The Timeline of Perl and its Culture

[ 1960s ] [ 1970s ] [ 1980s ] [ 1990s ] [ 2000s ] [ Other URLs of Interest ][ Sources ]

This document lives at If you see any errors, omissions, have comments or would like to contribute a tidbit for this ongoing mission, email


It's the Magic that counts.
-- Larry Wall on Perl's apparent ugliness



Ted Nelson invents hypertext, known as the Project Xanadu. (Fast forward to 1999.)


The concept of pipes connecting processes is suggested by Doug McIlroy at Bell Labs. See In Perl the same concept is seen in the default variable $_.


Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. (BBN) awarded Packet Switch contract to build Interface Message Processors (IMPs). [HIT]

US Senator Edward Kennedy sends a congratulatory telegram to BBN for its million-dollar ARPA contract to build the "Interfaith" Message Processor, and thanking them for their ecumenical efforts. [HIT]

Douglas Engelbart invents the mouse while working at Xerox PARC.


Unix is like a toll road on which you have to stop every 50 feet to pay another nickel.
But hey! You only feel 5 cents poorer each time.
-- Larry Wall in

UNIX is born at Bell Labs. It was not until well into 1970 that Brian Kernighan suggested the name `Unix,' in a somewhat treacherous pun on `Multics,' the operating system we know today was born.

First Request for Comment (RFC): "Host Software" by Steve Crocker (7 April) [HIT]



Ray Tomlinson (BBN) modifies email program for ARPANET where it becomes a quick hit. The @ sign was chosen from the punctuation keys on Tomlinson's Model 33 Teletype for its "at" meaning. (March) [HIT]

The programming language C is born at the Bell Labs. (The Development of The C Language) by Dennis M. Ritchie). C is one of Perl's ancestors, learn for example how the && and ++ operators were born. Perl is also implemented using C.


grep is introduced by Ken Thompson as a ingenious componentization: the builtin regular expressions and commands of the ed (the standard editor) are separated into an external utility: Global REgular expression Print. [EHU]


Atari introduces the first home video games. Who could forget Pong, Space Invaders or Missile Command?


Steven Jobs and Steven Wozniak found Apple Computer. (1 April)


The computer language awk is designed by Alfred V. Aho, Peter J. Weinberger, and Brian W. Kernighan. awk is one of Perl's ancestors.


BTL (Bell Telephone Labs) releases UNIX V7 which diverges into the commercial (System V) and academic (BSD, Berkeley Software Distribution) branches.

A shell by Stephen Bourne, simply known as the 'sh', is released. sh is one Perl's ancestors.


On April 12, Kevin MacKenzie emails the MsgGroup a suggestion of adding some emotion back into the dry text medium of email, such as :-) for indicating a sentence was tongue-in-cheek. Though flamed by many at the time, emoticons became widely used. [HIT]

USENET established using UUCP between Duke and UNC by Tom Truscott, Jim Ellis, and Steve Bellovin. All original groups were under net.* hierarchy.



Eric Allman develops Sendmail which will become the most widely used MTA on the internet.

RFC 801: NCTP/TCP Transition Plan which will increase the number of possible hosts from 256 to over one billion.


DCA and ARPA establish the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), as the protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, for ARPANET.

Sun Microsystems is incorporated with 4 employees.


Desktop workstations come into being, many with Berkeley UNIX (4.2 BSD) which includes IP networking software.


The GNU Project is started to develop a free UNIX-like operating system. The Gnu Manifesto, written by Richard Stallman, sets the stage for the coming OpenSource revolution.

During the third quarter of the Super Bowl, Apple airs the famous Ridley Scott commercial depicting an Orwellian IBM World saved by the Macintosh. The Macintosh featured a zippy 8MHz 68000 Motorola chip, a 9" black and white built-in monitor, 128k of RAM and sold for $2,495. (22 January)

Domain Name System (DNS), originally called JEEVES and later BIND, is developed by Paul Mockapetris, later to be maintained by Paul Vixie.

The first version of the X Window System is developed jointly by MIT Project Athena and Digital Equipment Corporation. (19 June)

NFS is first introduced.


Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link (WELL) started.

awk gets a facelift (introducing user-defined functions, multiple input streams, and computed regular expressions), the new version is called nawk. [GNU awk manual]

RFC 968: 'Twas the Night Before Start-up. [HIT]

Larry Wall creates rn. The RN news reader was developed to minimize the amount of time the user was kept waiting for news articles to be displayed. It did this by using cache techniques. RN was also developed to minimize the use of computer resources when running on computers with limited memory capabilities at the sacrifice of some speed. Its maintainence was passed to Stan Barber in 1987 when Perl took more of Larrys time.

O'Reilly and Associates moves from technical writing to book publishing; the first `Nutshell' books.


Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) designed to enhance Usenet news performance over TCP/IP.

Microsoft infec^H^H^Htroduces Windows to the world. (March)


UUNET is founded with Usenix funds to provide commercial UUCP and Usenet access. Originally an experiment by Rick Adams and Mike O'Dell

Hmm, doubtful. The source code generally wasn't there when I needed it.
-- Larry Wall when asked if he learned Perl from the perl source

Perl 1.000 is unleashed upon the world. Some People take Perls' Birthday seriously. Behold as Randal sings Happy Birthday to Larrys' answering machine. The description from the original man page sums up this new language well. (18 December)

		perl | Practical Extraction and Report Language

    	perl [options] filename args

     	Perl is a interpreted language optimized for scanning  arbi-
     	trary  text  files,  extracting  information from those text
     	files, and printing reports based on that information.  It's
     	also  a good language for many system management tasks.  The
     	language is intended to be practical  (easy  to  use,  effi-
     	cient,  complete)  rather  than  beautiful  (tiny,  elegant,
     	minimal).  It combines (in  the  author's  opinion,  anyway)
     	some  of the best features of C, sed, awk, and sh, so people
     	familiar with those languages should have little  difficulty
     	with  it.  (Language historians will also note some vestiges
     	of csh, Pascal, and  even  BASIC|PLUS.)   Expression  syntax
     	corresponds  quite  closely  to C expression syntax.  If you
     	have a problem that would ordinarily use sed or awk  or  sh,
     	but  it exceeds their capabilities or must run a little fas-
     	ter, and you don't want to write the silly thing in C,  then
     	perl  may  be  for  you.  There are also translators to turn
     	your sed and awk scripts  into  perl  scripts.   OK,  enough


Internet Relay Chat (IRC) developed by Jarkko Oikarinen. Later #perl (read as pound perl) would appear on EFNet, forming an essential part of Perl Culture. (January)

In the MIT X Conference the Xlib reference drafts by O'Reilly and Associates raise considerable interest and ORA really gets started in publishing business. (January)

I won't mention any names, because I don't want to get sun4's into trouble... :-) -- Larry Wall in 11333@jpl-devvax.JPL.NASA.GOV

Sun releases the SPARCstation 1.

Tcl tends to get ported to weird places like routers. -- Larry Wall in

John Ousterhout writes Tcl or "Tool Command Language".

Perl 2.000 released. (5 June) Some of the enhancements from Perl1 included:

Randal can write one-liners again. Everyone is happy, and peace spreads over the whole Earth. -- Larry Wall in <>

Randal Schwartz creates the legendary Just Another Perl Hacker .sig. Below is a post from comp.lang.perl.misc where he explains how it was created.

Newsgroups: comp.lang.perl.misc
Subject: Re: Who is Just another Perl hacker?
From: (Randal L. Schwartz)

>>>>> "Juho" == Juho Cederstrom writes:

Juho> But when do I become Just another Perl hacker? Who are they? I've read
Juho> the FAQ, but it doesn't answer my question. If I replace my email
Juho> signature with JAPH, do I break some kind of law?
Juho> Or is Just another Perl Hacker a person who just hacks Perl?

