December, 2005 Archives

December 22, 2005

December 22, 2005 - Round Table Sessions

As I mentioned previously, I recently attended the Gartner Open Source Summit. While there I participated in a new type of session Gartner has started moderating called a round table session, and I think it's a really cool idea.

When you attend a Gartner conference, you are eligible to sign up for one-on-one sessions with the Gartner analysts. This is a nice perk, since you usually have to pay for their time. However, the analysts found that often attendees only had one or two topics, and they would then just sit and stare at each other. Also, they would field the same topic from many different attendees. So they now host round table sessions where a maximum of 10 attendees sit down with two or three analysts and discuss a set of topics.

This type of session facilitates more discussion for the same reason a happy hour with 10 people is a whole lot louder than a happy hour with two. A few topics are pre-selected by sending out feelers before the conference, so that's how you decide which ones to attend. Once there, you have a general idea what you want to get out of it, but the conversation brings out many more ideas from all of the participants.

That's how Gartner does it. How should we do it (YAPC or OSCON)? Here's my sketch:

At the end of a day, the last session is a 1 hour block across the whole schedule. Each speaker who gets a talk accepted agrees to do a session on a topic related to their presentation. In some cases, you could have two speakers with similar topics work together. Attendees then sign up for the session with a strict limit of 10 attendees for the session. They bring their issues/questions/problems/ideas, etc. and discuss.

If you aren't interested or don't get a slot, this could also be a great time for BOFs. At OSCON, you could just go to the vendor floor.

Basically, this is a planned hallway session where you are guaranteed an "expert." I think it would prompt great dialogue. Plus, this formalizes those "after the session" conversations that start, but get rushed because the next session is starting.

A few details: you need one of the speakers to act as a moderator to control the session, move it along, keep it on track, etc. You also need a designated note-taker to make sure there are some notes for the meeting. Maybe track the final notes in the conference wiki?

Some questions I got when I presented it to our conferences group:

Q: Isn't this just a BOF?

A: Sort of, but with a few key differences. One, you're guaranteed an "expert" speaker. With a BOF, you don't know who will show up. There is more of an agenda, and less "what do you guys want to talk about?" The topics can be solicited ahead of time to make sure the sessions are of interest to people. Also, beginners will attend based on the list of topics where they may not attend a Birds of a Feather. If you have a beginning interest in a topic, you wouldn't necessarily show up at a BOF meeting about it.

Q: Why limit the number of people?

A: It keeps the group manageable. You want everyone to be able to get in a word or two and speak to the expert. You want enough people to facilitate discussion, but not so many that you can't get a word in edgewise.

Q: At YAPC there is enough free time to just meet the speakers on your own. Why have a session?

A: We've consistently seen that over 50% of the attendees at YAPCs are there for their first time. People at a conference for the first time are often intimidated and won't necessarily approach a speaker in the hall, especially if there is already a crowd. A designated session with pre-selected topics provides a much less intimidating forum to allow someone to ask some questions or participate in a discussion.

What are your thoughts? Would you attend such a session? Would it help you walk away with something more from the conference? Is it one more selling point for attending?

nice idea. but i wondering how many YAPC speakers are capable of moderate a panel like this?

but i would go for YAPC with or without it. ;-)

contributed by Qiang on December 23, 2005 1:26 AM

Good point. Maybe the conference organizers need to provide a designated facilitator. That person would probably be a volunteer, which means we'd probably need some sort of written guide for them. More things to document...

contributed by Jim Brandt on December 23, 2005 1:31 PM

A similar sort of idea is used at the World Science Fiction convention (WorldCon) - an one hour round table limited to about 10 people get to talk with a SF personage. I got to spend an hour with Larry Niven and with Jim Gardner (not so famous, but he went to U of Waterloo and works for the same company as a friend of mine, so I have a connection with him), my wife had an hour with Harry Harrison.

