[Israel.pm] Informal poll: Why are you (or your company) still using an older version of Perl?

Shlomi Fish shlomif at iglu.org.il
Fri Oct 30 10:47:02 PDT 2009

On Friday 30 Oct 2009 16:49:11 guy keren wrote:
> i have a different question: why do you care?

I think you're missing the point. Gabor is not trying to sell courses or 
services for the newer versions of Perl (which as you note are free-of-
charge). Also, companies who want people to upgrade their software usually 
have a better motivation than selling upgrades.

I blogged about it here:


Quoting from there:

I talked with a few people on IRC about how I hated the fact that most people 
are still using Windows which is quickly getting inflicted with malware, or 
Internet Explorer, which is lagging behind Firefox and other browsers in its 
support for web standards, and makes the job of the web designer much harder. 
So they told me that it is actually a good thing because that way someone has 
to fight the malware (a very uphill battle), and they have more work as web 
The problem is that tech workers can never run out of things to do. In the 
time they have to adapt their web-sites for MSIE, they can better spend on 
things like having better functionality, more web-sites, more pages. The time 
people spend making sure their Windows systems are free of malware, is better 
spent happpily using Linux and getting some actual, productive work done. 

Many Perl contractors , consultants, workers and people who volunteer to help 
people on online forums need to deal with old Perl versions or "Cannot use 
modules from CPAN" constantly. Yes, it provides work, but these people would 
and can rather do something else. See:


Naturally, this is not only true for Perl, but for all software technologies. 
I wouldn't want to support Red Hat Linux 9.0 (or older versions) or a 1996 
vintage FreeBSD (which I happily used at the time), or Windows 95 or older. 
And I've recently stopped caring about supporting Microsoft Internet Explore 
(MSIE) 6 on my sites (not commercial ones, of course).

See for example, the fortunes at:


(short URL - http://xrl.us/bfzqss )

We are not making any money directly from such people who upgrade their Perls 
or whatever to newer versions (unless they hire us to handle the upgrades for 
them, which is a bit far-fetched.). But in the long run, we are happier 
because we have an easier time supporting their systems and not having to 
comply with their irrational whims.
> there are reasons for people to use the older software for any software
> X you'll mention - you operating systems, office suites, programming
> languages/compilers, external libraries etc. etc. etc.
> what is the point of pushing people? this sounds like the method of
> commercial companies - they want to sell the upgrades. what do you want
> to sell - course-grades?

No, see above.

> the basic idea of open source is to give the power to the users -
> including the power to stay with an older version of software if and
> when they see fit.

Yes, and in that case, they are on their own. Upgrades to open-source software 
are normally free. In fact, in commercial software, most companies will 
provide support for old versions for many years, while FOSS developers 
normally don't provide long-term support. Naturally, you can back-port 

> if there was an assured (QA-wise) upgrade process that never broke
> things and was trusted by people - people might have considered these
> upgrades with a more favore. as long as this process has its cons -
> you'll have people that will simply refuse to upgrade until they have no
> choice - and sometimes even then.

Right, but there's always a risk in an upgrade - there's no such thing as a 
free lunch.


	Shlomi Fish

> --guy
> Gabor Szabo wrote:
> > On Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 4:31 PM, Amir E. Aharoni
> >
> > <amir.aharoni at mail.huji.ac.il> wrote:
> >> I have an answer to an opposite question: Why don't *i* use perl
> >> *earlier* than 5.10? Because it has features that save me so much
> >> work, that i prefer to invest some time in upgrading and not to keep
> >> dabbling with the older style. It's enough to mention named capture
> >> and smart match. I don't know why some people think differently.
> >
> > That's an interesting point something we need to stress more.
> > There are costs and risks involved with the upgrade of perl but there
> > are also costs and risks if you don't upgrade. Inspired by your comment
> > I tried to write them down on
> > http://szabgab.com/blog/2009/10/1256905701.html
> >
> > but here are the main points:
> >
> > If you don't upgrade
> >
> > - You won't get community support for it and even commercial support
> > will cost more
> >    than for a modern perl.
> > - Same with all the CPAN modules.
> >
> > - Development time will be longer that with newer perl as you won't be
> > able to use
> >   the new features of perl and you won't be able to use many CPAN
> > modules. (e.g. Moose and Devel::NYTProf need 5.8.1)
> >
> > - Finding and retaining(!) *good* developers who want to work on code
> > that is using 5.6.x or older will be harder than finding developers to
> > write modern perl code.
> >
> >
> > any other ideas for reasons why to upgrade?
> >
> > Gabor
> > _______________________________________________
> > Perl mailing list
> > Perl at perl.org.il
> > http://mail.perl.org.il/mailman/listinfo/perl
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Shlomi Fish       http://www.shlomifish.org/
Understand what Open Source is - http://shlom.in/oss-fs

Chuck Norris read the entire English Wikipedia in 24 hours. Twice.

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