Tech: April 2008 Archives

I’m a Perl coder, and have been for fourteen years now. It’s the language I’m most fluent in, the language I grew up in.

When it comes down to it, any reasonably modern dynamic language could do. I could live in Python or Ruby, but Perl has one killer out-of-the-box feature that would be hard to live without: CPAN.

CPAN, the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network, is an archive of thousands of open source Perl modules, easily installable on any system. Perl, by itself, is a sewing machine; with CPAN, you get an enormous collection of patterns and pre-made accessories you can pull into your design, without needing to start from scratch every time.

Want to…

It’s not that other languages don’t have centralized code repositories (I like Rubyforge, for example), but CPAN’s bigger, often better tested, and more comprehensive (there are very few open source Perl module distributed outside of CPAN).

I’ve been enjoying learning more about what makes CPAN tick, as I author my first open source Perl module.

I was disappointed to read that Microsoft’s attempt to bully national standards groups into voting for their Office OpenXML (OOXML) data format succeeded, making it an ISO standard, in spite of substantial concerns about the quality of the voluminous standard—even among standards bodies that voted for it.

According to the New York Times, “Of the 87 votes, 10 opposed the standard: Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Ecuador, India, Iran, New Zealand, South Africa and Venezuela.” Thank you to the OOXML 10.

Critics point to voting irregularities or problematic political pressure applied in national standards bodies in Mexico, Finland, Poland, Romania, Brazil, Belgium, Norway, Germany, Pakistan, Egypt, and Sweden. (1, 2)

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Anirvan Chatterjee is a San Francisco Bay Area tech geek and bibliophile.


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This page is a archive of entries in the Tech category from April 2008.

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