Such an event is a mixture of gushing fan praise, with serious discussion (but that depends upon the particular individuals that sigh up). Panel discussions are also common at WorldCon, but those are open attendance sessions. (When you have a 4-day 20-track conference, you need a lot of different session to fill in the time slots.) The open attendance for these was critical. For one example among many I saw, during one panel discussion the talk went incidentally into rocket characteristics and an audience member who had been on the Saturn design team was able to comment authoritatively.

contributed by jmm on January 13, 2006 3:59 PM

December 18, 2005

December 18, 2005 - Ponie in transition

Ponie is the project name for Perl 5.12, a bridge between Perl 5 and Perl 6. Ponie will bring Perl 5 to Parrot, the virtual machine at the heart of Perl 6. A project of this size and complexity takes plenty of talent, and plenty of support, to complete. The first phase of the project has come to an end, and a new one is beginning.

In July of 2003, as Ponie was announced, Fotango generously committed two years to the Ponie project. Fotango has delivered that and more, donating the time and considerable talent of Artur Bergman and, more recently, Nicholas Clark, to the effort. Because of their work, Ponie has a solid foundation as the project moves forward. The Perl Foundation is grateful for their support.

But Ponie is a huge, complex project, and there's a lot left to do. With Fotango wrapping up its commitment, and Nick already extremely busy serving as pumpking for Perl 5.8, there's simply not enough time for him to devote to Ponie. That means we need new people to step forward and contribute to the project.

Jesse Vincent, project manager for Perl 6, and Nick have put out a call for a new pumpking. The Ponie pumpking needs to manage the route we take to get the Ponie source code from where it is now to its eventual goal: a Perl 5 runtime fully integrated with the Parrot virtual machine. For details about their search for the leader for the next phase of Ponie development, see their full Call For Pumpking.

Oops. There's a small error in there which I failed to spot in the draft, so blame me. Ponie isn't (necessarly) going to be 5.12, at least not the one and only 5.12 release. The hope was that it would be so good that there wouldn't need to be a 5.12 "classic" release (ie a 5.12 with the current Perl 5 VM), but I believe that all the Perl 5 Porters were assuming that in reality a classic 5.12 would still happen.

contributed by Nicholas Clark on July 4, 2006 6:28 PM

December 15, 2005

December 15, 2005 - Patches fix sprintf buffer overflow

The Perl community has released a fix to the sprintf function that was recently discovered to have a buffer overflow in very specific cases. All Perl users should consider updating immediately.

Dyad Security recently released a security advisory explaining how in certain cases, a carefully crafted format string passed to sprintf can cause a buffer overflow. This buffer overflow can then be used by an attacker to execute code on the machine. This was discovered in the context of a design problem with the Webmin administration package that allowed a malicious user to pass unchecked data into sprintf. A related fix for Sys::Syslog has already been released.

The Perl 5 Porters team have solved this sprintf overflow problem, and have released a set of patches, specific to four different versions of Perl.

  • For Perl 5.8.0

  • For Perl 5.8.1 and 5.8.2

  • For Perl 5.8.3

  • For Perl 5.8.4 through 5.8.7

While this specific patch fixes a buffer overflow, and thus prevents malicious code execution, programmers must still be careful. Patched or not, sprintf can still be used as the basis of a denial-of-service attack. It will create huge, memory-eating blocks of data if passed malicious format strings from an attacker. It's best if no unchecked data from outside sources get passed to sprintf, either directly or through a function such as syslog.

For further information, or information about The Perl Foundation, please email pr at

When can we expect a patch for windows 2003?

contributed by Nitin on April 21, 2006 2:40 PM

The patches are already available on the CPAN if you build from source. If you're using ActiveState's builds, that's something to direct to ActiveState.

contributed by Andy Lester on April 21, 2006 7:58 PM

December 15, 2005

December 15, 2005 - Volunteers needed: Mailing list support for the lists

If you have been wondering how you can help out, here is one way. :-)

A quick introduction:

If you don't know me, I am looking after many of the services with Robert Spier. When I started I helped look after the majordomo system it was running on then. Soon after I moved the lists and the websites we hosted to a computer under my desk at ValueClick where I did work back then. Later got moved to a better server and installed in the ValueClick colocation facility where it stayed for ~4 years.