Well, this ol' JAPH thing started back in 88-ish when I was posting to
a bunch of different newsgroups, and would sign each message somewhat
individualized above the "-- " cut.  For a while, it was stuff like:

        Randal L. "Some Clever Phrase Here" Schwartz

and I'd change the phrase to fit.  I got bored with retyping my name
repeatedly, so I start using:

        Just another <SUBJECT> hacker,

in each news group, changing <SUBJECT> as appropriate.  When I started
posting to the Perl newsgroup frequently, I just repeatedly typed:

        Just another Perl hacker,

and that got boring, so I stepped it up to Perl code:

        print "Just another Perl hacker,"

but again, that lacked the ability to soak up my then-spare-time, so
I started making them a bit more clever, like:

        print join " ", reverse split ' ', "hacker, Perl another Just"

and that started a trend of me constantly trying to outdo myself in
each posting.  The one that decoded morse code was probably one of my
favorites, as was the "old macdonald" one that is now immortalized in
Jeffrey's "Mastering Regular Expressions" (from O'Reilly).  A few
others got into the act... notably one Mr. Larry Wall who wrote code
to pick a random article of mine out of his news spool, run the code,
but print "Not " in front of it!

I have a little less spare time these days, so the JAPH signoffs have
been pretty plain <SIGH>.  But I occasionally sneak something in that
relates to what I'm answering.

So, in answer to your question, feel free to declare yourself a JAPH,
but most of us around here agree that I'm JAPH # 0. :)

print "Just another Perl hacker,"

Robert Tappan Morris infects the net with the infamous worm. (3 November)

Johan Vromans releases the first Perl Reference Card which would later prove to be the earliest published incidence of the word Perl. Johan has created a very nice timeline of the Perl Reference.(December)


Tom Christiansen presents the first public Perl tutorial at the Baltimore Usenix.

Perl 3.000 is released and is distributed by Larry for the first time under the terms of the GNU Public License. A few of the new features: (18 Oct)

Steve Jobs introduces the NeXT to the academic community for a mere $6,500. Its main strengths are built-in ethernet, a Mach OS and TeX.



Python invented by Guido van Rossum at CWI in Amsterdam.

Convex becomes the first major computer vendor to include Perl as part of its standard operating system distribution.

I know it's weird, but it does make it easier to write poetry in perl. :-)
-- Larry Wall in 7865@jpl-devvax.JPL.NASA.GOV

Larry writes the world's first Perl Poem inspired by Randals JAPH signatures: (March)

	print STDOUT q
	Just another Perl Hacker,
	unless $spring

April Fool's "Black Perl" forgery (p. 553 of the Blue Camel). (1 April)

	BEFOREHAND: close door, each window & exit; wait until time.
		open spellbook, study, read (scan, select, tell us);
	write it, print the hex while each watches,
		reverse its length, write again;
		 kill spiders, pop them, chop, split, kill them.
		 	unlink arms, shift, wait & listen (listening, wait),
	sort the flock (then, warn the "goats" & kill the "sheep");
		kill them, dump qualms, shift moralities,
		 values aside, each one;
		 	die sheep! die to reverse the system
		 	 you accept (reject, respect);
	next step,
		kill the next sacrifice, each sacrifice,
		 wait, redo ritual until "all the spirits are pleased";
		do it ("as they say").
	do it(*everyone***must***participate***in***forbidden**s*e*x*).
	return last victim; package body;
		exit crypt (time, times & "half a time") & close it,
		 select (quickly) & warn your next vicitm;
	AFTERWORDS: tell nobody.
		wait, wait until time;
		 wait until next year, next decade;
		 	sleep, sleep, die yourself,
		 	 die at last

	# Larry Wall

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is founded by Mitch Kapor.

Tom Christiansen's "The Answer to All Man's Problems" (about the Unix manpage system) is the first paper published at an academic conference to spotlight Perl.


It won't be covered in the book. The source code has to be useful for something, after all... :-)
-- Larry Wall in 10160@jpl-devvax.JPL.NASA.GOV

The first edition of Programming Perl, a.k.a. The Pink Camel, by Larry Wall and Randal Schwartz is published by O'Reilly and Associates. (January)

I'm reminded of the day my daughter came in, looked over my shoulder at some Perl 4 code, and said, "What is that, swearing?" -- Larry Wall in <>

Perl 4.000 is released and includes an artistic license as well as the GPL. (21 March)

Linus Torvalds releases the first version of Linux. Linus had wanted to name it Freax (free + freak + unix) but the site administrator liked Linux better. It was distributed under the GNU Public License. (July)

Sun unveils Solaris 2 for the SPARC, a System V variant.


The first release of MacPerl, 4.0.2. (January)

Rick Gates begins The Internet Hunt, a scavenger hunt for information to answer trivia questions using only the Internet. It dies in October 1994 when Gates decides to rework the hunt for the WWW, but never gets around to it. (September)

Sharon Hopkins presents "Camels and Needles: Computer Poetry Meets the Perl Programming Language" at the USENIX Winter Technical Conference. Sharon is the reigning Perl Poetry Pumpqueen and takes advantage of Perl's vocabulary which is very forgiving when abused. (December)

MacPerl 4.0.5 is released with Socket and DBM support. (December)


MacPerl mailing list is created. (January)

Godwin's Law starts being used on Usenet, etc. It is sometimes seen even in comp.lang.perl.misc. (February)

The final Perl4 release, 4.036.

Larry Wall is awarded the Dr. Dobbs Journal Excellence in Programming Award. (March)

MacPerl 4.1.0 features a "True Macintosh Human Interface." (October)

Oh, wait, that was Randal...nevermind...
-- Larry Wall in

Randal Schwartz is questioned by police for running crack on the password database at Intel. They returned the next day with a search warrant. (1 November)

Learning Perl, a.k.a. the Llama book, by Randal Schwartz is first published by O'Reilly. (November)

The Perl-packrats mailing list is started with the initial participants being Bill Middleton, Tom Christiansen, Henk Penning, Jarkko Hietaniemi, Stephen Potter, Lee Mcloughlin, and Mark of coombs. (2 December)

FreeBSD 1.0 is released and distributed via Walnut Creek CDROM. (December)

The first ideas of what will become CPAN emerge on the Perl-packrats mailing list. Modeled after the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN) it would be an archive of all things Perl. (9 December)


The whole intent of Perl 5's module system was to encourage the growth of Perl culture rather than the Perl core.
-- Larry Wall in

The much anticipated Perl 5.000 is unveiled. It was a complete rewrite of Perl. A few of the features and pitfalls are: (18 October)

The Perl5-Porters Mailing List is conceived. (May-ish)

Andreas König recalls..."During the last days of April 1994 an email thread started with a quickly growing CC list. After maybe 100 mails Jarkko had the insane idea to put all recipients on a mailing list. That must have been in May."

Tim Bunce introduces DBI/DBD::Oracle. (October)

Larry presents The Taming of the Camel at The USENIX Symposium on Very High Level Languages (VHLLs), held in Santa Fe New Mexico discussing Perl5. (26-28 October)

MacPerl 4.1.4 supports the PPC architecture. (December)


Rasmus Lerdorf created a Perl CGI script which inserted a tag into the HTML code of his page, and collected the information on the visitors. He called the logging code PHP-Tools for "Personal Home Page", because for him, the use was for his personal home page. A few inquires came in asking how they could get the tools, and Lerdorf decided to give it away. [Thanks Neil Kandalgaonkar]

Jarkko prods the Perl-packrats list to try and reincarnate the CPAN idea which has been dormant for over a year. One rather visionary idea that has yet to be implemented, but is mentioned, is a nice web-based search engine. (12 February)

Perl 5.001 is released. (13 March)

The "Schwartzian Transform" is born out of a newbie question about sort and Randal answers with a 5-line expert answer. Tom Christiansen names this bit of magic later in the year. (8 April)

Andreas König suggests to the Perl-packrats that there be a single MASTER site for Perl. (18 April)

First official public release (0.6.2) of the Apache web server. (April)

comp.lang.perl is split into comp.lang.perl.misc and comp.lang.perl.announce. (May)

Sun launches Java. (23 May)

Learning Perl by Randal Schwartz is now available in Japanese. (June)

Perl merits coverage by The Economist with the advent of Perl5. "Unlike lots of other freely available software, Perl is useful, and it works." (1 July)

Names for the future CPAN are tossed around. Neil Bowers proposes "EYEKAP - Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Perl". Jarkko favours "REEPH" since that is where one finds Pearls. Tim Bunce suggests "ARK - Archive of Reusable Knowledge". (#perl had a few interesting ideas upon hearing about these. PARK - Perl Archive of Reusable Knowledge and CRAP - Central Repository for All things Perl). (June)

