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Hindsight is 20/20.

Every programming language changes as it evolves and matures and people understand how to use it best or its domain changes significantly. Unfortunately, this always means accumulating these syntactic and semantical warts. Personally, I think Swift manages to keep a good balance, and it's a very powerful language, with lots of users and compatibility requirements, so it's much harder for them than for many others.

Alternative is constant redesign of syntax and behavior that just keeps making users unhappy with every release, breaking their code, libraries and obsoleting the docs.

If, to mitigate that, you try to make big changes to the language in big releases, once in a long while, you can easily get into the Python 3, Scala 3, Perl 6 fiasco and that can simply kill the language adoption.

It's a hard problem.




Very good point, thank you.

As regards Perl 6, a recent development was to rename it to Raku, which (in hindsight) seems like a perfectly sensible decision. The overloading of the name Perl for a language that proved to be something different from Perl 5 caused trouble both ways. Perl 5 was widely considered to be a version that was to be eventually be replaced, whereas Perl 6 was considered a language that was a close and direct iteration of Perl 5. So we basically got the worst of both worlds. Perl 5 is very much in use today, still being actively maintained and is getting new features regularly, while Raku/Perl 6 is a beautiful new different language with interesting ideas being worked on by many brilliant folks, and the notion of trying to be in any way compatible with Perl 5 seems utterly irrelevant today.


Indeed. In the Perl 6 case, this has been solved by renaming the language to Raku (https://raku.org using the #rakulang tag on social media).


The Python 3 changes aren't big changes. They are breaking changes however.

I know they aren't big because Perl has had to deal with many of those same type of problems, only it didn't have to break old code to do it.

Perl 6 is more of a research project that took Perl 5 as a leap-off point. As it is is such a large departure from every language, it deserves it's own name. So it is now known as Raku.




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