A few years ago Ticketmaster helped us get our own rack at the wonderful IX2 facility and our own bandwidth from Internap. We know have a full rack of old servers. The mailing list server is one of the 1U Dell servers near the bottom of the rack (donated by ShopZilla). We actually have the rack next to this one too now, but it's almost empty. Robert and I are planning to go and spend a day there around christmas and install some new (old) stuff in the empty rack and do some re-organizing. We post updates on that sort of thing in the Perl NOC Log occasionally.

Anyway, now go back to read about helping us with the list-owner emails

December 13, 2005

December 13, 2005 - Updated Perl modules alleviate Webmin security flaw

The Perl community has updated the core module Sys::Syslog to help alleviate a security hole in the Webmin web administration package. All Webmin users should update immediately to the updated version of Sys::Syslog.

Dyad Security released a security advisory explaining how arbitrary, untrusted data can get passed by Webmin into Perl's Sys::Syslog module as a sprintf format string. This allows an attack to create arbitrarily large strings, overwhelming server resources and causing a denial of service.

However, Dyad Security's other security advisory, detailing an integer overflow bug in Perl's sprintf, meant that the Webmin bug could potentially mean arbitrary code execution with the permissions of the web server process, not just a denial of service.

The release of the updated Sys::Syslog handles the specific coding problem presented by Webmin, and perhaps other packages, of passing format strings to the syslog() function when the programer does not realize that syslog() acts as a proxy for sprintf. The new syslog() function now notes the special case of only passing one message parameter, and does what the programmer intended: treats the parameter as a single message string and does not call sprintf.

The other issue, with the sprintf integer overflow, is still being worked on. Fixes have been made, and patches for older versions of Perl are being created. The Perl 5 Porters are taking the time to make sure that the patches work for as many existing Perl 5 installations as possible. Watch for information on the patches as they become available.

Further queries may be sent to pr at

December 12, 2005

December 12, 2005 - Gartner Open Source Summit

Last week I attended the first annual Gartner Open Source Summit. Gartner is a major IT market researcher and consultant, specifically for large businesses. The fact that this conference exists speaks volumes for the penetration of open source in all sorts of IT shops. OSS hung under the radar for quite a while because it doesn't show up in any of the traditional data that analysts use to measure market segments. However, Gartner is now working hard to try to pull together numbers on how much OSS is used in IT so it can better issue analysis and predictions.

What are they saying?

Well, part of the message is pretty dramatic. For example, companies have about 18 months to get some sort of OSS strategy in place, if they don't have one, or they will start losing competitive advantage. By 2010 (or sooner) there will be major, mature open source offerings in nearly every component of the IT component stack. Right now, OSS offers mature software in three areas: OS (Linux, OpenSolaris, etc.), Web serving (LAMP, etc.), and Database (MySQL, etc.).

Basically, they are predicting that OSS will be the major player in most software markets in the next few years.

This may not surprise those of us in the OSS community. However, this does portend an upsurge in interest in Open Source. In fact, it's already happening at an alarming pace, alarming enough that I would even predict a sort of OSS bubble in the near future.

I am also hearing some things that I was only peripherally aware of.

One of the main reasons companies are hesitant to use OSS or will go so far as to forbid it altogether is fear. Companies fear claims and law suits from people who might pop up and claim ownership of a piece of open source code they've come to rely on.

So when a company pays for a software product rather than use an open source alternative, they are also buying a contract. That contract provides two main things: support and indemnification. The first one we often discuss in the OSS community, and in fact it's the community that provides support. But that second one, can be a major problem.

Large software companies certify that everything they are selling is theirs and that it works. More importantly, if it turns out something wasn't theirs, they will pay the legal bills if someone sues over intellectual property violation. This is what the execs are looking for.

According to Gartner, and I completely agree, the major upsurge in the next few years will be in companies providing services around OSS. Specifically, support for products, support for stacks of products (for example, testing and certifying a particular set of version numbers for a LAMP stack), and idemnification for legal issues around supported code. Some vendors are already in this space, but there will be many more coming.

The real question from the OSS side is, how will these vendors interface with the OSS community? If they want to provide true support and fix issues, I think they can't help but be major players in the community to get their changes incorporated back into distributions. To do this, these companies will need to hire people involved in the major communities they support. So coders in various OSS circles could become a hot commodity in the near future for support companies looking to differentiate themselves from the competition.

