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Microsoft coughs up to improve Perl Windows support

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Microsoft has set it sights on Perl, the language of choice for Web server scripting, and is to pay developer ActiveState to extend the language to improve its Windows support. The protagonist in the deal appears to be Microsoft India, which wants to improve the ability of Windows versions of Perl to handle non-Roman languages by supporting Unicode. Given the Great Satan's record on promoting its own character sets in the face of standards -- as anyone viewing, say, Word-generated copy through a non-Microsoft browser will attest -- isn't too hot, we wonder how embracing Perl will actually help matters, but there you go, that's Microsoft for you. In any case, by working with ActiveState, the Microsoft modifications should still be released under an Open Source licence, though perhaps not all of them. As the ActiveState FAQ puts it: "Most of the work will be released as Open Source [our italics]." That said, the key additions to the Perl core should be released as Open Source -- it's the stuff that forms the basis for the "value" ActiveState adds to the language that will be retained. Beta versions of the next release of ActivePerl to the Open Source Community are scheduled for August. ®

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