Cameron Laird's personal notes on ferment among scripting languages

In mid-2000, most of the leading scripting languages are significantly reorganizing in at least one respect. This page tracks developments of common interest. It's designed for the convenience of technical sophisticates who know their own domain well, and need quick pointers to the essential current events of a related language. As one correspondent wrote me privately, "I would want to know what stage the other players are at, which topics have been discussed that week, and where I can read more about them. . . . The [majority of the discussions] are public, after all; it's just too time-consuming to read them all." Let me know how this page can help improve that situation.

LWN published an editorial on development processes at the end of September 2000.



Perl is gearing up for Perl 6 (for which this is a seldom-updated earlier home), a major rewrite planned on an eighteen-month schedule. Mark-Jason Dominus, who summarizes weekly activity on the p5p mailing list as managing editor of for O'Reilly and Associates, provides this technically-detailed "Report on the Perl 6 Announcement". Other essential reading:

Perl6 Project Manager Nat Torkington reviews the goals and status and prospects of Perl6 as of mid-September 2000. He justly concludes that currying will be vastly cool in the intermediate future.

Piers Cawley's "Not Just For Damians" summarizes Perl 6 for a programmer as of October 2001. ]

Ilya Zakharevich is one of several people who think Perl6 is a bad idea.

What does Perl6 have to do with Chip Salzburg's Topaz? They're quite separate--well, Perl6ers have learned from Topaz, but the only re-use is at that conceptual level.

A summary of "Larry's Altanta Linux Showcase Talk" that I favor.


Guido does a good interview in which he explains some of the relations between the Python inner circle, CNRI, BeOpen, the version numbers, the licenses, ...

"(Stackless) Python Roadmap" includes a few remarks about versions 1.6, 2.0, 3000, and their licensing.

Python development is organized around Python Enhancement Proposals (PEPs), roughly corresponding to Python's RFCs.

eff-bot daily digests Python events, and the "Python-URL!" team does the same on a weekly basis; moreover, Fredrik knows everything about internal encodings in both Tcl and Python. Andrew Kuchling is gearing up to prepare twice-a-month summaries of developments on the python-dev mailing list.





Tcl has already digested Unicode and the threading-events duality which appears to have strained Perl5. One of Tcl's salutary traditions is its well-maintained core testing suite.

Tcl reorganization is of two major sorts: technical changes leading to Tcl9; and institution of the Tcl Core Team, also known as OpenTcl. The issue with the latter is that Tcl's "core" source has always been more conservative and tightly controlled than is typical of other open-source projects. There's general agreement that it's time to relax that model.

An example of a shift OpenTcl is likely to encourage: while other languages bind to Tcl's Tk, it's always been discouraging to feed corrections and enhancements back into the base sources maintained by Tcl's traditional core team. OpenTcl will actively invite patches from "outsiders".

[Explain TkGS.]

"Tcl-URL!" summarizes each week the principal news from the Tcl world.


Watch this space for new news digests, presumably including one of TCLCORE, due to appear in September 2000. These will detail technical progress on issues common to several languages: GUI toolkits, extension interfaces, Unicode, Win* APIs, ...

[Explain ELJ.]

Cameron Laird's personal notes on ferment among scripting languages/