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15. Perl > Community

Community

You’ve always encouraged the community to participate in design and implementation. Was this a necessity for getting things done? Is it a reflection of your style of work or your sense of aesthetics?

Larry: I’m sure it must be a combination of factors.

Certainly the early motivation for building a community is simply to have people both giving you positive and negative feedback. Preferably positive, but the negative also helps.

From a linguistics perspective, a language that has a very small community of speakers is not going to do very well. It was pretty obvious on that level that a community certainly helps the vitality of a project.

More than that, I just wanted my stuff to be used by lots of people because I like to help people. As things progressed, the project got large enough that I needed help, too. About the end of Perl 4, I realized that things were diverging in all directions, and people were compiling up different versions of the Perl executable. It was obvious at that point that Perl was going to need a modular extension mechanism, and that various people would be in charge of various modules.


  

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