I enjoyed Aldo Cortesi’s rather interesting post about language statistics on github. He’s done some good analysis, and there are some interesting nuggets of information to be had about Perl, Haskell (though fewer, as there are only 18 projects that made his criteria) as well as other languages.
Of course, there is some silliness there too: you can bash Perl for many reasons (and if you’ve read my blog before, you might know that I do too), but there are some gems of forced interpretation:
C and Perl projects show a marked decline in activity over their first year. I suspect that the Perl result is due to the fact that it becomes harder and harder to contribute to a Perl codebase, the bigger it gets. The C result is more of a mystery.
I’m not sure that the premise is true — perhaps Perl projects are more limited in scope, for example. And Modern Perl is a quite different beast from the Matt’s PERL script archive of yesteryear. But the punchline is priceless ;-)
Here’s what I read with my biased interpretation of his results ;-)
- Far fewer Perl projects than Ruby/Python so far. Github is a Ruby community effort, so it’s unsurprising that it would dominate here.
- Median contributors for Perl is above average. This is substantiated by the total contributors for long running projects being comparable with Ruby/Python.
- Perl projects seem to have many, small commits. This would seem to be a good thing, and rather in keeping with the Git Way. (/me shuffles embarrassedly at the sight of his own, rather monolithic git commits…)
- While Aldo suggests Perl projects are “significantly more “top-heavy” than those in other languages, with a smaller core of contributors doing more of the work,” one could also hypothethize that Perl projects are good at attracting and retaining a strong core team. This certainly seems to be the case with long running, active projects such as Catalyst and Moose.
So, thanks Aldo for taking the time to do this fascinating analysis (though I’m sure you won’t mind if I draw some slightly different conclusions than you ;-P)