The CPAN "private showing" is announced to P5P and the Perl-packrats by Jarkko to kick the tires on the proposed "Mother of all Perl Archives". At this point there are no plans for 'Perl5 extensions'. There is close to a whopping 390MB of Perl stuff including; source code for Perl, scripts, documentation, Perl for non-UNIX platforms, etc. (1 August)

Andreas König begins his own module repository at (15 August)

MacPerl 5.0.0 released. (August)

Randal becomes Just Another Convicted Perl Hacker. (11 September)

Tom Christiansen announces the new Perl home page at (4 September)

(I thought this was very late for Perl to be getting a home page of its own until I saw the numbers below from Hobbes' Internet Timeline which really indicates that Perl was well ahead of the curve.)
Count_Host.gif Count_domains.gif Count_WWW.gif

Tom Christiansen posts version 0.1 of "PDSC: The Perl Data Structures Cookbook". Look Familiar? (2 October)

Tim Bunce posts the first module list that lists CPAN as the central module repository. (25 September)

Matt Wright puts "Matt's Script Archive" online and will continue to distribute nasty Perl code to the clueless and the unininformed through the end of the 20th Century. Some of the more memorable 'scripts' are the infamous Guestbook, formmail and WWWBoard. (October) is announced. (20 October)

CPAN is officially introduced to the Perl community at large by Jarkko Hietaniemi, the Self-Appointed Master Librarian of CPAN. (26 October)

Tom Christiansen releases the Mail::Auto_FAQ Module. (14 November)


Jon Orwant posts the RFD for comp.lang.perl.modules due to the high traffic in comp.lang.perl.misc. (16 January)

The Free Software Foundation hosts the First Conference on Freely Redistributable Software. (2-5 February)

The Perl Journal is first advertised on comp.lang.perl.announce. Issue #1 would be published a month later, beginning a very important publication in the world of Perl. Jon Orwant produced the Journal on a NeXT and a shoestring. Jon was kind enough to share his story and some interesting figures regarding the development of TPJ: (21 February)

In 1995, TPJ began with 400 subscribers, and I produced everything out
of my apartment with my trusty NeXT.  My application to produce credit
cards was held up for six weeks because I lived on Pearl Street in
Cambridge and the bankers were convinced that I couldn't possibly
want to accept credit cards as the "Perl" Journal.

The first issue was Spring 1996 and was 32 pages.  Issues #13 and #14
are 80 pages on colored glossy paper.  Now TPJ has about 13000
readers: 9000 paid mail, and 4000 bookstore.  I've had a pretty steady
300-400 new subscribers per month since the first Perl conference.
O'Reilly helped me a *lot* by putting subscription cards in their Perl
books.  I can count the number of explicit cancellations of TPJ on
two hands.

All issues are still being printed and reprinted due to the demand
for back issues -- this is *not* how typical magazines operate.
Most magazines operate on ad sales, but since Perl doesn't lend
itself to many commercial products, I had to produce Quality Content
to make ends meet.

Up until March 1999, I did pretty much everything myself: editing,
proofreading, layout, design, ad sales, printing, production, mailing,
accounting, you name it.  Eventually TPJ grew to be way too much for
me, and a company called EarthWeb took over production.

Total print run         Cover Art               Pages

Issue #1:  5000         Fuzzy Camel             32
Issue #2:  4000         Crystal Clam            39
Issue #3:  7500         Greenbar                41
Issue #4:  7000         Etch-a-sketch           41
Issue #5:  9000         Lego Guys               40
Issue #6: 10000         Scrabble                48
Issue #7: 10000         Microsoft Spider        48
Issue #8: 12000         Java Butts              56
Issue #9: 15000         Drummer/Coder           64
Issue #10: 18000        Underwood               66
Issue #11: 16000        X-Files                 62
Issue #12: 18000        Atari                   72
Issue #13: 18000        Walkman                 78

Total distrib through news agents

Issue #1: 0
Issue #2: 1600
Issue #3: 1800
Issue #4: 2000
Issue #5: 2050
Issue #6: 2000
Issue #7: 2160
Issue #8: 3060
Issue #9: 3075
Issue #10: c. 3300
Issue #11: c. 3600
Issue #12: c. 3900
Issue #13: c. 4200
Issue #14: 4425

TPJ subscribers by state:

CA 1696
NY 569
MA 525
TX 503
WA 332
IL 309
MD 305
NJ 295
VA 278
CO 263
PA 263
OH 188
FL 181
OR 172
NC 167
MN 164
MI 157
GA 147
AZ 123
WI 104
CT 102
IN 95
MO 87
NH 71
UT 53
TN 52
AL 48
KS 47
NM 44
NE 42
IA 39
KY 33
DC 27
OK 26
LA 25
SC 24
NV 23
ID 23
AK 23
RI 23
ME 21
MS 21
AE 18
AR 18
VT 16
MT 15
HI 14
DE 13
WV 11
AP 8
US 8
ND 6
SD 5
WY 1
AA 1
NB 1
PR 1
VW 1
TY 1

TPJ subscribers by country:

Country            Number      % overall  % int'l
usa                     6730    73.50       0.00
unitedkingdom            453     4.95      18.67
germany                  371     4.05      15.29
canada                   308     3.36      12.69
australia                161     1.76       6.63
sweden                   104     1.14       4.29
switzerland              100     1.09       4.12
france                    97     1.06       4.00
netherlands               96     1.05       3.96
japan                     82     0.90       3.38
finland                   62     0.68       2.55
denmark                   60     0.66       2.47
norway                    55     0.60       2.27
italy                     48     0.52       1.98
belgium                   46     0.50       1.90
austria                   40     0.44       1.65
brazil                    32     0.35       1.32
israel                    31     0.34       1.28
newzealand                30     0.33       1.24
spain                     26     0.28       1.07
hongkong                  24     0.26       0.99
ireland                   23     0.25       0.95
taiwan                    16     0.17       0.66
singapore                 16     0.17       0.66
portugal                  13     0.14       0.54
argentina                 12     0.13       0.49
greece                    10     0.11       0.41
mexico                     9     0.10       0.37
scotland                   7     0.08       0.29
chile                      7     0.08       0.29
slovenia                   6     0.07       0.25
poland                     6     0.07       0.25
southafrica                6     0.07       0.25
india                      5     0.05       0.21
luxembourg                 5     0.05       0.21
newzealand                30     0.33       1.24
spain                     26     0.28       1.07
hongkong                  24     0.26       0.99
ireland                   23     0.25       0.95
taiwan                    16     0.17       0.66
singapore                 16     0.17       0.66
portugal                  13     0.14       0.54
argentina                 12     0.13       0.49
greece                    10     0.11       0.41
mexico                     9     0.10       0.37
scotland                   7     0.08       0.29
chile                      7     0.08       0.29
slovenia                   6     0.07       0.25
poland                     6     0.07       0.25
southafrica                6     0.07       0.25
india                      5     0.05       0.21
luxembourg                 5     0.05       0.21
iceland                    4     0.04       0.16
czechrepublic              4     0.04       0.16
southkorea                 3     0.03       0.12
saudiarabia                3     0.03       0.12
thailand                   3     0.03       0.12
china                      3     0.03       0.12
korea                      3     0.03       0.12
pakistan                   2     0.02       0.08
hungary                    2     0.02       0.08
bermuda                    2     0.02       0.08
russia                     2     0.02       0.08
malaysia                   2     0.02       0.08
unitedarabemirates         2     0.02       0.08
unitedstates               2     0.02       0.08
ukraine                    2     0.02       0.08
unitedkingdon              1     0.01       0.04
germnay                    1     0.01       0.04
swizterland                1     0.01       0.04
romania                    1     0.01       0.04
indonesia                  1     0.01       0.04
englanduk                  1     0.01       0.04
qatar                      1     0.01       0.04
andrededeurwaerder         1     0.01       0.04
malta                      1     0.01       0.04
republicofchina            1     0.01       0.04
phillipines                1     0.01       0.04
nigeria                    1     0.01       0.04
venezuela                  1     0.01       0.04
lebanon                    1     0.01       0.04
uruguay                    1     0.01       0.04
belarus                    1     0.01       0.04
luxembourgeurope           1     0.01       0.04
frenchpolynesia            1     0.01       0.04
egypt                      1     0.01       0.04
turkey                     1     0.01       0.04
ecuador                    1     0.01       0.04

[note: these figures current as of 6/99]

The vote results for comp.lang.perl.modules is almost unanimous and passes 485/17. (27 February)

Perl 5.002 announced which introduced, among other things, subroutine prototypes and sysopen(). (29 February)

The CPAN multiplex dispatcher (a.k.a. the Multiplexor) is introduced on to redirect CPAN requests to a mirror closer and probably faster than (9 March)

The Zeroth Annual Obfuscated Perl Contest is inflicted upon many Perl programmers and causes much sleep deprivation. It is touted as "a socially acceptable creative outlet". The winners and their entries are on-line. (22 April)

Malcolm Beattie announces the alpha1 release of the Perl Compiler Kit. (13 May)

CERT Advisory CA-96-12 "Vulnerability in suidperl" issued reporting a vulnerability in systems that contain the suidperl program and that support saved set-user-ID and saved set-group-ID. By exploiting this vulnerability, anyone with access to an account on such a system may gain root access. The recommended workaround is to install Perl 5.003 (26 June)

Apache is the most popular web server software on the internet.

