Re: "Perl is the duct tape of the Internet" and other musings

Brad Cox (
Thu, 9 Jul 1998 12:21:28 -0400

At 10:33 AM -0400 07/09/1998, Ron Resnick wrote:
>Suppose you're responsible for laying out the entire
>software architecture for a new database-backed website.

I'm coming from the opposite direction, struggling to climb the
Java/Corba/RDBMS curve after years of ObjectiveC and recently (5 yrs) Perl
with home-brew OODBMS. I'm trying to decide what to base my fall courses
on. The only alternatives I'm considering seriously are server-side java
and perl (mod perl, fastcgi, or

Frankly, the ONLY reason I'm considering java for production (non-toy) work
is that the lack of real databases for perl. I've outgrown my home-brew
OODBMS and crave a real management system. But the CPAN DBMS alternatives
I've seen are, well, embarassing. If anyone knows of a robust DBMS
(preferably OODBMS but RDBMS would do), please send an url.

But the java world is even worse. Client-side java is ludicrously useless
(download times, browser incompatibilities, etc) and server-side little
better. I learned enough perl to start building real stuff in little more
than a month. But I've been climbing the java curve for nearly two years,
learning lots but accomplishing little compared to what I can do in perl.

Its a combination of things, not all java's fault, such as hardware
peculiarities. I do everything from the Mac except for sqlAnywhere servers
on various PCs with insufficient memory. The things I do blame on java (the
java community, not the java language) are bad documentation (acronym
soup), incompatibilities (I still can't figure out which version I should
be using), stupid designs (classpath) and so forth.

These aren't expert opinions. They're a frustrated notice's opinions. I
suspect the big difference is that perl is a monolithic system controlled
by an individual that users can thus absorb in toto. java is a collection
of parts that must be understood, downloaded, installed and understood

Back to your question, none of these concerns relate to the "open source"
thing. I certainly don't base my decisions on what's open source or not,
and it doesn't directly cause the differences mentioned above.

Brad Cox; George Mason University; 703 361 4751; A Project with Paradoxical Goals