December 09, 2005

December 9, 2005 - The role of the president

If you've read through the first few posts here on the brand-new TPF blog (and you really should; they're good), you've learned at least a little about what we do and how we do it, and about some of the folks involved. It's a busy bunch of people, volunteering their not-so-copious free time to work on TPF tasks.

So what's the president do?

Well, I've spent these first few weeks helping to put people, processes, and tools in place for us to do a better job fulfilling TPF's mission:

The Perl Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of the Perl programming language through open discussion, collaboration, design, and code.

Of course, much of my "help" has consisted of me asking others to do the real heavy lifting. Many of the items in Richard's earlier summary of activities are a result of me poking and prodding, asking questions, and, well, generally being a pest. Thankfully, I'm surrounded by people that are really, really good at the heavy lifting, and at dealing with my pestering.

As we get more of the fundamentals in place, my role will shift to setting goals and direction, and toward executing specific projects in line with those goals. You can see evidence of this already; this blog, for example, is a step toward better and more frequent communication. The reporting that Richard mentioned in the previous post will provide greater transparency and accountability. You'll soon see more activity around outreach and promotion. Sure, these are just initial steps, but they're important, and there are more to come.

In preparation for the goals-and-direction side of things, I'm spending a stupefying amount of time on the phone, in IM, and in e-mail. (I thought I couldn't possibly deal with any more e-mail. Turns out I was wrong. Heh.) I'm talking with lots of people, both inside TPF and otherwise, to learn how TPF can use its resources to best serve the community.

As I said in a recent e-mail to the TPF Steering Committee list...

There are as many worthwhile things to do as we have time and energy to do them.

The interesting -- and difficult -- part is determining where to focus that time and energy, and how best to execute once we've made that determination. These are also areas where we most want the community's input and involvement, so don't hesitate to let us know what you're thinking.

i just came cross this post on perlmonks

i guess someone from TPF can give some attention to

'perlmonks fund' as perlmonks people never get the fund donated thr tpf

'require of donation receipt" by saberworks

btw, the comments box in the form is so small. are you guys trying to limit the comment size? ;-)

my appology at last as i don't know where i can post this.

contributed by Qiang on December 11, 2005 6:37 PM

Kurt DeMaagd (TPF treasurer) has posted a follow-up in the Perlmonks thread, answering some of the questions raised there:


I'll also send a note to the right people about the donation receipt. Like nearly everything else, that process is in the middle of being overhauled, too.

As for where to ask questions like this, you can always send a note to the "pr" address at, and the question will be forwarded to the person or people best able to respond.

Thanks for the comment, and the heads-up.

contributed by Bill Odom on December 19, 2005 8:04 AM

December 08, 2005

December 8, 2005 - Working on reporting, working on conference representation

One of the things we're trying to improve over here is reporting. Not only do People Want To Know what it is that we're doing, but being a not-for-profit we have some regulatory needs to get our reporting act together. Over the past week I've been working on the reporting strategy for the Steering Committee.

Progress has been made on this front. I've created a draft reporting template that seems to have general acceptance within the Steering Committee and at the level of the Board. (I.e. the SC members seem happy to use it, and the Board people seem happy to accept it.) In case you're curious, here it is:

Something very like this will be used. We've also gotten a general agreement on the time-frame for this report. Dec. 31/2005 is the last day of the "current" reporting period (which goes back to... well, time immemorial in theory but probably 6 months in practice). On Jan. 1/2006 I will email the SC to ask people to start putting together their reports. I expect to receive completed reporting chunks from each working group head as of Jan. 15/2006. I then give myself 2 weeks to collate-and-otherwise-synthesize a finished report from that. So, the report will be ready for Jan. 28/2006.

The other thing that has my major attention right now is working on a policy regarding TPF representation conferences: which conferences we should send an "official" representative to, how to choose the right representative, and what he/she will do when there. There has been a lot of discussion on the SC mailing list on this point so fortunately I don't feel like I have to do all that much hard thinking along these lines. Mainly, I'll (once again) be synthesizing what so many of my SC colleagues have already said so well. I was hoping to have this out earlier this week, but now I'm looking more at, well, later this week.

December 06, 2005

December 6, 2005 - Vancouver 2006 YAPC Bid

Below is the bid submitted by the Vancouver group.