The Second Edition of Programming Perl, a.k.a. the blue Camel, by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen and Randal Schwartz is published by O'Reilly. (September)

In Issue #4 of The Perl Journal, Charlie Stross wrote a Lovecraftian Homage to the revered tome and was possibly inspired by Tom Christiansen's Chthonic Nightmare.

Finally, a month ago, I discovered the true fount of insight into the nature of the beast. A book is available, to those who know who and what to ask for. Kept in the deepest dungeon of a library's stacks, its cover sealed with bronze clasps and its spine earthed by a silver chain, the book of the camel contains all the forbidden knowledge any evil necromancer could desire. There, laid out for my delectation was all the truth that my bleeding forehead could contain. Bleeding, for upon reading the book I was driven to pound my head upon the stone cobblestones of the oubliette to which the librarian had driven me. For I now realize that I have no hope of salvation; that my soul is eternally doomed to torment, and that the evil that gibbers and howls in the void beyond space will have me in the end. For I discovered secret clauses buried in the text of the book; and there was much howling and grinding of teeth as I realised what my earlier incantations had achieved. The camel has a mind of its own, a subtle and demented psychosis as old as time and twice as huge: it is eating my brain with a tea-spoon, and I feel quite sick. I have become the vector for a plague out of space-time, a language with embedded magic and probabilistic parsers, a language that is eating my soul! Even the scholars of the local university would be hard-pressed to conduct a successful exorcism. For I have been polluted; the nemesis of orthogonality, the beast of UNIX, has laid its claws in my heart.

I cannot control myself any more. Soon I shall be entirely its creature, and then I shall be forced to write down the forbidden knowledge I have received -- to write it down and publish it in an innocucous-looking volume, presented to the general reader so they might suffer and wilt in its hideous grasp.

But first I warn you! Flee while you can! Flee before the approach of the dread beast with one hump and no 'a' in its name, flee before it eats your mind as it has

Oh, that's better. I feel all right now. Don't worry, everything is under control.

There is no cause for alarm.

I repeat: there is no cause for alarm.

(It is unknown whether the librarian of the above story refers to the Librarian of CPAN.)

The Perl Institute (TPI) is announced to the public. (4 November)

Doug MacEachern introduces mod_perl, which embeds a perl interpreter into an Apache module.

Larry Wall joins the staff of O'Reilly & Associates as a Senior Software Developer.

PerlScript released in beta from ActiveState Tool Corporation. (4 December)


TPI announces a web-accessible mirror of CPAN. (9 January)

Kevin Lenzo sires purl, a sibling of url which was created in 1995, who is an infobot residing on #perl and is somewhat like the collective consciousness of the Perl community. Sometimes people think they are really interacting with a real person when purl is around and she is quite useful in pointing the clueless at the proper resources. /me tosses purl a yummy botsnack.

WebReview prints "The Rebels of Perl", an interview with Larry and Tom. (28 February)

Learning Perl, Second Edition, a.k.a the Llama book, by Randal Schwartz and Tom Christiansen is published by O'Reilly. (July)

Perl 6 is announced...well, kinda. April in July? (21 July)

O'Reilly announces their partnership with ActiveState which will assist in producing the Win32 Perl Resource Kit and Oneperl. (28 July)

Gurusamy Sarathy remembers how it all was....
"ORA were the catalyst in bringing ActiveState together with the Win32
people from perl5-porters.  Both groups were working on different
aspects of win32 support at the time.  TPC1 was the venue where we had a
breakfast meeting that set the course for what happened to bring the two
ports together.

First some background on the two ports. The port that was being
developed     by perl5-porters started by adapting what was there in the
5.001m-based port by HIP Communications, which was funded by Microsoft,
and was actually distributed in the Windows NT Resource Kit.  Beginning
with 5.003_24, serious effort went into making this highly compatible
with what was available on Unix, and 5.004 did have very complete win32

By that time, HIP Communications had been sold, and Activeware Internet
Corp. headed by Dick Hardt was continuing the work that was started by
HIP, which was also founded by Dick. (I'm paraphrasing from hearsay
history here...) Activeware had made extensive source code changes to 
support evolving Win32 technologies, and their code base had diverged 
somewhat from 5.003_07.  So the Activeware port had excellent support 
for Win32 functionality but was based on an older perl than was available 
at the time.

After the breakfast meeting, ORA arranged (and financed) biweekly
teleconferences to help focus on the tasks that needed to be
accomplished for the 5.005 release.  The win32 merge was only one of
several tasks that needed to be done for 5.005.  Malcolm Beattie had
already done considerable work on the Compiler and on the threading
support; his major task was to merge his prior work into the evolving
5.005 code base.  In conjunction with that, Nick Ing-Simmons and I
worked to extend the existing win32 support in the core to support both
the Compiler and threading.  ActiveState (primarily Dick Hardt and Doug
Lankshear) worked in parallel with that evolution to merge their C++
based core code into Perl, which later became known as the "PERL_OBJECT

Around the time 5.004_66 was released, Malcolm had to divert his
attention to his family and couldn't carry on the role of "pumpking", so
I took on that responsibility.  (See the calender in perlhist.pod.) We
only had five weeks to our deadline, and there was a bit of work to be
done.  I don't remember sleeping much during that time. :-)"

The first O'Reilly Perl Conference (TPC) is held in San Jose, California. The conference was attended by 1047 Perl programmers making it a success and ensuring a second conference. Larry opened with his "State of the Onion" speech. Eric Raymond gave the now famous "The Cathedral and The Bazaar" talk. One person was enthused enough to write a report of his experience. It even inspired a parody. SunWorld interviewed Larry Wall and Tim O'Reilly just before the conference where Tim explains how TPC came about: (19-21 August)

O'Reilly: We had a meeting at our offices where we invited in a bunch of people we knew who were concerned about the future of Perl for a brainstorming summit. We had about 20 people. And we said 'boy, it's really great to have all these people coming together to talk about this, face to face.' And we said, 'hey, we really ought to do a conference.'

Just a few weeks after we made that decision, Larry gave a talk at Computer Literacy Bookshop, and one of the people in the audience got up and said 'I was just at JavaOne. How come there isn't a PerlOne?' It's funny because I think people are starting to recognize there's a lot of people using Perl. Why isn't there this visibility? That again is a lot of what we've really been focusing on. Here's a language so widely used on the Internet, and because it doesn't have a lot of money behind it -- there's nobody who cares about it in the stock market -- it doesn't get a lot of press. And it's sort of silly, so we said, 'Let's put on a conference. We need to raise the profile of Perl.' And, sure enough, we're heading toward 1,000 people coming. And this is not a trade show kind of thing; this is just conference and tutorials.

Advanced Perl Programming, a.k.a. the Panther book, by Sriram Srinivasan is published by O'Reilly. (August)

Programming Perl on Win32 Systems, a.k.a. the Gecko book, by Randal Schwartz, Erik Olson, and Tom Christiansen is published by O'Reilly. (August)

Songline Studios now hosts on a T3 upgrading from a 28.8K PPP connection. (August)

I want to see people using Perl to glue things together creatively, not just technically but also socially.
-- Larry Wall in

brian d foy organises the "Perl /M((o|u)ngers|aniacs)*/" in New York City. Unfortunately the State of New York wouldn't accept a regex for a corporation name so it became Perl Mongers. was the first group and has grown rapidly since. (October)

Matt Wright of the script archive fame publishes CGI/Perl Cookbook. It touts '7 scripts, 12 subroutines, each line of code explained', all in a nice compact 650+ page book. Whatever dude. (note: visiting this site crashed my mac) (October)

Effective Perl Programming, a.k.a. the Shinyball book, written by Joseph Hall is published by Addison-Wesley. (November)

The Perl Resource Kit -- UNIX Edition, a.k.a. the PRK or Boxed Camel, by Larry Wall, Nathan Patwardhan, Ellen Siever, David Futato and Brian Jepson is published by O'Reilly. (November)

Eric Allman and Greg Olson form Sendmail, Inc. to produce a commercial version of sendmail and support.


