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Re: Feaping Creature-ism in core Debian Packages

Alan Cox:
> Perl is unsuitable for specification.  There is no fixed grammar for
> perl.

And which languages *do* have "fixed grammars" in this sense?
Consider that the Bourne shell has never had a published grammar that
actually matched reality, yet it is still the basis for a multitude of
installation scripts.

> Each perl script is potentially precisely dependant on a perl
> revision and may break arbitarily.

Backwards breakage, yes.  Forwards breakage, no.  (Except for plain
old bugs, which get fixed, and which every program has.)  This
situation is *exactly* analogous to Bourne/bash/ksh/etc.

> It sucks but its reality.  Majordomo broke on 3 out of 4 "minor"
> revision updates to perl I did.

I'd like specifics on this.  However, one recent Majordomo breakage
was just a Perl bug, not a spec change, and it was fixed immediately;
and another Majordomo breakage was actually a Majordomo bug (failure
to follow the documentation).

> The perl community informs me that there is no perl grammar. They
> don't themselves know what is and isnt perl except by feeding it
> through interpreter of the week.

This is gratuitous hyperbole.

> If we standardise on it and bugs (eg security stuff) is found the
> perl community don't back fix old perl.

THIS is a vile lie.

I am personally responsible for continuing the maintenance of Perl 5.4
and 5.5 (recently taken over from Graham Barr), and I (and Graham)
take security issues VERY seriously.  I patched a suid security
problem in 5.3 when 5.4 was almost ready.  And I released a patch to
5.4 within the last few months, even though 5.5 is the current version
and 5.6 is nearly ready.
Chip Salzenberg      - a.k.a. -      <chip@perlsupport.com>
      "When do you work?"   "Whenever I'm not busy."

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