIMagic Roads Ahead for All. Follies Think Secrecy and Stealth are Both Necessarily Desired because of Knowledge Discovered Uncovering All Manner of Instantly Available Facilities.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: For Advanced IntelAIgent Things in AI Circles and Fruity Donuts, a Rhetorical Interrobang ‽

      It never rains but it pours, Boris. Give a bulldog a bone and it aint going anywhere it isn't needed. ......

      It does have one wondering who and/or what supplies leading future intelligence for/to the masses to/for Governments/Churches/Cabals/Markets/Private Elitists/Piratical AI Pioneers.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: For Advanced IntelAIgent Things in AI Circles and Fruity Donuts, a Rhetorical Interrobang ‽

        But amfM, what thinking man pays any attention to the clowns over at Zero Hedge? As far as I'm concerned, anything that comes out of that camp is extremely biased, to the point of being fiction, and thus is a non-starter as far as serious conversation is concerned.

        Care to make whatever point you were attempting to get across, but this time in your own words?

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: For Advanced IntelAIgent Things in AI Circles and Fruity Donuts, a Rhetorical Interrobang ‽

          Hi, jake.

          Re any of your concerns, it is probably impossible to do better than just reiterate and wholeheartedly agree with these few words .......

          So we are evolving rapidly. Cyber is now our fastest-growing directorate. We are shifting our focus to the nexus between humans and technology. And for the first time, through the National Security Strategic Investment Fund, we are pursuing a completely different type of partnership with the tech-innovation community, giving the private and academic community the role we need and they deserve.

          Ironically, the most profound consequence of the technological challenge is a human one. We are determined, of course, to attract people with an even higher level of technical skill to join our ranks, in the best traditions of Q. But my organisation will need to adapt even faster if it is to thrive in the future. And that will require people with new perspectives, capable of harnessing their creativity in ways that we can’t yet even imagine.

          It is why we are determined to attract people from the widest range of backgrounds to join SIS. This will enable us to bring the widest range of approaches to bear on solving complex problems and so make our missions even more effective. .... Alex Younger [MI6 "C"] St Andrews University speech Dec 2018

          You'll just have to imagine where all that is at, a further year on down the line.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: For Advanced IntelAIgent Things in AI Circles and Fruity Donuts, a Rhetorical Interrobang ‽

            I stopped reading at "cyber". It's always a sure sign of the cluelessness of the author. Kinda like the idiots who use the word "snowflake" when not discussing snow, don't you think?

            1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

              Re: For Advanced IntelAIgent Things in AI Circles and Fruity Donuts, a Rhetorical Interrobang ‽

              I stopped reading at "cyber". It's always a sure sign of the cluelessness of the author. Kinda like the idiots who use the word "snowflake" when not discussing snow, don't you think? ...... jake

              Wow! ..... To think so, jake, has one surely catastrophically disadvantaged and quite unnecessarily so too. It is thus an idiotic mistake to make and barren path to take ...... imagining the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, and coincidentally and collaterally Queen Elizabeth II by virtue of her private support and public reward, clueless in fields in which they are intelligently designed to stealthily excel, don't you think?

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: For Advanced IntelAIgent Things in AI Circles and Fruity Donuts, a Rhetorical Interrobang ‽

                The chief's field is economics, and the figurehead's degree is inherited. Neither are exactly what I would consider technically inclined, so why should you or I listen to them when it comes to technical matters? They are just paper-pushers, mouthing words that have no meaning to them.

                Face it, virtually everything that has ever been written about cyber-this and cyber-that has pretty much been forgotten within days or weeks of the comment(s) being uttered. It is a meaningless word, only useful as a filter.

                1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

                  Re: For Advanced IntelAIgent Things in AI Circles and Fruity Donuts, a Rhetorical Interrobang ‽

                  Any "C" worthy of heading Secret Intelligence Services will be right royally chuffed to realise the Almighty Stealth available in Virtualised Operations with Advanced Future Controllers, which as you have beautifully confirmed, are both Invisible and Unbelievable. Is ever there an Almightier Friend or More Fearsome Fearless Foe?

                  The fact that one doesn't/can't believe such as is shared, when a well enough known nugget of information in any number of other locations into macro managing Islands of Treasure and Pleasure where Simple and Undeniable Truth is AIMastering Universes, is always discovered to be malfunctioning communication channels/still silent witnesses.

                  I think you misunderestimate the Secret Intelligence Service, jake. They'll just love that too. :-)

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: For Advanced IntelAIgent Things in AI Circles and Fruity Donuts, a Rhetorical Interrobang ‽

                    Misunderestimate an induhvidual? Nah. Ol' Bill of Occam says no.

                    So does the Peter Principle.

                    To say nothing of decades of actual observation, working in the industry.

                    Doubly so for military/government.

                    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

                      Re: For Advanced IntelAIgent Things in AI Circles and Fruity Donuts, a Rhetorical Interrobang ‽

                      That is as may be, jake, and it is then just time wasting to disagree, but we are not talking here of misunderestimating figure heading individuals whenever dealing with tip top top secret secure secretive virtual entities.

                      And even though one might recognise your pain and disillusionment, to not imagine and realise the future is a completely different space place to populate and present with prime novel content displaying premium intelligent information, is to admit that one is stuck in a deep and dark bankrupting rut of overwhelming despair and illogical hope.

                      And that leaves one catastrophically vulnerable and helpless against everything that is not status quo establishment controlled via the facility and utility of the Main Stream Media Channels', Poxed Chunnels and Deceitful Tales ....... Increasingly Desperate and Ultimately Self-Destructive Trails.

                      1. jake Silver badge

                        Re: For Advanced IntelAIgent Things in AI Circles and Fruity Donuts, a Rhetorical Interrobang ‽

                        My pain and disillusionment? Last time I checked, I felt no pain or disillusionment ... and I am certainly not stuck in a deep and dark bankrupting rut of overwhelming despair and illogical hope.

                        I'm terribly sorry, amfM, you seem to have me confused with somebody else. Might want to check your notes and try again.

                        During the meanwhile, relax and have a homebrew ... it'll do you a world of good.

                        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

                          Re: For Advanced IntelAIgent Things in AI Circles and Fruity Donuts, a Rhetorical Interrobang ‽

                          Thanks for the updating clarifications/confirmations, jake. How could anyone expect anything less? :-)

                          Here's to slaking Insatiable Thirsts to be enjoyed and favoured, savoured and servered.:-)


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