The movie Sphere is released featuring a small snippet of code from the Perl FAQ.

Netscape announces that it is going to release (some of) the source code to Netscape Navigator, though not under the GPL. The source will hit the net on the March 31st. (22 January)

The term "Open Source" is coined in Palo Alto, Ca. There is a graph that shows the number of times OpenSource is mentioned in the press from February through July 1998. (February)

We realized it was time to dump the confrontational attitude that has been associated with `free software' in the past and sell the idea strictly on the same pragmatic, business-case grounds that motivated Netscape. We brainstormed about tactics and a new label. `Open source', contributed by Chris Peterson, was the best thing we came up with.

Software in the Public Interest (SPI) applies to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register the term OpenSource as a certification mark which is a special kind of trademark. (24 February)

All language designers are arrogant. Goes with the territory... :-)
-- Larry Wall in

Salon Magazine interviews Eric Raymond in the wake of Netscapes announcement to release their souce code and starts bringing the use of OpenSource to the general reading public. Two priceless quotes from the article: (April)

A self-described neo-pagan libertarian who enjoys shooting semi-automatic weapons, Raymond fits the classic stereotype of the hacker almost too well. Hackers tend to think they know better; free software libertarian hackers tend to think they know best of all. As Raymond told me with pride: "I'm an arrogant son of a bitch."

I notice that you no longer prefer to use the term "free software." Instead, you say "open source." Can you explain?
Sure. [After meeting with Netscape] I got together with a bunch of free software hackers and we had our own strategy conference. The issue on the table was how to exploit the Netscape breakthrough. We worked out some strategies and tactics. First conclusion: The name "free software" has to go. The problem is nobody knows what "free" means, and to the extent that they do think they know, it's tied in with a whole bunch of ideology and that crazy guy from Boston, Richard Stallman.

Randal Schwartz releases the highly acclaimed sh2perl module. (1 April)

O'Reilly sponsors the first freeware Summit.

comp.lang.perl.moderated comes to Usenet after much heated debate.

Larry discusses the "Free-Software Concept" with ZDNet in which he mentions that Perl could not have succeeded had it been proprietary.

MacPerl: Power and Ease, by Chris Nandor and Vicki Brown is published by Prime Time Freeware. (May)

Perl5.005 is announced. (22 July)

The Perl Cookbook, a.k.a. the Ram book or PCB, by Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington is published by O'Reilly. (August)

The Perl Resource Kit -- Win32 Edition, a.k.a. the PRK or boxed gecko, by Dick Hardt, Erik Olson, David Futato, and Brian Jepson is published by O'Reilly. (August)

The Perl 5 Pocket Reference, 2nd Edition, by Johan Vromans is published by O'Reilly. (August)

Sun Microsystems, makes Solaris available under a free license to individual users, also to educational/non-profit/research institutions. They view it as a way to 'aggressively expand their developer base'. (10 August)

It's certainly easy to calculate the average attendance for Perl conferences.
-- Larry Wall in

TPC2, the Second Annual Perl Conference was held in San Jose, California at the Fairmont Hotel. Over 1200 Perl people attended with facilities this year for internet access and tables in the tutorials. Larry Wall gave his Second State of the Onion Speech, Jon Orwant hosted a hilarious Quiz Show, and Tim Bray talked about XML and Perl. Nathan Torkington and Kurt Starsinic took pictures. Vicki Brown covered the conference for Sunworld. (19-21 August)

Kurt Starsinic organises the return of scripts to CPAN. (September)

Larry Wall is awarded the first Free Software Foundation Award for the Advancement of Free Software. (9 October).

CPAN gets its 100th mirror site at Harrisonburg, Virginia. Distribution per continent: Africa 1, Asia 15, Australasia 6, Central America 1, Europe 52, North America 21, South America 3. (Where's Antarctica? Penguins need Perl.)

Jon Postel dies and is remembered in RFC2468 titled I Remember IANA. It was a very sad day around BBN where I was working at the time. (17 October)

I think one fallout from the Halloween debacle is that Microsoft is rather more aware than they were of how much benefit they're getting from open source software.
-- Larry Wall in

The Microsoft "Halloween Documents", internal corporate memos, are leaked to the public. Here are some choice tidbits mentioning Perl:

Some very large projects discard the `benevolent dictator' model entirely. One way to do this is turn the co-developers into a voting committee (as with Apache). Another is rotating dictatorship, in which control is occasionally passed from one member to another within a circle of senior co-developers (the Perl developers organize themselves this way).

An indirect example is O'Reilly & Associates employment of Larry Wall -- "leader" and full time developer of PERL. The #1 publisher of PERL reference books, of course is O'Reilly & Associates." (October)

The Perl/Tk Pocket Reference, by Stephen Lidie, is published by O'Reilly. (November)

Eric Raymond sends an open letter to AOL after the announcement of the AOL/Sun/Netscape deal, urging them to continue and encourage the Netscape open standard browser. In the letter, Raymond states: (25 November)

Instead, by freeing the source Netscape created an open standard browser that could survive even the worst case, predatory capture of Netscape's own intellectual property. By enlisting the open-source community, Netscape ensured that Mozilla would evolve and improve faster than any proprietary competition. Mozilla's success would deny Microsoft even the possibility of monopoly control over the Web; to use Microsoft's own language in the Halloween Documents, it would ``commoditize'' the infrastructure.

Tim O'Reilly is featured in Esther Dyson's newsletter "Release 1.0" with a 31 page essay titled "The Open-Source Revolution". OpenSource has come of age. In the essay Tim estimates the Perl community has 1,000,000 members. (November)

PC Magazine Names Perl a Finalist for the 1998 Technical Excellence Award in the Development Tool category. Of course, an MS product won. (December)

Perl in a Nutshell, a.k.a. the Nutty Camel, by Ellen Siever, Stephen Spainhour, and Nathan Patwardhan is published by O'Reilly. (December)

O'Reilly makes the Java/Perl Lingo (JPL) available as open source software. It was previously only available in the Perl Resource Kit-UNIX Edition. The tool and source code are included with Perl5.005_54. (6 December)


ActiveState announces PerlDirect. (6 January)

PerlDirect provides reliability, stability and accountability for Perl through the following features: validated, quality-assured releases of Perl and its popular extensions; advice and support; Y2K Test Suite; and a Perl Alert weekly bulletin. PerlDirect also offers an exclusive opportunity to provide direct input in a leading organization involved in Open Source development. Basic annual subscription rates start at $12,000 USD.

Learning Perl/Tk, a.k.a. the Emu book, by Nancy Walsh is published by O'Reilly. (January)

New Riders publish Windows NT Win32 Perl Programming: The Standard Extensions , by Dave Roth. (January)

OpenSources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution is published by O'Reilly. (January)

Programming Web Graphics with Perl & Gnu Software, a.k.a. the Titi book, by Shawn Wallace published by O'Reilly. (February)

O'Reilly announces Brian Behlendorf of the Apache Project is joining the ORA team to further his work on Apache as well as other OpenSource projects.

MacPerl Module Porters open their own site for module development and distribution. (2 February)

Feed Magazine interviews Larry as part of its OSS series where Larry discusses some of his views onand why Perl came about. (9 February)

FEED: Let's say I am an alien anthropologist, studying computer languages, and I came across Perl. What's going to grab me?

Wall: One of the things that's going to grab you as an anthropologist is the fact that there really is an anthropological story here. Most other computer languages are pretty sterile. They're about technology. The difference with Perl is that I decided to create the culture at the same time as I was creating the language. My background is in both computers and linguistics... I put more ideas from linguistics into Perl than is typical in computer science.

