Synopsis

There is a bit of confusion circling the wires as to where and when the need to refer to Perl 5 as a “Raptor” or more correctly a “Velociraptor” originated. Also people wish to know:

Why name it?
Why use this?
Whose idea was this?

This article will attempt to relieve you from the misery and shed light into your world.

Some Background

For some time there was a bit of an argument raging across the various groups, channels, networks of programmers and interested parties as to the development of both Perl 5 and Perl 6. This was particularly true of some very immersed developers of each language who were actually deep in their own forests shouting about only being able to see their trees so the other forest was a myth (or something similar).

What was actually happening is that the two variants of the Perl language 5 & 6 had started to take on their own distinctive life. Although they both started in the mind of one rather unassuming genius they had grown into distinct lifeforms. It is true that the older sibling has evolved stronger and faster due to the evolutionary developments of its younger sister, but they were not the same species.

This argument came to a sort of fizzled head in the middle of 2009, when articles, discussions and various communities decided to say “to heck with this” and “it doesn’t matter”. We as a community now realised that Perl 6 didn’t supersede Perl 5 in any numerical  terms, it had evolved uniquely from a common root.

What is in a name?

At this time a few people started to make some statements, they asked Why can’t we have a name for Perl 5 and Perl 6? Instead of confusing new developers and apparently providing amusing gristle for our detractors to chew upon, we could just declare them different by an easy name. This would make it good for everyone and perhaps give us at last something easier to say than Perl five-point-fourteen-point-whatever,

There was this lightning talk by Edmund von der Burg at the London Perl Workshop in 2009 (http://www.presentingperl.org/opw2010/awful-things/), and my talk on Marketing given at the Perl Oasis in 2010 (http://www.presentingperl.org/opw2010/awful-things/) and then during the middle of 2010 we discovered/recalled/observed these two quotes.

Larry had said, “Perl 5 is a Velociraptor” (http://irclog.perlgeek.de/perl6/2009-07-07#i_1296016), and this harkened back to a joke Damien Conway had made:

Biologist: What’s worse than being chased by a Velociraptor?
Physicist: Obviously, being chased by an Acceloraptor.

At which point some of us decided to adopt the Velociraptor, or Raptor as Perl 5′s nom de plume and Matt S. Trout began to deliver what is to be his yearly Keynote speech at various conferences, State of the Velociraptor (http://www.presentingperl.org/lpw2010/state-of-the-velociraptor/).

And the logo?

The first use of a Raptor as a logo or image to represent for Perl 5, I believe, was by me when I used it for the t-shirts for the London Perl Workshop 2010 (http://shadowcat.spreadshirt.net/). This was because the conference was Perl Flavours so I drew a simple Raptor also redrew Camelia (to make it a true svg with no embedded fonts and all objects as curves) to place on merchandise.

The current run of a Logo for Perl 5 by the talented Sebastian Riedel (http://blog.kraih.com/a-logo-for-perl-5) came from my request to have help with marketing material for Perl 5 and his need to create a logo for Perl 5 for some time. We discussed this in an irc channel (#epo on irc.perl.org) and the Raptor meme was banded about.

Sebastian went away and produced an excellent looking Raptor that really puts mine to shame and makes me want to revisit and improve my original Raptor. Both, any, all of the images are to be used for Perl 5 as far as we are concerned. And neither of us are intending to put any noses out of joint. This is about promotion and marketing and is good for the whole community.

Which is why no one really minds when Sebastien created his wonderful (and in parts fictional as he himself states) back story for his blog post, it is all “in the storytelling” as Granny Weatherwax would have it (see Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett), and eventually all truths are just somebody’s version of a story after all.

But won’t this equate us to dinosaurs…extinction?

Well, people have been doing that since I have been involved in Perl, and since then the number of developers, modules and conferences has grown, so it is a bloody odd extinction.

Are we in the last days, dying throes, yada yada yada, yes, Unix ends an epoch in 2038, set your calendars.

As for the imagery helping this, well no it doesn’t. Dinosaurs didn’t all suddenly die out. They evolved. Also, there are some dinosaurs still around, the big reptiles and animals that precede dinosaurs like sharks. So it isn’t really true that a rock fell from the sky and everything fell over and died.

And in the end…that’s a pretty petty argument:

Person 1: “look a raptor for Perl 5″
Person 2: “Yeah they’re all dinosaurs, hahahaha”
Person 1: “Hahahaha…erk”
Raptor: CHOMP.

See :)

-Exunt (tailed by a raptor)