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Perl 7 announced at Perl Conference in the Cloud

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The Perl programming language will take a strategic step forward with the planned release of Perl 7. This development, announced by Sawyer X at the Perl Conference in the Cloud, will enable usability enhancements as standard and disable antiquated behaviours.

Perl 7 will make it easier to attract new developers and add quality-of-life improvements for existing developers while maintaining broad compatibility with existing codebases. This paves the way for future major versions enabling further and more significant improvements to the language.

Out-of-the-box settings of Perl 7 include strict language syntax which improves code quality and consistency, as well as other modern defaults. A compatibility mode allows version 7 and later Perl to operate with older defaults such as those from Perl 5, so older scripts and modules can still be used unmodified. Overall, the change to Perl 7 should reduce the tribal knowledge required to get applications up and running quickly and reliably.

The changes that enable Perl 7 are under active development and major stakeholders are testing alpha code. Release candidates will be made available over coming months and community engagement and feedback is welcome.

Full details of the changes are outlined by brian d foy on Perl.com

Ken Power, Vice President of Product Development, cPanel L.L.C. is pleased with the announcement. He commented: "We’re very excited about the announcement of Perl 7! More than just a new version or a number, it represents a sustainable path forward for the Perl language and community. It represents an opportunity to rejuvenate interest in Perl, to attract new developers, to grow the community, and provide assurance for companies like cPanel that the language can meet the expectations of the modern developer."

What about Perl 5?

Perl is an important component of many GNU/Linux and Unix systems, and used in software such as Git, autoconf, and GNU parallels. First released by Larry Wall in 1994, Perl 5 was a major write to the language he invented as a personal work project in 1987. Perl popularized regular expressions, a feature now found in almost every mainstream language, and was instrumental in the advancement of the Web in its early days. Perl releases on a yearly schedule.

The current release is v5.32, shipped in June 2020 which will go into long term support once the new version is released. This support is expected to be tailed off between 2025 and 2030, allowing time for organisations to plan the changes needed to accommodate newer releases. (What about Perl 6?)

Stuart Mackintosh, President of The Perl Foundation stated: "On behalf of The Perl Foundation, I want to thank the people who have invested a great deal of time and effort planning this release and the volunteers and companies who have supported and sponsored our work."

More information

For more information about this announcement, please contact The Perl Foundation press office at press@perlfoundation.org

Technical discussions are taking place on the Perl IRC channels and around the Conference in the Cloud this week. General discussion uses the hashtag #Perl7.

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genehack
47 days ago
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Salem, Oregon
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ongoing by Tim Bray · Bye, Amazon

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May 1st was my last day as a VP and Distinguished Engineer at Amazon Web Services, after five years and five months of rewarding fun. I quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of Covid-19.

What with big-tech salaries and share vestings, this will probably cost me over a million (pre-tax) dollars, not to mention the best job I’ve ever had, working with awfully good people. So I’m pretty blue.

What happened · Last year, Amazonians on the tech side banded together as Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), first coming to the world’s notice with an open letter promoting a shareholders’ resolution calling for dramatic action and leadership from Amazon on the global climate emergency. I was one of its 8,702 signatories. ¶

While the resolution got a lot of votes, it didn’t pass. Four months later, 3,000 Amazon tech workers from around the world joined in the Global Climate Strike walkout. The day before the walkout, Amazon announced a large-scale plan aimed at making the company part of the climate-crisis solution. It’s not as though the activists were acknowledged by their employer for being forward-thinking; in fact, leaders were threatened with dismissal.

Fast-forward to the Covid-19 era. Stories surfaced of unrest in Amazon warehouses, workers raising alarms about being uninformed, unprotected, and frightened. Official statements claimed every possible safety precaution was being taken. Then a worker organizing for better safety conditions was fired, and brutally insensitive remarks appeared in leaked executive meeting notes where the focus was on defending Amazon “talking points”.

Warehouse workers reached out to AECJ for support. They responded by internally promoting a petition and organizing a video call for Thursday April 16 featuring warehouse workers from around the world, with guest activist Naomi Klein. An announcement sent to internal mailing lists on Friday April 10th was apparently the flashpoint. Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, two visible AECJ leaders, were fired on the spot that day. The justifications were laughable; it was clear to any reasonable observer that they were turfed for whistleblowing.

