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perlcommunity

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perlcommunity

NAME

perlcommunity - a brief overview of the Perl community

DESCRIPTION

This document aims to provide an overview of the vast perl community, which is far too large and diverse to provide a detailed listing. If any specific niche has been forgotten, it is not meant as an insult but an omission for the sake of brevity.

The Perl community is as diverse as Perl, and there is a large amount of evidence that the Perl users apply TMTOWTDI to all endeavors, not just programming. From websites, to IRC, to mailing lists, there is more than one way to get involved in the community.

Where to find the community

There is a central directory for the Perl community: http://perl.org maintained by the Perl Foundation (http://www.perlfoundation.org/), which tracks and provides services for a variety of other community sites.

Mailing lists and Newsgroups

Perl runs on e-mail, there is no doubt about it. The Camel book was originally written mostly over e-mail and today Perl's development is co-ordinated through mailing lists. The largest repository of Perl mailing lists is located at http://lists.perl.org.

Most Perl-related projects set up mailing lists for both users and contributors. If you don't see a certain project listed at http://lists.perl.org, check the particular website for that project. Most mailing lists are archived at http://nntp.perl.org/.

There are also plenty of Perl related newsgroups located under comp.lang.perl.* .

IRC

The Perl community has a rather large IRC presence. For starters, it has its own IRC network, irc://irc.perl.org. General (not help-oriented) chat can be found at irc://irc.perl.org/#perl. Many other more specific chats are also hosted on the network. Information about irc.perl.org is located on the network's website: http://www.irc.perl.org. For a more help oriented #perl, check out irc://irc.freenode.net/#perl. Perl 6 development also has a presence in irc://irc.freenode.net/#perl6. Most Perl-related channels will be kind enough to point you in the right direction if you ask nicely.

Any large IRC network (Dalnet, EFnet) is also likely to have a #perl channel, with varying activity levels.

Websites

Perl websites come in a variety of forms, but they fit into two large categories: forums and news websites. There are many Perl related websites, so only a few of the community's largest are mentioned here.

News sites

  • http://perl.com/

    Run by O'Reilly Media (The publisher of the Camel Book among other Perl-related literature), perl.com provides current Perl news, articles, and resources for Perl developers as well as a directory of other useful websites.

  • http://use.perl.org/

    use Perl; provides a slashdot-style Perl news website covering all things Perl, from minutes of the meetings of the Perl 6 Design team to conference announcements with (ir)relevant discussion.

Forums

  • http://www.perlmonks.org/

    PerlMonks is one of the largest Perl forums, and describes itself as "A place for individuals to polish, improve, and showcase their Perl skills." and "A community which allows everyone to grow and learn from each other."

User Groups

Many cities around the world have local PerlMongers chapters. A PerlMongers chapter is a local user group which typically holds regular in-person meetings, both social and technical; helps organize local conferences, workshops, and hackathons; and provides a mailing list or other continual contact method for its members to keep in touch.

To find your local PerlMongers (or PM as they're commonly abbreviated) group check the international PerlMongers directory at http://www.pm.org/.

Workshops

Perl workshops are, as the name might suggest, workshops where Perl is taught in a variety of ways. At the workshops, subjects range from a beginner's introduction (such as the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop's "Zero To Perl") to much more advanced subjects.

There are several great resources for locating workshops: the websites mentioned above, the calendar mentioned below, and the YAPC Europe website, http://www.yapceurope.org/, which is probably the best resource for European Perl events.

Hackathons

Hackathons are a very different kind of gathering where Perl hackers gather to do just that, hack nonstop for an extended (several day) period on a specific project or projects. Information about hackathons can be located in the same place as information about workshops as well as in irc://irc.perl.org/#perl.

If you have never been to a hackathon, here are a few basic things you need to know before attending: have a working laptop and know how to use it; check out the involved projects before hand; have the necessary version control client; and bring backup equipment (an extra LAN cable, additional power strips, etc.) because someone will forget.

Conventions

Perl has two major annual conventions: The Perl Conference (now part of OSCON), put on by O'Reilly, and Yet Another Perl Conference or YAPC (pronounced yap-see), which is localized into several regional YAPCs (North America, Europe, Asia) in a stunning grassroots display by the Perl community. For more information about either conference, check out their respective web pages: OSCON http://conferences.oreillynet.com/; YAPC http://www.yapc.org.

A relatively new conference franchize with a large Perl portion is the Open Source Developers Conference or OSDC. First held in Australia it has recently also spread to Israel. More information can be found at: http://www.osdc.com.au/ for Australia, and http://www.osdc.org.il for Israel.

Calendar of Perl Events

The Perl Foundation maintains a website and Google calendar for tracking Workshops, Hackathons, Perl Mongers meetings, and the larger conventions mentioned above. The web page is located at http://www.perl.org/events.html; the Google calendar is named Perl Events. Disclaimer: not every Perl Mongers group is on that calendar, so don't lose heart if you don't see yours posted. Read the section above on User Groups to find yours.

AUTHOR

Edgar "Trizor" Bering <trizor@gmail.com>