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I think this "different language" concept is in many ways either revisionist history or scope creep. Originally, Larry said he wanted to remove historical warts, clean up the language design, and etc. I think the apocalyptic and exegetical snowball rolled faster than expected, and after the mushroom cloud dissipated and the dust cleared it was easier to say, "Oh, it's a completely different language."

As Grinnz notes, I also think it's both:

- revisionist history. For most intent and purposes, Perl 5 and Perl 6 are two different languages and pretending otherwise helps nobody. In fact, it just creates misunderstandings and misplaced expectations. But why didn't they change the language's name a lot sooner? I honestly don't know. If many of the people involved in the project would've acted sooner, things such as clarifying that Perl 5 and Perl 6 are actively-developed, independent and different languages, even when the names suggest otherwise, would be things of the past. Nonetheless, even now there's the alias Raku, the name Perl 6 is the most used and probably will be for time to come. Will it catch on?

- scope creeps. As you state, Wall's goal was "to remove historical warts, clean up the language design, etc" which he deemed "the community's rewrite of Perl and of the community." but as we all know, things changed along the way (e.g., untimely delivery) and Perl 6 turned out to be a total different language to Perl 5 or to what many people envisioned as the replacement for Perl 5.

If they wanted it to be considered a separate language, they should have changed the name. Perl 5 is not a different language than Perl 4 or Perl 3. Changing the meaning of the version number at that point is just hostile to being understood.

Oh it's absolutely scope creep. But the end result is that it's a completely separate language, and should be treated as such.

It is both, but it is the only correct reflection of the current reality. Trying to pretend it's the same language will only end in (further) confusion and disappointment.

> ... revisionist history ...

It's not like Larry/Perl don't have previous form here...

Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister...

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