Red Herring Magazine features an article on freeware discussing the emerging OpenSource business model. Both O'Reilly and ActiveState were quoted, with Tim O'Reilly stating: (February)

The greatest opportunity for an open-source software business model may come from even less direct plays -- companies that specialize in essential accessories like manuals stand to gain substantial profits from the demand for open-source software materials. O'Reilly amp; Associates, the leading publisher of technical resource books, has sold more than $94 million in open-source-related materials since it was founded, most of that since 1997.

"Computer Programming. Hackers Rule" or so The Economist story asserts as they cover the emerging Opensource revolution. (20 February)

Infoworld awards Tim O'Reilly their 1998 Industry Achievement Award for his OpenSource evangelism. (22 February)

The Perl power tools project is launched by Tom Christiansen that "attempts to recreate the basic shell command set in a portable and robust way for three great reasons: Laziness, Impatience, and Hubris." (25 February)

Tom Christiansen released pmtools, a suite of small programs to help manage modules. (February)

Writing Apache Modules with Perl and C, a.k.a the Hawk book, by Lincoln Stein and Doug MacEachern published by O'Reilly. (March)

Graham Barr releases Perl 5.005_03 which includes a number of bugfixes,, and perlreftut, perlopentut, and perlthrtut. (March)

Larry delivers the "Perl, the first postmodern computer language" talk at Linux World. (3 March)

Perl Golf is coined by Greg Bacon.

The Board of Directors of The Perl Institute unanimously vote to dissolve The Perl Institute. Jon Orwant also talks about TPI, why it failed and what the Perl community needs to fill the gap. (3 March)

The Second Open Source and Community Licensing Summit is hosted by O'Reilly and brings together all of the leaders of OSS companies to discuss the state of the movement. (5 March)

Al Gore reveals that "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the internet." (11 March)

Sun Microsystems decides to sponsor the Perl Mongers for $250,000 whereupon they will now be known as the Java Mongers. (1 April)

USA Today features an article about the O'Reilly animal menagerie. (4 April)

Neal Stephenson writes an essay titled "In the Beginning was the Command Line". An exerpt: (April)

In the world of open source software, bug reports are useful information. Making them public is a service to other users, and improves the OS. Making them public systematically is so important that highly intelligent people voluntarily put time and money into running bug databases. In the commercial OS world, however, reporting a bug is a privilege that you have to pay lots of money for. But if you pay for it, it follows that the bug report must be kept confidential--otherwise anyone could get the benefit of your ninety-five bucks! And yet nothing prevents NT users from setting up their own public bug database.

This is, in other words, another feature of the OS market that simply makes no sense unless you view it in the context of culture. What Microsoft is selling through Pay Per Incident isn't technical support so much as the continued illusion that its customers are engaging in some kind of rational business transaction. It is a sort of routine maintenance fee for the upkeep of the fantasy. If people really wanted a solid OS they would use Linux, and if they really wanted tech support they would find a way to get it; Microsoft's customers want something else.

SourceXchange is created by Brian Behlendorf and O'Reilly & Associates to provide services and infrastructure for the development of OpenSource software to benefit developers and users alike. (April)

Baiju Thakkar unveils the first issue of Perlmonth Magazine. Perlmonth is a free, web-based publication featuring articles by experienced Perl people. (May)

The Perl Mongers now boast ~180 groups all over the World. Perl Mongers generally meet once a month over beer to talk about Perl and almost any other random topic. Monger is described in the English dictionary as "a dealer in a specific commodity". However, in Portuguese it has a different meaning. Brent Michalski of learned when he went to a conference in Lisbon that International diplomacy takes on new meaning: (May)

 Well, the online dictionaries don't cover the whole richness of
the Portuguese language.

Technically speaking, a retarded in Portuguese is called a "atrasado
mental" which means mental retard (pretty close to english).

There is another term for people who have the chromossome disorder
called the Down Syndrome (who show some mental retardness too), the
term is "Mongoloide".

This got abused (as always in most languages) and spawned the pretty
common way to insult someone which is to call him a "Monga", a slang term.

The way "Monga" reads in Portuguese is very very close to "monger" in
English, much closer than monk.

And well, I know the first looks I get when I tell someone I'm a Perl
Monger :-))  But after the first looks and when people start digging
Perl they tend to change their first idea ;-)

[thanks to Gabriel of for the Portuguese lesson :)]

Barebones Software, makers of BBEdit for the Macintosh, adds MacPerl integration in version 5.1. (May)

Linux Journal interviews Larry about Perl and OpenSource. Larry is pictured on the cover sitting next to a big shiny pearl. (May)

The Perl Journal Strikes Deal With EarthWeb who will take control of The Perl Journal online, providing a new interface and subscriber-only access to articles online. (5 May)

perltootc, Tom Christiansens' tutorial on class data is released. (May)

O'Reilly makes the book "Open Sources: Voices From the Revolution" freely available on the web.

Joseph Hall announces the perl-visioneers mailing list for discussing the future of Perl to much grumbling from the P5P crowd. (26 May)

Mark-Jason Dominus proves that it really is easier to write a syntactically correct Perl program than various other languages. (31 May)

Slashdot announces that Larry and Weird Al Yankovic were separated at birth.

And besides, if Perl really takes off in the Windows space, I think the rest of us would just as soon have a double-agent within ActiveState. :-) -- Larry Wall in

Neil Stephenson publishes the Cryptonomicon which features a few Perl bits. There is also a module on CPAN for the Solitaire encryption system from the book.(June)

ActiveState announces a three year agreement with Microsoft to help development of Perl on the Windows Platform. (1 June)

Vicki Brown starts the "Fun With Perl" mailing list. (June)

The Register publishes an article that Microsoft is worried that Linux is outselling Windows98. (4 June)

The NPR show "Talk of the Nation" interviews Tim O'Reilly, Steven Levy and Scott Bradner on "OpenSource Software and the Future of the PC". (11 June)

OSI abandons its efforts to trademark 'Open Source' and decides to try and get 'OSI Certified' trademarked instead. This is almost as controversial as the Linux trademark dispute in 1996 when it was discovered William R. Della Croce, Jr. held the trademark to Linux and whom eventually signed the trademark over to Linus Torvalds. (17 June)

YAPC or "Yet Another Perl Conference" hosted by Kevin Lenzo and Carnegie-Mellon University. A inexpensive, grass-roots gathering of Perl people and fun. Larry Wall gives the keynote and many other luminaries of Perl attend. The conference is a smashing success and will be hosted again next year at CMU. Brent Michalski covered the conference for Though there was a fund shortage, there was a collection at the closing talks to make up the difference. Among the fun things were: (24-25 June)

Tom channels Sammy Davis, Jr. and submits The Perlfaq Man jingle. o/~ Who can take a rainbow...o/~ (25 June)

CPAST is announced as a repository for the Perl Timeline and other resources of historical interest for the community. (5 July)

Ladnar is unveiled to the unsuspecting. :) (5 July)

Chris Nandor is reported as Perl's very first All-Star Hacker. (7 July)

Hacker fouls off All-Star site

By Margaret Kane 07/08/99 02:09:00 PM

A Red Sox fan cast more than 25,000 votes at baseball's All-Star site to 
push Boston shortstop ahead of Yankee rival.

One of the biggest rivalries in baseball just got digital.

A 25-year-old Boston Red Sox fan cast around 25,000 votes for shortstop 
Nomar Garciaparra on Major League Baseball's All-Star game voting site.

The site allowed users to log on to vote for players. Starters for the 
game are chosen by the fans, with ballots distributed at games and 
through promotions. The League also allowed fans to go online and vote, 
but was supposed to restrict the number of times they could cast a ballot 
to 22, equal to the number of times ballots were distributed at each 
Major League ballpark.

But when Sox fan Chris Nandor heard that Garciaparra was trailing New 
York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter by around 20,000 votes, he decided to 
bump that limit up a bit, the Boston Globe reported.

He cast 25,259 votes for Garciaparra and other Red Sox players on the 
last day of online voting, said officials for SportsLine USA Inc. 
(Nasdaq:SPLN), which developed the League's All-Star site. The hacker 
used a Perl script to repeatedly submit the entries to the Web site.

Object Oriented Perl by Damian Conway is published by Manning (July)

Mastering Algorithms with Perl, a.k.a. the Wolf or MAWP, is published by O'Reilly. (August)

TPC3, the Third Annual Perl Conference is held in Monterey, California as part of a large OpenSource Convention sponsored by O'Reilly which includes the Sendmail, Apache, Linux, Python, Tcl/Tk and OpenSource communities.