Management could have objected to the event, or demanded that outsiders be excluded, or that leadership be represented, or any number of other things; there was plenty of time. Instead, they just fired the activists.

Snap! · At that point I snapped. VPs shouldn’t go publicly rogue, so I escalated through the proper channels and by the book. I’m not at liberty to disclose those discussions, but I made many of the arguments appearing in this essay. I think I made them to the appropriate people. ¶

That done, remaining an Amazon VP would have meant, in effect, signing off on actions I despised. So I resigned.

The victims weren’t abstract entities but real people; here are some of their names: Courtney Bowden, Gerald Bryson, Maren Costa, Emily Cunningham, Bashir Mohammed, and Chris Smalls.

I’m sure it’s a coincidence that every one of them is a person of color, a woman, or both. Right?

Let’s give one of those names a voice. Bashir Mohamed said “They fired me to make others scared.” Do you disagree?

Adjectives · Here are some descriptive phrases you might use to describe the activist-firing. ¶

  1. “Chickenshit.”

  2. “Kill the messenger.”

  3. “Never heard of the Streisand effect.”

  4. “Designed to create a climate of fear.”

  5. “Like painting a sign on your forehead saying ‘Either guilty, or has something to hide.’”

Which do you like?

What about the warehouses? · It’s a matter of fact that workers are saying they’re at risk in the warehouses. I don’t think the media’s done a terribly good job of telling their stories. I went to the video chat that got Maren and Emily fired, and found listening to them moving. You can listen too if you’d like. Up on YouTube is another full-day videochat; it’s nine hours long, but there’s a table of contents, you can decide whether you want to hear people from Poland, Germany, France, or multiple places in the USA. Here’s more reportage from the NY Times. ¶

It’s not just workers who are upset. Here are Attorneys-general from 14 states speaking out. Here’s the New York State Attorney-general with more detailed complaints. Here’s Amazon losing in French courts, twice.

On the other hand, Amazon’s messaging has been urgent that they are prioritizing this issue and putting massive efforts into warehouse safety. I actually believe this: I have heard detailed descriptions from people I trust of the intense work and huge investments. Good for them; and let’s grant that you don’t turn a supertanker on a dime.

But I believe the worker testimony too. And at the end of the day, the big problem isn’t the specifics of Covid-19 response. It’s that Amazon treats the humans in the warehouses as fungible units of pick-and-pack potential. Only that’s not just Amazon, it’s how 21st-century capitalism is done.

Amazon is exceptionally well-managed and has demonstrated great skill at spotting opportunities and building repeatable processes for exploiting them. It has a corresponding lack of vision about the human costs of the relentless growth and accumulation of wealth and power. If we don’t like certain things Amazon is doing, we need to put legal guardrails in place to stop those things. We don’t need to invent anything new; a combination of antitrust and living-wage and worker-empowerment legislation, rigorously enforced, offers a clear path forward.

Don’t say it can’t be done, because France is doing it.

Poison · Firing whistleblowers isn’t just a side-effect of macroeconomic forces, nor is it intrinsic to the function of free markets. It’s evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture. I choose neither to serve nor drink that poison. ¶

What about AWS? · Amazon Web Services (the “Cloud Computing” arm of the company), where I worked, is a different story. It treats its workers humanely, strives for work/life balance, struggles to move the diversity needle (and mostly fails, but so does everyone else), and is by and large an ethical organization. I genuinely admire its leadership. ¶

Of course, its workers have power. The average pay is very high, and anyone who’s unhappy can walk across the street and get another job paying the same or better.

Spot a pattern? · At the end of the day, it’s all about power balances. The warehouse workers are weak and getting weaker, what with mass unemployment and (in the US) job-linked health insurance. So they’re gonna get treated like crap, because capitalism. Any plausible solution has to start with increasing their collective strength. ¶

What’s next? · For me? I don’t know, genuinely haven’t taken time to think about it. I’m sad, but I’m breathing more freely. ¶



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acdha
98 days ago
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That’s putting your money where your convictions are
Washington, DC
genehack
98 days ago
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Salem, Oregon
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Blue Angels to Fly in Honor of Healthcare Workers, Who Clearly Did Not Ask for This

jwz
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The large-scale series of squadron formations is to be called "Operation America Strong," which is such crude caveman grammar that you figure Trump came up with that name himself. [...]