Location: Vancouver, Canada.
Located on the west coast of Canada, Vancouver is a novel choice for YAPC.
Vancouver is the largest city in the province of British Columbia and the
third largest city in Canada. It's surrounded by water on three sides and is
nestled alongside the Coast Mountain Range. Vancouver is home to spectacular
natural scenery and a bustling metropolitan core, and boasts one of the
mildest climates in Canada.
The City of Vancouver supports a wide range of destination sites - from more
than 190 parks to three different civic theatres - that are interesting places
to visit for tourists and residents alike. Vancouver is also home to many
other sights and is networked by a comprehensive transportation system.
Vancouver is host to a booming computer and technology industry and is a
leading city in the biotechnology field. For those interested in
bioinformatics, the human genome was sequenced in Vancouver using Perl.
Vancouver has two world class universities (UBC, SFU) as well as numerous
colleges and technical schools. Notable companies in Vancouver using Perl
include ActiveState, Sophos, MailChannels and Sxip.

Helen Cook is a programmer at Memotrax Inc, and the learder of Vancouver Perl
Mongers. She has attended several YAPC's and spoke at YAPC 2003.
Will Whittaker is a member of the CanSecWest team, and has helped to organize
CanSecWest 2000-2005, PacSec 2003-2005 and EUSec 2006. He has spoken at
Perl Conference 4.0 and YAPC::EU 2003-2005.
SFU Harbour Centre Campus (downtown Vancouver)
Track 1 Room
Joseph and Rosalie Segal Centre (rooms 1400 - 1430)
seats 250 theatre style
Track 2 Room
Fletcher Challenge Canada Theatre (room 1900)
seats 200
Snacks, registration, milling about
Labatt Hall (room 1700)
seats 110 (but will be arranged for milling about in)
Assumptions above are that there are 2 tracks, and to expect up to 400
attendees. If the attendance number is lower than 400 we can drop the
Fletcher Challenge Canada Theatre room, and divide the Segal Centre in half.
The plan is for 2 tracks as we feel that 3 tracks is too many, and attendees
want to see a greater percentage of the show. If 3 tracks are required, then
we can use the Labatt Hall for the third track, and a different room as the
milling about space.
Catering: Out To Lunch Catering (provided by venue)
Plan is to do 6 breaks with coffee and snacks.
The catering company can handle lunch, breakfast, etc if someone wants to
sponsor it.
There are many options for hotels near the venue. Standard rates are
listed for the hotels, none of these include a group discount and should
be considered approximate.

Delta Hotels (550 West Hastings) is the closest option, located
directly accross the street from SFU harbour centre. Internet is
complementary. CAD$229/night

Days Inn (921 West Pender) is a cheaper option. All rooms have
internet. CAD$150/night

The Hyatt Regency Hotel (655 Burrard Street) is a slightly nicer hotel.
Internet is available. CAD$289.00/night

The Hotel Vancouver (900 West Georgia) is a Vancouver landmark, but is

Nearby hostels can accommodate up to 400 people, at very affordable rates (CAD$29),
though a group rate has not yet been negotiated.
Sponsors (CanSecWest) can provide two projectors, mics and soundboards. We
will need to use screens and PA system provided by the venue.
All rooms have direct internet connections. Sponsors (CanSecWest) can provide
wireless access points, ethernet and switches to wire the venue.
YVR is an international airport; direct flights from major points of departure
should be available. Transportation from the airport to downtown is available
by Airporter bus (CAD$12), taxi (CAD$30), limousine (CAD$40), or public
transit (CAD$4). The hotel and hostel are within a 5-15 minute walk from the
venue, and cabs are readily available for the lazy (CAD$5). The city itself
has excellent public transit, including busses to practically everywhere and
rapid transit (Skytrain).
Entertainment and Events
The plan is to hold the auction after the last talks on the last day in
a reception hall at the hotel or in the Segal Centre if space allows.
A cash bar will serve drinks, and snacks will be provided pending sponsorship.

