Visualizing Perl 5 Release History – 2015 edition

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I’ve update my Perl 5 release history chart through the release of Perl 5.22.0. As I’ve pointed out before, the steady march of annual releases sets clear expectations for future development.

Perl Release History 2015

Perl Release History 2015

Looking at this chart, I’m always struck by how the Perl 5.10 series differs from the rest. Perls 5.4, 5.5, 5.6 and 5.8 arrived and delivered new features (and breaking changes) not far off the current annual release cycle.

Perhaps the people who think Perl is changing too fast were conditioned by the 5½ year gulf from 5.8.0 to 5.10.0 or the 2½ year gap from 5.10.0 to 5.12.0. Together, that’s 8 years of infrequent change, particularly for those who skipped 5.10 and stuck with 5.8.

I recently wrote about why you shouldn’t waste time on Perl 5.6. The Perl toolchain targets Perl 5.8.1 and I suspect a large portion of CPAN still targets Perl 5.8, released 13 years ago. Is it any wonder that we wind up with presentations like Stevan’s “Perl is not Dead, It’s a Dead End”?

I have a different hypothesis.

Perl isn’t dead, it’s just living in the past.

At some point, the community needs to shed its attachment to Perl 5.8.

Or maybe we’ll all just start using Perl 6, instead.

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