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Re: Feaping Creature-ism in core Debian Packages

According to Dale Scheetz:
> On Thu, 2 Sep 1999, Chip Salzenberg wrote:
> > Alan Cox:
> > > Perl is unsuitable for specification.  There is no fixed grammar for
> > > perl.
> > 
> > And which languages *do* have "fixed grammars" in this sense?
> Almost all of them

A fascinating opinion.

> There _is_ a standard to apply to sh.  There is no such standard to
> apply to various versions of perl to determine their "compliance",

A standard is just a document with delusions of grandeur.  And all
documents have blind spots.  Perl isn't some undocumented mystery.
Its documents just don't call themselves "a standard".

> ... and thus, even the direct maintainers are not always sure what
> the outcome of a grammar change will be without trying it out on the
> rest of us.

I suspect you haven't thought about how true that statement is for any
popular software system.

> > > 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.
> Well, it seems to be the crux of the matter from my POV.

If you believe that the Perl community believes that whatever
/usr/bin/perl does is officially supported Perl that's guaranteed
never to change, well, all I can say is that you have a very different
view of the Perl community than I do.

And more to the point, the perl upstream maintainers (of which I am
one) do NOT believe that every accidental behavior must be supported.

So just what IS your point?

> > > 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.
> A. Are you speaking as the Debian maintainer, or as an upstream
> maintainer? (I am pure ignorant...)

Upstream.  I'm the pumpkin holder for maintenance of 5.4 and 5.5.

> B. The version numbers you quote don't fit the versions I have been
> dealing with. (5.004, 5.004.05, and 5.005)

For humans, we're calling 5.004 "5.4", 5.005 "5.5", 5.005_03 "5.5.3",
etc.  It's a marketing decision based on how people didn't like having
to say all those 'zero's and 'underscore's.

> C. Even if Alan is mistaken in his appraisal, what makes his statement 
> "vile"?

It's vile to accuse security-conscious and public-spirited maintainers
of not caring about their users' security issues.
Chip Salzenberg      - a.k.a. -      <chip@perlsupport.com>
      "When do you work?"   "Whenever I'm not busy."

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