If people are interested we can arrange a trip out to Grouse Mountain
We can also do a tour around Stanley Park
Wreck Beach is famous for those inclinded to be a little daring
For those interested in culture there is Bard on the Beach
Or the Vancouver Art Gallery
Science world could be of interest for those with kids (or not ;) )
Likewise the Storyeum is also kid friendly
Finally Vancouver has the usual clubs and bars catering to any taste

The above activities are available within reasonable walking or public transit distance
from the venue and all hotels/hostels.

CanSecWest has agreed to sponsor a/v and networking equipment.
Tentatively, Sophos and ActiveState are interested. Sxip is also local and a
potential sponsor. Other possibilities include MailChannels, River Styx Internet,
Peer1 and SFU Computer Science and Engineering.
Note: Venue cost will be cheaper if SFU Computer Science sponsors

Segal Centre CAD $975 per day
Fletcher Challenge Theatre CAD $650 per day
Labatt Hall CAD $450 per day

Total per day: CAD $2075
for three days: CAD $6225

We will need to spend an additional approximately CAD $2000 if we need a large space for
the auction.

We estimate that catering 6 breaks will cost approximately CAD $1500 each. Staff charges
will likely add another CAD $2000 to the total. A cash bar will cost approximately
an additional CAD $250.

Breaks CAD $9000
Staff CAD $2000
Cash Bar Staff CAD $250

Total: CAD $11250


We will likely need the time of the facility A/V person for some set up for the PA system
and screens. Previous experience indicates that this, plus incidental equipment not
covered by sponsors should cost under CAD $1500


At minimum we should have conference t-shirts. These will cost about CAD $10 per person.
Assuming 400 people this will be CAD $4000.
Badges are about CAD $2 per person. Assuming 400 people this will be CAD $800.
Fancier badges and lanyards can be done if there is a sponsor. Printed conference
material or CD's can be done if there is a sponsor.

t-shirts CAD $4000
badges CAD $800
Total: CAD $4800

Venue: CAD $8225
Catering: CAD $11250
A/V: CAD $1500
Other: CAD $4800

Total Cost: CAD $25775

At todays exchange rate that is USD $21720
So assuming USD $85 per person we need 255 attendees to break even if we have no sponsors.
Or assuming we have about 300 people attending we have an extra USD $3825 or about
CAD $4500 to deal with any unforseen expenses.

December 06, 2005

December 6, 2005 - Chicago 2006 YAPC Bid

Below is the bid submitted by the Chicago group. Chicago was selected to host YAPC::NA::2006.

  • "Overview"<#overview>
    • "Who we are"<#who_we_are>
    • "Why Chicago?"<#why_chicago>
  • "Dates and Location"<#dates_and_location>
  • "Facilities"<#facilities>
    • "Facility Location"<#facility_location>
    • "Facility Layout and Capacity"<#facility_layout_and_capacity>
    • "A/V and Internet arrangements"<#a_v_and_internet_arrangements>
    • "Cost Summary"<#cost_summary>
      • "Individual Costs: $245 + Travel"<#individual_costs___245___travel>
      • "Conference Fees Per Person: $55"<#conference_fees_per_person___55>
      • "Conference: Possible!"<#conference__possible_>
  • "Accommodations"<#accommodations>
    • "Low-Cost Arrangements"<#lowcost_arrangements>
    • "Hotels"<#hotels>
  • "Transportation"<#transportation>
    • "Arrival and Departure"<#arrival_and_departure>
      • "By Plane"<#by_plane>
      • "By Train (and bus)"<#by_train__and_bus_>
        • "Train"<#train>
        • "Bus"<#bus>
      • "By Automobile"<#by_automobile>
    • "While attending YAPC"<#while_attending_yapc>
  • "Other Things To Do"<#other_things_to_do>
    • "Attractions"<#attractions>
    • "Sports and Recreation"<#sports_and_recreation>
    • "Restaurants"<#restaurants>


Welcome to the Chicago Perl Mongers' bid for YAPC::NA 2006. We've decided to try to host next year's Yet Another Perl Conference and hope that
you agree that Chicago is the spot for YAPC.

Who we are is the Chicago-area chapter of the Perl Mongers group. We are an active group with almost monthly meetings. We host a mailing list
and website, of which book reviews are often published. We adopted a
Phalanx module and have worked to improve its testing coverage. The group
consists of many Perl users, as well as, some notable figures in the Perl
world, including Andy Lester, the public relations representative for
the Perl Foundation and brian d foy, the publisher of The Perl Review.

