Last night was the monthly London Perl Mongers social meeting. I hadn’t been for far too long, but I went last night and enjoyed myself.
The talk was as varied as it always is, but one conversation in particular got me thinking. We were talking about YAPC Europe and someone asked if I had seen the Future Perl Versioning Panel. I said I had and that I was slightly disappointed with the make-up of the panel. In my opinion having three people on the panel who were all strong advocates for Perl 6 remaining Perl 6 didn’t really lead to much of a discussion.
In the end, though, any discussion on this subject is pretty pointless. Larry’s word is law and he has made it very clear that he wants things to remain the way they are. And, of course, any discussion of what might have happened differently if Perl 6 had been given a different name or any of the other alternatives is all completely hypothetical.
But hypothetical discussions can be fun.
So lets turn the discussion round and look at it from a slightly different angle.
Imagine you’re in an alternative universe. One where Jon Orwant never threw those coffee cups and the Perl 6 project was never announced. But also imagine that Perl 5 development in this universe had proceeded along the same lines as it has in our universe (I know that’s unlikely as a lot of Perl 5 development in the last ten years has come out of people wanting to implement ideas from Perl 6 – but let’s ignore that inconvenient fact).
My question to you, then is this…
In this parallel universe, at which point in the last thirteen years of Perl 5 development should we have changed the major version number to 6?
I have an answer to the question, but I’d like to hear some other opinions before sharing it.