Perl in the workplace

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At lunch Wednesday, I took a computer book to read. A stranger asked
me about the book and we struck up a conversation. We conversation was
about technologies used in the workplace (she has an IT job) and the
conversation got around to Perl.

She told me about a job she had previously, where she was told when
she reported to work that one of the other workers had written a
number of Perl scripts, and that she had help run and maintain them.
This was apparently a case where the worker had automated processes
and the employer found them useful enough to keep around.

I told her about my experience -- my job involves reading and writing
data to/from a large institutional database and creating various kinds
of reports. When I started, it was all done by hand, reports were
usually done with MS Office, primarily Excel. I started automating the
big, daily tasks that were critical but also error prone, and now
(five years later) have automated almost all our routine tasks using
Perl. This was a 'bottom up' effort, as none of my upstream knows

That got me to wondering. How much of Perl usage is bottom up, rather
than top down? The large businesses in my area pick a technology
(.NET, Java, C++, Struts, Rails, etc.) and require everyone to use
that technology. The people locally that I know who use Perl use it
for individual projects, without official approval or even knowledge.

Is this typical? Or do some significant number of companies make a
deliberate decision to use Perl and impose it in a top down fashion?
Are there any instances of companies having a significant Perl base
and converting it into another technology because of the perceived
unsuitability of Perl?


Re: Perl in the workplace

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Big companies impose top-down commercial/expensive tools, and adopt
bottom-up free/cheap ones.

The management who is in charge of the expenses has no competence/
interest in technology anyway. They get interested in the budget:
picking expensive tools, they grow their budget, and thus their own
power inside the company.

The game is for them to justify the costs, thus to force people to use
the tool.


Re: Perl in the workplace

On Fri, 25 Jun 2010 06:38:11 -0700 (PDT), Marc Girod

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It's a Dilbert world.

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