The Press Release below was one of the more elaborate April Fool's jokes of 2001. (See also Programming Parrot in a Nutshell posted by O'Reilly, the interview with Larry & Guido on www.perl.com, and finally the story behind the prank by its main perpetrator, Simon Cozens.) An unrelated prank was the announcement (not written by Guido - it was a forged post :-) that PythonLabs is moving to ActiveState. We hope you all had fun!
Postscript. Life imitates art: Parrot is now the name of a proposed virtual machine that should be able to run Perl as well as Python code.
Larry Wall, the creator of Perl, and Guido van Rossum, creator of Python, today announced that their respective projects are about to begin a period of joint development.
According to the language designers, the idea surfaced at last year's Open Source Convention - "We at the Perl Conference were aware of a need for a new direction for Perl and for its community, and that's why we announced the work on Perl 6," said an excited Wall. "At the same time, Guido was thinking very hard about Python 2.0 and where it was going, and we got together and started talking about helping each other out."
Initially, the pair planned to have their development communities working together for mutual benefit. Van Rossum cited some of the technical reasons for the collaboration: "Perl's highly powerful regular expression engine would be integrated into Python, and would benefit us greatly; in return, we've got a number of things right that Perl could gain from, such as signal handling and robust software engineering."
However, as both designers talked about the changes their languages were going through, they came to the conclusion that they had much to share at the language level as well as the interpreter level. According to Larry Wall, "Perl's always been about taking the best features of all the other languages available; it's perfectly natural for us to integrate the best features of Python too."
The specifications for the combined language, called Parrot, will be documented in the forthcoming book "Programming Parrot In A Nutshell", to be published by O'Reilly and Associates. In the meantime, the Python Software Foundation is said to be making arrangements to merge with Yet Another Society. YAS president Kevin Lenzo was delighted at the move: "It's a natural extension of what YAS was set up to facilitate - collaboration and communication between programming communities."
Parrot development will begin with the merger of the Py3K development team with the Perl 6 internals working group; Jeremy Hylton and Dan Sugalski will be the joint development leads.
Larry Wall and Guido van Rossum both accepted positions at the Vancouver, Canada development company ActiveState. A spokesman for ActiveState said that the company was obviously very pleased with the decision, but denied that ActiveState had influenced it in any way.