Xanadu is implemented in Perl.

Camel discovered in integrated circuit. (August)

Mailing list for librarians using Perl is announced. (August)

O'Reilly releases the Perl CD Bookshelf. (August)

The Perl Packrats mailing list is revived. (September)

Valueclick begins hosting and, taking over from the defunct TPI. (September)

Camp Camel hosted by Brent Michalski where a few bad Perl books and some CDs were taken as casualties. (September)

Issue #15 of The Perl Journal comes to the on-line world. (September)

Chip Salzenberg discusses Topaz:Perl for the 22nd Century. (September)

Linux Magazine publishes Uncultured Perl. (October)

Linuxplanet publishes an interview with Tim O'Reilly. (October)

iPlanet, the web server formerly known as Netscape Enterprise Server is bundled with the Velocigen application engine. (October)

Manning Publications releases Elements of Programming with Perl, an introductory Perl book by Andrew L. Johnson. (October)

Mark-Jason Dominus assumes the position of Managing Editor for O'Reilly's content and begins publishing P5P - The Week in Review, a digest of the Perl5-Porters mailing list. (October)

A mailing list for Perl trainers is organised by Kirrily "Skud" Robert. (October)

Chris Nandor introduces his Perl Portal and later writes an article about RSS and You. (November)

A contest to guess the number of localtime-related bug reports reported in the year 2000. (November)

An interview with Simon Cozens about Teaching Perl to First-time Programmers. (November)

The Seven Deadly Sins are revisited. (November)

SAMS publishes Teach Yourself Perl in 24 Hours by Clinton Pierce. (December)



a.k.a. 19100 or The Year in Schwern's Pants

It should be illegal to yell "Y2K" in a crowded economy. :-) -- Larry Wall in <>

VA Linux announces Sourceforge for hosting OpenSource projects including Topaz. (January)

ActiveState joins the Python Consortium. (January)

Netizen publishes their Unix and Perl courses under the Open Pulications License. (January)

PerlFAQPrime and its "faqtoids" are released by Joseph Hall, et. al. (January)

The Perl Monks community site is launched. No Latin required. Pax Vobiscum. (February)

Programming the Perl DBI, a.k.a. the cheetah book, by Tim Bunce and Alligator Descartes is published. (February)

Jon Orwant, editor of The Perl Journal and co-author of Mastering Algorithms with Perl, is hired as CTO of O'Reilly. (February)

Jon Udell publishes Perl vs. Python, a thought provoking discussion for both languages. (February)

The Korn Shell (ksh) source code is released. (1 March)

Chip Salzenberg starts a new mailing list, "Perl-Friends", after a whirlwind of discontent on P5P. (March)

[...] if we decide this version of Perl is different enough to warrant a new major version (which I'm beginning to think (and even mentioned in a previous message (but nobody sprang for the bait))). -- Larry Wall in <>

After nearly 2 years in the making Perl 5.6.0 is released as is ActivePerl 5.6 for Windows, Solaris and Linux. (March)

Lisa Nyman shows that the U.S. Census Bureau is using Perl to help collect Census Data via the web. (March)

A mailing list for discussing Perl Certification is launched by Kirrily Robert. (March)

Microsoft reports that it will include ActivePerl 5.6 in the next release of MS Window Services for Unix 2.0. (April)

Sendmail and ActiveState form a partnership to embed Perl into the Sendmail API. (April)

The Perl Haiku Contest is announced. (April)

ActivePerl with ASP and ADO is publised by Wiley. (April)

The Oxford English Dictionary investigates the origin of the word "Perl" while considering it for an entry in the next edition. Perl will be included and the entry will resemble the entry below.

Perl Brit.
Perl, perl, irreg. PERL
perl n. ,
arbitrarily chosen for its positive connotations, with omission of
-a- to differentiate it from an existing programming language called
Pearl. Coined by Larry Wall in the summer of 1987; the program was
publicly released on 18 December of that year. Acronymic expansions of
the name (such as Practical Extraction and Report Language and
Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister), though found in the earliest
documention for the language, were formed after the name had been
chosen. Coinage details confirmed by personal communication from L.
Wall, May 2000. A high-level interpreted programming language widely 
used for a variety of tasks and especially for applications running 
on the World Wide Web. The form Perl is preferred for the language 
itself; perl is used for the interpreter for the Perl language.
1988 J. Vromans Perl Reference Card.

WebTechniques touts perlscript as an emerging tool for ASP. (May)

ActiveState announces their plan to produce Visual Perl and Python. (May)

ActiveState announces Komodo, a Mozilla-based IDE. (May)

Betas of Python and Perl for the Intel Itanium Processor are announced by ActiveState. (May)

Chris Nandor, looking for a new challenge, creates Use Perl; a Slashcode-esque community news site for Perl. (May)

The handy Perl 5 Pocket Reference, 3rd Edition by Johan Vromans is released and includes material for 5.6.0. (May)

The Geek Handbook by Mikki Halpin is published by Pocket Books and mentions Perl. (May)

Sometimes it is necessary to "go cowboy" on your geek and bring things to a standoff. When your geek blandly tells you that something isn't possible, thank him for his time. Suggest that he is clearly very busy, and that you will attempt to solve the problem yourself. Tell your geek you will need root access for this, and demand all passwords necessary. Ask where the Camel Book is. Your geek will immediately and grumblingly do what you need him to do. Act impressed and grateful. pp. 51

Lincoln Stein is interviewed on NPR's Morning Edition. (30 May)

The Perl Whirl 2000, an Alaskan cruise, Perl geeks and a Perl conference for 7 days on big boat. Remember the 3 hour tour? (29 May - 5 June)

Yet Another Society hosts Yet Another Perl Conference yet again. (June)

Q: How many programmers does it take to change a Sarathy? A: None needed, Sarathys never burn out. -- Larry Wall in <>

Jarkko Hietaniemi is named pumpkin for the 5.8.0 release of Perl, thus giving Sarathy a much needed rest. Later it would be apparent that, in light of Perl6, he would also be the last. (July)

Wrox Press, the people who feature pictures of authors on their front covers, spines, back covers and any other free white space, release Beginning Perl by Simon Cozens. (June)

(It may be interesting to note here that Addison-Wesley recently released their DevelopMentor series which features pictures of headless non-techies on the covers as a direct retort to Wrox Press.)

John Tukey, the man who coined the term "software", dies. (July)

Perl is touted as a hot skill by Computer Weekly, a UK IT periodical. (July)

CGI Programming with Perl, 2nd Edition, a.k.a. the mouse book, by Scott Guelich, Shishir Gundavaram, and Gunther Birznieks is published by ORA. (July)

Down *every* path lies madness, if you're talking about documentation. -- Larry Wall in <>

The long awaited Programming Perl, 3rd Edition, a.k.a. the Camel3, by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen & Jon Orwant is released. It is a marvelous update to the Blue Camel. (July)

Kevin Lenzo decides to incorporate Yet Another Society to keep the YAPC organisation running. (July)

Perl for System Administration, a.k.a the walking dead sea otter book, by David N. Blank-Edelman is published. (July)

TPC4, not to be confused with Perl4, is held again in Monterey, CA during the O'Reilly OpenSource Convention. In this year's conference Dr. Damian Conway already has a track of his own, and the TPC5 is expected to be renamed TCC1 as Dr Conway completes his coup d'état. (July)

David Bryant discovers Captain'll just have to see it for yourself. (August)

The London Perl Mongers adopt a camel at the London Zoo. (August)

Joe Johnston interviews Damain Conway for
Warning: You may be disturbed by the notion of a 'Perl Hunks Calendar'. (August)

ZDTV interviews Larry about Perl6. (September)

Cross-Platform Perl, 2nd Edition by Eric Foster-Johnson is published by IDG Books. (September)

McGraw-Hill publishes Debugging Perl by Martin Brown. (September)

Yet Another Society hosts it's first YAPC::Europe conference in London, England at the Institute for Contemporary Arts. The venue was very cozy, the talks were great and many of the people who couldn't attend the conferences in the US were able to come and enjoy meeting and greeting those they had previously only known via the ethernet. (September)

IndigoPerl5.6 nee DynamicPerl, produced by the same people who do Perl2EXE, is released. It has a package manager that plays well with CPAN modules, ActiveState's PPM and it's own module interface, and has an apache webserver for developing CGI and other web applications. (August)

Segfault reveals the shocking truth that Al Gore's mother invented Perl. (September)

As an example of how Perl has helped the Internet grow, Gore noted, "Even monkeys have been trained to develop web site data processing routines. You might visit for their work. I've even decided to invest in iMonkey, a new portal site for our world's endangered species."

