It Was About Time To Find A Shared Vision Of The Perl Foundation
Written by Nikos Vaggalis   
Thursday, 17 November 2022

The news is that "Yet Another Society" (aka YAS) of which The Perl Foundation is a registered "doing-business-as" is registering a new "doing-business-as" called "The Perl and Raku Foundation" (aka TPRF). This has caused some confusion. But what's the deal behind it?

The initial and official post had been written as "The Perl Foundation has been renamed to The Perl and Raku Foundation". Fortunately, Elizabeth Mattijsen, a long standing and recognized member of both the Perl and Raku communities, has made it clear that the it is the YAS registered brand that has had the name change. As she states :

The conclusion of this discussion was that it would be best to create another "dba" for YAS, called "The Raku Foundation". This would offer both Perl and Raku communities their own foundation in any Public Relations efforts. And as such, reduce the misconceptions that people might have about the relationship between Perl and Raku going forward in time.

Unfortunately, it took until the summer of 2022 for this "doing business as" to be finally registered. So now, YAS is known as "The Perl Foundation", but also as "The Raku Foundation". With the possibility of creating separate websites geared towards different audiences.

Subtle wording. But under the hood nothing has changed. YAS has been supporting the advancement of the Perl and Raku programming languages for ever, so a rebranding would make the purpose clearer.

In "It Was About Time To Find A Shared Vision Of Perl" I found that:

The problem that TPF is looking at is that Perl's ecosystem is compartmentalized; one part doesn't know what the other part is doing and there's no clear communication path between them. So the attempt now is to get a high-level overview of what is important for each compartment and connect the pieces in order for the TPF to be able to offer the best possible help and collectively push Perl further ahead.

It's important to note that apart from the disconnect between compartments, there's a few times that they even became antagonistic forming tensions between, or within them. Recent instances of that kind of behavior is the drama that developed between the two sister languages, Perl 5 and Perl 6,  and afterwards the tension between Perl 5 and Perl 7, debating whether to break backwards compatibility or not, which climaxed with the release of Perl's version 5. 34 and Pumpkin Sawyer X resigning from his position.

Thus I see this attempt to find a shared vision as also a way to reconcile all parties and concentrate all the community's power to one common cause - that of progressing Perl on all levels. It was about time to look for a common vision for Perl inside such a fragmented landscape. Maybe that's what was holding Perl back from staying "alive".

It was now time to make that intention official too. This happened with adding the word Raku in new YAS brand..

This unification comes a long way from the time that those sister language were even been considered as foes. A lot of ink has been shed on the tantalizing relationship between Perl and Perl 6. aka Raku, as I described back in 2018 in "The Perl Renaming Debate Highlights Tensions" :

The name "Perl" lies at the heart of the drama developing between the two languages, Perl 5 and Perl 6. This is a long way from the once desirable unification and moves towards breaking the ties between former sister languages now emerging as total foes.

So given how the differences outweighed the similarities, calling the language Perl and giving it the number 6 misled people into believing that it's an updated version of Perl 5 rather than a different language; and the rift has been widening since then.

Finally, at the beginning of November, there came the definitive answer by Larry Wall himself. The alias would be 'Raku', being analogous to a stage name.

So what can this aliasing achieve? The most optimal for Perl 6 would be for people to totally forget about the Perl part and start calling it just Raku, allowing it to "become a de facto name through its sheer amount of use".

In the end everything turned out alright. But instead of the two splitting paths, they now live under the same umbrella, The Perl and Raku Foundation - although as an UPDATE to the TPF Foundation annoucement makes clear it's not a rename of the foundation. It also includes the caveat that this decision will be revisited in 3 years.


More Information

On the Perl and Raku Foundation

TPF announcement

Related Articles

It Was About Time To Find A Shared Vision Of Perl

The Perl Renaming Debate Highlights Tensions

Perl Turns 34 - A Retrospective 

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Last Updated ( Friday, 18 November 2022 )