Freedom of Choice vs. Trouble of Choice
Although I much appreciate freedom of choice and I don't like certain monopolies like M$, the author has a point. Quite recently I read a newspaper article about consumers' choice in supermarkets and why discounters have become so popular. There people can fulfil their basic needs without the trouble of choice.
A similar development can be seen on the web. There used to be many different search engines, various online bookshops and auction services etc. There used to be many freemail services. Now there is fewer choice, the big names have turned into professionalized companies or communities respectively, and they have become more popular among the general public. Ten years ago, geeks used the internet, mostly white american guys with a college degree. Now "everyone" uses the web, and some things have become quite common and thus easy to learn. Email addresses like email@example.com are one example. Or someone asking me "How do I send mail attachments and how do I make my computer more secure?" - "You have Windows XP and Outlook Express?" - "Yes" - "OK, just read this computerbild article and follow the recommendations".
And if Linux is to be popular as a desktop computer system, it has to move into that direction. The reason why Linux is cool isn't that it's a complex toy for geeks, but it's cool because it's a flexible system to fit different needs, and because it's open source.
Let there be lots of software, yes! Where needed!
As a web designer, I don't need four or five different web browsers. One reliable, scalable, cross-platform browser would be just perfect, with IE's capabilities but more security and configuration options.
But if you need a specialized browser for a special purpose, go ahead and code it.
Just the same goes for all other kinds of software. More things like GIMP and Mozilla might make Linux popular for good reasons.
So should there be two versions of Perl?
I am personally quite happy with Perl 5, using it for web development, and still continually learning to use it and how to use it better.
I don't want to be forced to switch to Perl 6 just because it's new. Until now I didn't take the time to read about its new concepts and possible advantages. Maybe there would be a reason for me to switch to Perl 6.
Comparing the situation with Flash: although the current versions have great advantages, but I often used Flash 4 - for backward compatibility, but also because I'm still used to the program. It seems that it would be nice to be able to stick to Perl 5, and use Perl 6 where necessary.
Now 5 and 6 are not compatible? That would be a pity. There is so many working software written in Perl 5, developed, tested and corrected over the years. There is no need to change that. Keep it running! My conclusion: there needs to be a - quite long - time for transition, where both languages can and should be used. Thus, some kind of continuous development of Perl 5 will be needed even when version 6 is around. Is this any problem? Not necessarily. Webservers can be configured to recognize both version appropriately, I hope. Local computers likewise.