Carlos Ramirez unveils, a snazzy perl documentation web site. (September)

The Perl Journal introduces the First Annual Readable Perl Contest. (September)

Perl MS Office Clone called "gift from god".(September)

Lisa Nyman is featured in the Washington Post. Lisa was instrumental in the Census Bureau using Perl for their on-line census and is a member. (October)

Hungry Minds, nee IDG Books, publish the Perl for Dummies, 3rd Edition. MJD has a review of the 2nd Edition that may be worth comparing to the 3rd Edition. (October)

ActiveState announces PerlMX, A Perl plug-in for Sendmail. (October)

Dr. Dobb's Journal unveil a new Perl section edited by Brent Michalski. (October)

Obviously I was either onto something, or on something. -- Larry Wall on the creation of Perl

At the 4th Annual Linux Showcase in Atlanta, Larry Wall gave Camel Lot #6 discussing Perl past, present and future. A transcription is available, a list of Perl6 points made and a Dr. Dobb's TechNetCast. (October)

YAS raises $75,000USD in two weeks to fund Damian Conway for a year to work on Perl6 and keep a diary of his adventures. (October)

MJD publishes a critique of the Perl6 RFC process and Jarkko Hietaniemi responds with a somewhat more optimistic rebuttal. (October)

Sybex publishes Perl! I Didnt Know You Could Do That... by Martin Brown and wins the award for most disturbing Perl book cover. (November)

New Riders releases Win32 Perl Scripting: The Administrator's Handbook by Dave Roth. (November)

Matt Sergeant announces a new mod_perl portal for news and information in the mod_perl world. (November)

Web Techniques awards ActivePerl5.6 the 'Readers Choice' award in the programming category of their annual Web Tools Awards. (November)

The judges felt ActivePerl managed to convince Perl developers to begin building sites with Active Server Pages. Readers were most impressed with the product's ability to develop within an ASP environment and still have access to what made Perl popular in the first place: pattern matching and regular expressions, the Perl built-in functions, and a vast library of free or low-cost Perl modules to use in your code.

Mark Fowler has a bit of fun with his Perl Module Advent Calendar. (1 December)

Perl: A Beginner's Guide by R. Allen Wyke and Donald B. Thomas is published by Osborne. (15 December)

Brad Kuhn resurrects the perljvm project. (18 December)

The Perl Mailinglist Database is made available to the perusing public. (24 December)

Chris "Pudge" Nandor takes the lead of MacPerl development as Matthias Neeracher steps down to pursue other projects. (27 December)

O'Reilly releases a bound copy of The mod_perl Pocket Guide by Andrew Ford. (December)


Starting the year off with a bang, Earthweb, the company that purchased The Perl Journal sells off a large portion of its properties. Jon Orwant details the impending doom and demise of the publication that brought us all so much joy. (2 January)

Yet Another Society is granted its 501(c)(3) non-profit status paving the way for charitable contributions and more projects and funding. (4 January)

Damian Conway, our indentured servant for Perl6, unveils The Conway Channel for keeping up with him (or trying to). (4 January)

Addison-Wesley publishes Network Programming with Perl by Lincoln Stein. (9 January)

Larry Wall is interviewed by Linux Weekly News about Perl in general and about Perl6. (17 January)

Manning releases Data Munging with Perl by Dave Cross. (January)

Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution by Glyn Moody is published by Perseus Press. The book is one of the best chronicles of the history of Linux and includes a small section on Perl including the following quote from an interview with Larry Wall: (23 January)

"Pretty soon after [Perl] was released there were requests for a Perl newsgroup," he recalls, "and I put that off. I didn't want a Perl newsgroup because I didn't want to be ghettoized. The dynamic of how Usenet worked, at least back then, was if you posted something off-topic for the newsgroup then people would say, 'Well, take it to this other newsgroup," he explains. I didn't want people to be able to say that about Perl, so basically we infested the shell programming newsgroup, and whenever anyone would say, 'How can I do such and so?' we would very politely say, 'Well, here's how you might do it in a shell, but it's easier in Perl, you do it this way,'"[...]

Wall eventually created a newsgroup for Perl; this helped foster a sense of community and provided a forum for feedback. But alongside bug reports and bug fixes, one type of feedback was particularly important. "There's one message I send out again and again," Wall says. "Somebody will send me some sort of thank you or whatever, and I'll respond, 'Thanks, I run on encouragement like that.'"

Perl is mentioned in the DeCSS amici curiae filed by Brian Kernighan, Marvin Minsky, Ron Rivest, Richard Stallman, et. al. to accompany the appeal filed by the EFF and 2600. (24 January)

The Guardian prints an article about Open Source that also mentions Perl rather favourably. (25 January)

ActiveState announces the new Programmers' Choice Awards for Perl and Python. The recipients were nominated by and voted for by the programmers in the community. (15 February )

Expanding its scripting language offerings, ActiveState announces that they will be producing and supporting Tcl in the wake of the demise of Scriptics and will be hosting the Tcl community website. (26 February)

Wrox Press publishes Professional Perl Programming by Peter Wainwright, et. al. (27 February)

The Deutscher Perl-Workshop 3.0 | German Perl Workshop 3.0 is hosted by Campus Sankt Augustin (bei Bonn) | Polytechnic/University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Sankt Augustin Campus (near Bonn), Germany. In previous years, this conference/workshop even had a camel [bactrian not dromedary] attend the event. (28 February-2 March)

Perl Debugged by Peter Scott and Ed Wright is released by Addison-Wesley. (March)

Using only seven lines of Perl code, Keith Winstein and Marc Horowitz create the shortest-yet method for descrambling DVD copy protection (DeCSS). (7 March)

ActiveState assembles the Dream Team for its technical advisory board: Larry Wall, Brendan Eich, Guido van Rossum, Rasmus Lerdorf, and Jon Udell. (27 March)

Larry Wall and Guido van Rossum reveal their plans for joint Perl and Python development to be called Parrot. (1 April)

Apocalypse 1: The Ugly, The Bad, and the Good is published giving many people hope that Perl6 will be a reality and that Larry is really alive after months of silence. (2 April)

ActiveState unveils its ASPN. (6 April)

The SourceXchange closes its doors. (6 April)

Sarathy releases Perl-5.6.1. (8 April)

Jarkko emits a large tarball he calls Perl-5.7.1 one day after the release of 5.6.1. (9 April)

After several months of legal limbo, Jon Orwant announces that The Perl Journal is back in his hands, that issue #20 is going to press and that he is hunting for a publisher to continue producing the publication we all sit by the mailbox waiting for. (11 April)

If you don't know Perl, you don't know Dick. First it was a bumper sticker, now it's an interview article on :) (17 April)

Open Cola 1.0 is the first open source consumer product and sports the following Perl code on the can: (24 April)

open CAN, "excitedly";
join ($can, $mouth);
while ($colaRemaining > 0)
{if ($reallyThirsty) {$chug;} else {$sip};}

Apocalypse 2 discussing the bits and pieces of Perl along with the apocalypso for the newly Drs. Orwant. (3 May)

YAPC::America::North is hosted by Montréal at McGill University. (13-15 June)

The O'Reilly Perl Conference 5 is held in San Diego, CA. (23-27 July)


Perl Whirl '02 sets sail to a warmer climate. It's time to start working on the boss to approve the expense and learning how to spell and say Caribbean. Gilligan's Island with Perl.(12 January)

Other URLs of Interest

This list and all the urls in the timeline can also be found at the Perl Bookmark Database.

Developer Pages

Win32 Perl


Larry's Speeches and Interviews

Other Timelines, Histories and Archives


A Few OpenSource Companies

Perl Conferences

General and Miscellaneous

Perl Training and Support

Other Useful Perl Pages

Sources and Special Thanks

The Timeline of Perl and its Culture ©1999-2001 Elaine Ashton. Permission is granted for use of this document in whole or in part for non-commercial purposes. For commercial uses, please contact the author first. Links to this document are welcome after e-mailing the author with the document URL where the link will appear.