Great results for five Perl projects in Google Summer of Code 2008

By Eric Wilhelm, Perl coordinator for Google Summer of Code 2008

Google’s Summer of Code 2008 is wrapping up now and I’m very pleased with how well The Perl Foundation’s students and mentors have done. The five projects which survived the halfway point have all finished with great results.

Many thanks to all of the mentors and students as well as everyone in the community who helped or supported the process. Also, thanks to Google for putting on the program and to Richard Dice and Jim Brandt at TPF.

But the end is only the beginning. We should really get started on next year now. Perl needs to do a better job of attracting students, but I’ll have to address these issues in another post.

Most of the students did a great job of blogging their progress, which I think is an important part of Summer of Code for the rest of the community. If you have been following along with any of the student projects, please drop me a note or leave a comment. I would love to hear more opinions from outside of the active SoC participants. Also, please thank the mentors and students for their work. Of course, they “know” you appreciate their effort — but it really means something if you actually send them an e-mail or say thanks on irc.

For those just joining us, here is a run-down of the SoC projects and some links.

Flesh out the Perl 6 Test Suite
student: Adrian Kreher
mentor: Moritz Lenz
Blog | Code

student: Samuel Tyler
Herbert Breunung
Jos Boumans
Blog | Code | CPAN distribution

Native Call Interface Signatures and Stubs Generation for Parrot
student: Kevin Tew
mentor: Jerry Gay
Mail | Code | (older branch)

Incremental Tricolor Garbage Collector
student: Andrew Whitworth
mentor: chromatic
Blog | Code

student: Thierry Moisan
mentor: Jonathan Leto
Blog | Code | CPAN distribution

Eric Wilhelm is a software and systems consultant, leader of the
Portland Perl Mongers, and author of many CPAN modules.

Richard Dice trumpets Perl to the press

Go, Richard, go!

Richard Dice, president of the Perl Foundation, is part of an article on the “state of scripting languages” in CIO magazine.

Of all the scripting languages, Perl offers the biggest installed base of applications, of code, of integrated systems, of skilled programmers. It has the lowest defect rate of any open-source software product. It is ported to essentially every hardware architecture and operating systems, from embedded control systems to mainframes. It is optimized for speed, for memory footprint, for programmer productivity. It has readily-accessible libraries for all types of programming tasks: Web application development, systems and network integration and management, end-user application development, middleware programming, REST and service-oriented architecture programming. Perl is ideal for the organization that takes charge of its own IT future.

Perl 6 apps today: November is a wiki written in Perl 6

Adapted from Patrick Michaud

Carl Mäsak and Johan Viklund have recently
released November, a wiki
engine written in Perl 6 for Rakudo Perl, the Perl 6 implementation written for the Parrot virtual machine..

Details are available at “Announcing November, a wiki in Perl 6“, with an important followup post at “November meets the Web“.

Great work, and I really enjoyed the lightning talk!

Red Hat’s patch slows down overloading in Perl

Vipul Ved Prakash, long-time CPAN author and creator of Vipul’s Razor, has reported a big slowdown in Red Hat’s Perl package.

Some investigation revealed that there’s a long standing bug in Redhat Perl that causes *severe* performance degradation on code that uses the bless/overload combo. The thread on this is here:

Vipul’s analysis is a beautiful rundown of how these kinds of things should be reported, and the techie details should help you decide whether you want to rebuild Perl from source, or wait for updated packages for RHEL and Fedora.

Pete Krawczyk sent me a few comments:

RedHat acknowledges that their patching of Perl caused slowness; if you’re doing serious work with default Perl on RedHat, you might want to consider building your own until a proper patch comes along. The problem currently affects Fedora 9, RedHat 5 and spin-offs like CentOS 5. The main symptom is exponential slowdown during operations involving overloaded operators; many common modules (such as JSON and URI) are also affected.

Some other links:

And here’s my code to illustrate the slowdown, based on the original code in Vipul’s article:

use Time::HiRes;
use overload q( sub {};
my %h;
print "Pass#tPass timetTotal timen";
my $bigstart = Time::HiRes::time();
for my $i ( 1..50 ) {
my $start = Time::HiRes::time();
for my $j ( 1..1000 ) {
$h{$i*1000 + $j} = bless [ ] => 'main';
my $now = Time::HiRes::time();
printf( "#%2dt%ft%fn", $i, $now-$start, $now-$bigstart );

Big interview with Damian Conway

O’Reilly interviewed Damian Conway at OSCON. There’s surprisingly little craziness, but lots of good discussion of programming languages, programming curricula and of course, Perl 6. Oh, and a fair amount of mocking of American accents. Laugh it up, Mr. I-Live-On-A-Giant-Penal-Colony-Island!


The O’Reilly page has a transcription if you don’t want to devote 36 minutes of your life to it, but why wouldn’t you?

Dave Rolsky’s modules need some loving

Dave Rolsky writes:

I have a lot of modules on CPAN. There are way too many for me to give them all the attention they deserve, so often patches get dropped and bugs ignored.

In particular, there are a few that could use the attention of someone interested in helping maintain them. Log::Dispatch is used by a lot of people, and could definitely use some attention. There are a number of open bugs in RT, and I have more patches & bugs in my email inbox.

Another distro that could use some love is my ORM Alzabo. I don’t think it has a lot of users, but if you are a user of it and want to see it better maintained, let me know.

If there is some other distro of mine that you’d like to help maintain, especially one with open bugs, please let me know.

Write to and tell me what you’d like to help with. If I don’t know you, I’ll probably ask you to start by submitting a patch. All of my code is in my svn repo, so getting the latest version is easy (

Dave Rolsky has written a ton of modules. He’s also vegan, tall and super cool.

BarCamp Milwaukee 3 coming October 4th-5th

Pete Prodoehl has just announce the third BarCamp Milwaukee, October 4th and 5th, 2008. Pete says

It’s a gathering of tech enthusiasts from the Wisconsin area, Milwaukee, Madison, Appleton, even Chicago. There will be sessions on web-related stuff, non-profits, co-working, and plenty of other topics. Plus, you get a free t-shirt, and we feed you! But you must participate, as there are no spectators at BarCamp. There’s a good mix of presentations, discussions, working sessions and late night hacking, as well as media making, photos and video. In prior years we’ve had remote-control go-karts, videoblogging, gadgets, RSS and elevator hacking.

There’s a video from last year’s BarCamp. I hope to see you all there.