If there were some way to turn this into a charitable fundraiser for healthcare workers, protective supplies, or laid-off Americans, that might be something we could get behind. But there is no mention of any of these things in Pentagon's announcement, just "national unity" and "tribute to our great warriors" bullshit that is clearly designed to paper over Trump's dismal 23 percent approval of his response to the pandemic.

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genehack
107 days ago
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White House readies push to slash regulations as major part of its coronavirus economic recovery plan

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The White House-driven initiative is expected to center on suspending federal regulations for small businesses and expanding an existing administration program that requires agencies to revoke two regulations for every new one they issue, the two people said.

While the plan remains in flux, changes could affect environmental policy, labor policy, workplace safety and health care, among other areas.

The White House is also likely to seek to make permanent some temporary regulations issued by agencies over the past few weeks to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

These policies are likely to alarm Democrats on Capitol Hill and other experts who have long railed against the president’s team and its attempts to shrink federal regulations on environmental and labor issues, among other things.

The White House National Economic Council and its director, Larry Kudlow, are working closely on the plan with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other officials at the Treasury Department. The Council of Economic Advisers and incoming White House chief of staff Mark Meadows are also involved, as is White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Office of Management and Budget acting director Russell Vought. The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to frankly discuss a matter that had not been publicly announced, stressed that planning was ongoing and details were subject to change.

The timing for the launch of the regulatory rollback is unclear, but some White House officials want the effort to begin by the end of April or in early May as part of President Trump’s push to “reopen” the economy. White House officials have been exploring a range of measures aimed at generating economic growth after shutdowns meant to contain the novel coronavirus caused more than 22 million Americans to lose their jobs in a span of four weeks. Public health experts have warned against prematurely reopening the economy and argued that it could lead to new outbreaks and cause thousands of additional deaths.

Trump has discussed pushing a payroll tax cut, an infrastructure package and more aid for states and cities in the next negotiations with Congress, but it’s unclear how those talks will play out on Capitol Hill. By contrast, the regulatory rollback being drafted by White House officials is designed to be accomplished without congressional approval.

Still, the Trump initiative will probably be fiercely criticized by congressional Democrats and other economic experts, who say the administration’s attempts to repeal business regulations reflect long-standing conservative priorities rather than a measure that will help Americans survive the current public health and economic emergency. Trump has for years celebrated a massive deregulatory push under his administration as an economic boost, but opponents say the efforts have created more environmental and labor hazards for workers and consumers.

“This sounds exactly like the type of opportunistic political move that absolutely should not be attempted right now,” said Jared Bernstein, a former adviser to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. “Correlations between regulations and economic activity are far shakier than they assume, and I don’t believe this idea will help at all.”

The White House rollback push comes as numerous influential conservative groups present the administration with recommendations for reviving the economy. On Monday, the Heritage Foundation’s National Coronavirus Recovery Commission released a 15-page report with numerous steps for the administration to take, including a repeal of business regulations at the state and federal level. One recommendation, which a White House official confirmed is under consideration, is having the president call on all federal agencies to not enforce regulations against small businesses.

The Heritage report also calls for making permanent temporary rules issued by the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services and Environmental Protection Agency in response to coronavirus. A similar measure is also under consideration by the White House. The administration eased some rules for telehealth, a “long overdue” measure that should be made permanent, said Doug Holtz-Eakin, who has served as director of the Congressional Budget Office and an adviser to numerous Republican politicians.

“A presidential call for a wide-scale policy of nonenforcement would send a very strong signal to businesses that the government is not going to come down hard on them as they try to get back up and running,” the Heritage plan states.

Trump repeatedly touts his administration’s record of repealing business regulations and has characterized doing so as one of his central economic accomplishments. “We’ve cut regulations more than any administration in history, and that’s in two and a half years,” Trump said at a White House event in the fall.

“All attention should be focused on improving the regulatory state to protect the public,” said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs at Public Citizen, a left-leaning watchdog group. “We should be focused on the crisis at hand, not loosening standards.”

White House officials will aim to link the regulatory rollback with tax relief to spur investment throughout the economy. The Cares Act, a $2 trillion rescue package passed in March, included a temporary holiday on payroll taxes paid by employers, but Trump wants that extended to workers, according to one person familiar with the president’s thinking. The policy may prove one of the “big asks” in the next round of negotiations with congressional Democrats. Trump on private conference calls with conservative advisers has discussed his desire to slash payroll taxes but asked, “Can you get support from Nancy?” — a reference to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — said two people on the call.

