I managed to attend most of both Guido van Rossum’s talk on Python 3000, and Larry Wall with Damian Conway on Perl 6. It’s refreshing to look at technologies that have passed that tenth birthday that seems to be crucial for software to establish that it’s real, and to see that they’re living and squirming and growing. Python, per its culture, seems to be treading a straight-and-narrow path on a well-defined schedule guided by a ruthlessly rational set of design criteria. On a technical note, Python 3 will have a String type that is 100% Unicode and that’s all it is, and separately a byte-array type that lets you indulge your most squalidly-perverse bit-bashing fantasies. I approve. Perl, on the other hand, is whimsical and witty and unscheduled and blithely disregards many genera of conventional wisdom. One could easily have concluded, listening to Larry and Damian, that the problem with previous versions of perl was that they didn’t have enough syntax, and thus there was an urgent need to add more. It ill behooves me to diss Larry Wall’s language designs, since I have successfully internalized all but the most perverse (typeglob, blecch) of those that are here today and they have enabled me to wrangle large amounts of data in surprisingly little time with generally-popular results. Nothing would warm my heart more than Perl 6 leaping to the center of the dynamic-language stage and reclaiming mindshare. The jury’s out.