Day 24 – An Unexpectedly Long-expected Party


Hello. Ting, ting, ting. Attention! … ATTENTION!

Thank you.

Hi, I’m Camelia, if you don’t know me. (Or even if you do.) They told me I had to give a speech at Perl 6’s official Coming Out Party. So here I am. Someone else is doing the roast. I’m just the toast. They told me it had to be a serious speech. Ha, like I’d know how to give a serious speech. Seriously?

Well. Seriously, I’d like to thank you all for coming out today.

Oops, I guess that was a pun. Sorry. Well, no, not really…

But thanks for showing up. This is a big day for Perl 6. She is officially of age now. Well, kinda sorta. She has her driver’s license, anyway. Watch out, world!

[inaudible comment from a table in back]

Oh, should I not have mentioned that? I wasn’t really talking about those fender benders she had while… Well, anyway, let’s move on. I’m sure she’ll be a really good driver. From now on.

Anyway, I have a great deal of empathy for Perl 6, because I am a butterfly. I too had to spend Far Too Long as a chrysalis before I had my own coming out. A literal coming out in my case. Hah, a literal coming out FROM my case, I should say!

Er, oops. I did it again, didn’t I.

Anyway, please be patient with Perl 6. Today we declare her to be a relatively competent being, but she is still just a teenager, y’know. When we’re very young, we’re just the age we are, but when we get to be teenagers, and go through all these hormonal changes, well, we start to oscillate. And the swings just get wider for a while. So when you’re 15, the swing is like plus-or-minus 10 years. One day you’ll act like you’re 25, and the next day like you’re 5 again.

So Perl 6 still has some maturing to do, fershure. That doesn’t mean we don’t love her any less on the days she’s throwing tantrums and driving us crazy. It just means, well, I guess it just means she’s family, and you love family through thick and thin. Because you trust family to turn thin back into thick someday.

And we’re all her extended family, gathered here today. They say it takes a village to raise a child. But never has there been such a child, or such a village! When you get a chance to look at your program tomorrow after your hangover wears off, just look at the list of benefactors in back. There are over 800 names of people who actively contributed to the development of Perl 6, one way or another. And undoubtedly there are a few names missing from the list.

You are a great bunch of people. All of you. Not just the closest members of the family. The family realized long ago that some of the most valuable guidance a growing computer language can get comes from outside the immediate family. It comes from friends and acquaintances who can have more perspective than someone who is always close. That’s why it takes a village.

Maturity is a fractal entity, and operates on many different scales. You all have been a proxy for the wide, wide world that Perl 6 is going out into. And it’s a rough world out there. Perl 6 is ready for some of it, thanks to you.

Of course, she’s still just 15. She does some things really well now. Her communication skills are pretty good, and she is very polite when she can’t understand you. She can carry on several conversations at once. She’s getting pretty good at math, and shows skill in manipulating objects of various sorts. She loves foreign languages, and all those funny characters.

But she’s still a deliberate child, and sometimes seems to be thinking too hard when learning something. That’s okay. She’ll get faster and more efficient over the next several years, as her brain rewires itself into full adulthood. She’ll learn new things, about the world and about herself. But I don’t think her personality will change much, that’s pretty obvious by now.

And that’s because her personality really comes from all of you. You’ve all loved her into existence, and now she’s ready to pass that love on to others who haven’t met her yet.

We all get really excited when a rocket takes off. TimToady tells me about getting up in the wee hours of the morning to watch Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo rockets take off. I’m too young to remember those, but we have our own thrilling developments to track. Me, I was very happy to see a SpaceX rocket stick its landing this week. After several fender benders…

[another inaudible comment]

I’m ignoring you. Be careful. We’ve gotten really, really good at ignoring certain kinds of people. Don’t be one of them.

Really, I feel sorry for the people who are only happy when they have something to be unhappy about.

Anyway, launching Perl 6 into the world is a lot like a rocket launch. A lot of excitement during the countdown, that hold-your-breath moment when you wonder if it’s really going to go up or explode. That’s where we are now. The main engines are lit, the clamps are letting go. It’s all very dramatic, mostly because nothing much seems to be happening right now.

But that’s not what a rocket is about. Drama is not what a rocket wants to do. A rocket wants to go up, faster and faster and faster. It’s not about position. It’s not really even about velocity. It’s about acceleration.

[raises glass]

So, I give you Perl 6. She is free to fly. May she have joy in her existence. May she have joy in discovering the world. May she accelerate as long as she will! Cheers!