An Observation about Perl and C

Hi all,

It seems to me that having the ability to create system tools would be a very powerful skill if you are a Linux system administrator. It seems that C and Perl are two languages which are very keen at accomplishing these tasks. I understand these languages are old, but the tools to compile or run these are preinstalled on almost all Linux distros, where as Python / Ruby engines may not be preinstalled.

My interest in Linux System Administration has been growing rapidly lately. I've been researching more and more about this field outside of class. It seems in addition to learning the operating system and it's utilities, networking, security, etc... knowing Perl and C may be extremely beneficial.

I'm looking for advice. I've already taken a year of C++. Would it be important to learn C if my plan is to become a Linux System Admin. Furthermore, would it be a good plan to learn Python or Ruby at the same time? Are these skills even necessary today? I mean, do admins even need write scripts anymore? Lastly, do people learn/perfect their C and Perl skills on the job (like their first jr. sys admin job) or do you have to be a wiz prior to getting a position?

Please share your thoughts. Thanks in advance.

Learn it all. Why not ! I'm tryng to learn Python after I get better with Perl, and go on from there. All those Languages are relevant, it becomes, How good you are learning utilizinf them in practice. Scripts are awesome, and serve a purpose. It allcomes down to efficiencey really.

Best wishes in your journey

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As an embedded software developer.... my experience dealing with Perl has not been a happy one.


  • It's virtually unreadable once it's been written.
  • Far too dense and not "plane language" enough.
  • The regular expressions are cool, but very difficult to figure out later and make changes to. They also don't save as many lines of code as you might think.
  • Execution is slow.
  • Language is only still around because of old timer die-hards that swear by it and don't learn a better alternative.
  • Because of the way the Perl core was designed, it's a massive pain in the ass to connect to any C style dll's (or vice-versa).

Thanks for your opinion @eidolonfire. I appreciate your insight into this. Your point is taken and is one many people obviously agree with. When you say that it's only around because some old-timers don't want to learn a new language, that would mean there are other languages capable of accomplishing what Perl does. Are these Ruby or Python?

  1. Opinion happily given :D mehehe

  2. I'm a bit jaded against Perl... hence my over-the-top post.

  3. Seriously though, read about Perl... it's very dated and only kept running my die-hards.

  4. Yes, I don't have any experience with Ruby, but python can do anything Perl can (just differently) and it'll be way more readable.

  5. The python core is soooooooooo much more usable with binary libraries (.dll, .so)