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September, 2004: Perl News

Draft Version of Synopsis 9 Released

Larry Wall has posted a draft of Synopsis 9 to the perl6-language list. Although the Apocalypse it refers to hasn't been written yet, the synopsis nevertheless describes it in a confident past tense: apparently the "nonexistent" Apocalypse "discussed in detail the design of Perl 6 data structures. It was primarily a discussion of how the existing features of Perl 6 combine to make it easier for the PDL folks to write numeric Perl." You can read the full Synopsis at [email protected]

OSI Honors Larry

The first ever "Grand Master," or gold-level, award to be bestowed under the Open Source Awards program has gone to Larry Wall. "Larry Wall is best known for the Perl programming language," the awards committee noted, "but this award also honors his contribution of the program patch, which stimulated Open Source Software development by enabling multiple people to contribute small changes to software in an efficient and elegant manner." The award is accompanied by a prize of $10,000 and an invitation to serve as a future Elector of the awards committee.

The Open Source Awards were founded in 2003 as a joint project of the Open Source Initiative and CNET, with initial sponsorship from ActiveState and U.S. Venture Partners. Although awards have been announced every quarter, most of these have been at the "Merit," or bronze, level; Larry is the first to receive a Grand Master award. Grand Master honorees "must have made an outstanding contribution to the open-source culture." Either a "unique and exceptional technical innovation" or "a long-standing record of service" can qualify a candidate for a Grand Master award, but the committee looks for candidates who contribute both. Currently serving on the awards committee are Jeremy Allison, Larry Augustin, Jim Gettys, Dr. Marshall Kirk McKusick, Keith Packard, Eric S. Raymond, and Guido van Rossum. David Berlind of ZDNet and Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly and Associates serve as nonvoting members.

Nominations for future Open Source Awards can be sent to [email protected]; see nominations.php for details.

Feeling Listless?

The perl6-compiler mailing list has at last been launched, prompting some discussion of the current state of work on the compiler. According to Piers Cawley, who has taken on the job of summarizing the list weekly, "Patrick said that he and Luke (I think) are at the beginning stages of building a basic perl 6 grammar engine that compiles to parrot and handles some basic optimizations. In tandem with that, Patrick was also working on writing a Perl 6 grammar. The plan is (and no plan survives contact with the enemy) to get a working basic grammar engine up in the next month or so then use that to build the Perl 6 parser."

Meanwhile, back at stately perl5-porters, two-year veteran Rafael Garcia-Suarez is seeking someone to take over his summarizing duties. "No particular knowledge of the Perl 5 internals is needed," he notes, "You'll just have to be able to follow the main discussions and to look up the terms you don't get in the pods. Expect 2 or 3 hours of work by week, depending on the traffic. And you'll become a hero. Well, at least I'll owe you beers." Rafael can be contacted at [email protected]

Free to a Good Home

The hunt is on to find new maintainers for Simon Cozens's 100 CPAN modules, now that Simon has retired from module maintenance (but not from his regular contributions to TPJ, thankfully) in order to train as a missionary. Andy Lester has taken over the job of reassigning them, so e-mail him at [email protected] .com if you'd like to volunteer; see journal/20904 for details.

At least one module won't require maintenance: Acme::OneHundredNotOut ( is Simon's autobiography of his Perl work, from games to UI to mail handling to Perl internals to personal robotics. Simon's continuing adventures in "God School" can be followed at

Conference Calls

Venues have been chosen for YAPC::NA::2005 and YAPC:: EU::2005: The European conference will be held in Braga, Portugal, while the North American conference is scheduled for the University of Toronto, June 22-24. Also on the calendar is the London Perl Workshop (December 11; call for proposals at; the 7th German Perl Workshop (February 11; call for venues and a preliminary call for proposals at; and YAPC::Taipei 2005 (March 26-27; themed around "Perl in the Enterprise"; proposals in either Chinese or English welcomed at [email protected]).

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