The problem with the Unix approach, Wall noted, is that very few Unix utilities actually did what they were supposed to do very well.
"They were all full of arbitrary limits," he said. Administrators expended a lot of effort in trying to get two utilities to agree on some data format for an operation, an operation that would inevitably cause the creation of "lots of little files...scattered around the directory."
"Perl could run rings around [the Unix] shell," he said. "Perl would scatter data around the program instead."
Wall seemed divided over the question of whether Perl 6 would be as disruptive as earlier versions.
"Perl 6 could bring on a bloody revolution, or it could be a delightful step forward. You folks in the room will have to decide how violent or peaceful the future will be," he said.
In his talk, Wall also introduced Perl 6's new mascot, a colorful butterfly named Camelia, commenting that the mascot would remind programmers to remain creative in their work.
"I don't believe professionalism and playfulness are mutually exclusive," he said.