The White House has for weeks also explored support for a liability waiver that would clear businesses of legal responsibility from employees who contract the coronavirus on the job, people aware of the effort said. In recent days, the White House has considered whether the liability waiver should apply to employees, too, for instance to include a waiter who fears being sued by a customer. This idea would require congressional approval, and its fate among Democrats is unclear.

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genehack
111 days ago
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i am so angry and so tired of being led by the worst among us.
Salem, Oregon
acdha
111 days ago
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You knew this was coming
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The Devastating Decline of a Brilliant Young Coder

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Prince talked for an hour straight. At the end of this spiel, Lee's side of the line was quiet. “I was like, ‘Are you still on the phone?’ ” Prince recalls. “Then he said, ‘Yeah, that'll work, let's do that.’ ” And that was it.

They whipped together a demo and in late 2009 raised a little over $2 million from two venture capital firms. It was enough to rent a converted two-bedroom apartment above a nail salon in Palo Alto, where they could start building their idea in earnest. Lee would show up every day wearing the same Calvin Klein jeans, leather jacket, and beanie on his head, and lugging a giant ThinkPad laptop nicknamed the Beast. “We had this shared vision,” Zatlyn says. “And Lee was the architect behind it. He just obsessed over it.”

The following year, Prince talked his way into TechCrunch Disrupt, an onstage competition for startups that can lead to big funding rounds. As Disrupt approached, Prince and Zatlyn grew nervous. Lee had missed a lot of days of work due to migraines. He didn't seem anywhere close to finishing a demo. When the day of the event arrived, Prince and Zatlyn walked onstage praying that the software they were presenting would actually work.

Prince started his pitch. “I'm Matthew Prince, this is Michelle Zatlyn, Lee Holloway is in the back of the room. We're the three cofounders of Cloudflare,” he boomed, stabbing the air with his finger as he spoke. In fact, Lee was backstage furiously fixing a long list of bugs. Prince held his breath when he ran the software, and, perhaps miraculously, it worked. It really worked. In the hour after he walked onstage, Cloudflare got 1,000 new customers, doubling in size.

They earned second place at Disrupt. “In the next couple of weeks, all these somewhat mythical VCs that we'd heard of and read about all called us,” Prince says. Under the onslaught of attention, Prince, Holloway, and one early hire, Sri Rao, rolled out constant fixes to hold the system together. “We launched in September, and in a month we had 10,000 websites on us,” Lee said in the Founderly interview. “If I'd known, we would have had eight data centers instead of five.”

With customers now multiplying, Ian Pye, another early engineer, hollowed out a toaster, tucked an Arduino board inside, and hooked it up to the network. Whenever a website signed up for Cloudflare services, the toaster sang a computerized tune Pye had composed. “It was horribly insecure,” Pye says. “But what were they going to do, hack our toaster?” The toaster lasted two weeks before the singing became too frequent and annoying and they unplugged it.

Cloudflare was growing fast, and Lee worked long days, often from home in Santa Cruz. He and Alexandra now had an infant son. During the first few months of the baby's life, Lee and Alexandra still made time to play videogames together. Alexandra remembers cracking up when Lee co-opted a nursing pillow to support his neck while he sat at his computer. Several of his old friends came over once a week to play the board game version of Game of Thrones or the multiplayer videogame Team Fortress 2. Alexandra focused on childcare, but she made sure the players had food. “I was doing it for him,” she says.

But around 2011 she started noticing that Lee was growing distant and forming some odd new habits. He spent a lot more time asleep, for one. After long workdays, she recalls, he'd walk in the door, take off his shoes, and immediately pass out on the floor. Their cat sometimes curled up and napped on his chest. His son, not yet 2, would clamber over him, trying and failing to rouse him to play.

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genehack
115 days ago
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poignant but kinda horrifying. 8^/
Salem, Oregon
acdha
117 days ago
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Washington, DC
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Derek Lowe, In The Pipeline: Coronavirus Vaccine Prospects

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Dan Lyke:

Derek Lowe, In The Pipeline: Coronavirus Vaccine Prospects

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genehack
116 days ago
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