Why Chicago?

Why not? Chicago is an exciting metropolitan area. It is a central hub for all forms of transportation, including automobile, air, rail,
and water. Chicago is the second largest city in the United States,
with over six million people from diverse cultures. Chicago is the
home of many professional sports clubs including the Cubs, White Sox,
Fire, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks. Chicago's architecture is second
to none. The city has a picturesque skyline that includes the Sears
Tower, Prudential Tower, and John Handcock Building. It is also the
home of Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, two of the most famous
architects of modern times.

Did we mention food yet? Where else can you get an authentic Chicago-style pizza or have one of the best hot dogs ever made? Plus,
Chicago has a huge variety of ethnic dishes to choose from. You will
find them throughout Chicago and in the many culture based neighborhoods.

Chicago is no stranger to technology either. Many companies in the downtown area use Perl to keep financial institutions going.

Dates and Location

We are proposing to host the conference on Monday through Wednesday, June 26-28, 2006. These dates were chosen due to their proximity to
last year's dates.

The proposed venue is the Chicago campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology ( They have a large conference center
( which we are planning to utilize.


Facility Location

The Illinois Institute of Technology has a conference center called the Hermann Union Building
This conference center is located in the heart of the IIT campus, only
a block away from the campus cafeteria, dormitories, and the Chicago 'L'.

IIT itself is located just south of the heart of Chicago, right beside US Cellular Field. It is easily accessible by bus, 'L', and automobile.

Facility Layout and Capacity

The Hermann Union Building is a multi-level conference facility. The ground level of the facility contains an auditorium and multiple
conference rooms of various sizes. The facility is leased by the room or
as a whole. Depending on the number of registrants to the conference, we
can adjust which rooms that we will use to best fit the conference size.

A diagram of the layout is available at

 |---------------------------------------------------------| | Room          | Theater Capacity | Conference Capacity |
 |---------------------------------------------------------| | Auditorium     |              850 |                 N/A |
 |---------------------------------------------------------| | Main Lobby     |              300 |                 140 |
 |---------------------------------------------------------| | Gallery Lounge |              300 |                 140 |
 |---------------------------------------------------------| | Main Ballroom  |              300 |                 140 |
 |---------------------------------------------------------| | Expo           |              300 |                 140 |
 |---------------------------------------------------------| | Alumni Lounge  |               50 |                  30 |
 |---------------------------------------------------------| | Hermann Lounge |               40 |                  20 |
 |---------------------------------------------------------| | Field Room     |               36 |                  16 |
 |---------------------------------------------------------| | Crown Room     |               36 |                  16 |

A/V and Internet arrangements

The Hermann Union Building is fully equipped with audio-visual resources. The auditorium comes standard with stage lighting and sound. All other
rooms can be set up with portable audio equipment for a fee. IIT has
AV engineers who bring in and set up the equipment. Additionally,
IIT has videographers that will record conference sessions.

Only wired Internet access is available within the Hermann Union Building; however, it is allowable for YAPC to bring in wireless routers and
connect them to the wired connection. Additionally, there are PC's
available in the Gallery Lounge and the Computer Lab.

There are many wireless hot-spots around campus, including the dormitories. Conference attendees staying in the dorms will gain access
to these hot-spots.

Cost Summary

Our costs are based on a YAPC costing $85 per person, which is no increase from years past.

Individual Costs: $245 + Travel

What do we expect a person who attends the conference to spend overall. There are costs such as conference fees, lodging, and food. Below is
our estimate of how someone could experience YAPC::NA 2006 in Chicago
on the cheap. This assumes that you'll be sharing a room and eating in
the cafeteria.

 |---------------------------------------------------|------| | Expense                                           | Cost |
 |---------------------------------------------------|------| | Conference                                        | $85  |
 |---------------------------------------------------|------| | Day 1 Food: 3 meals in cafeteria                  | $25  |
 |---------------------------------------------------|------| | Day 2 Food: 2 meals in cafeteria, dinner provided | $15  |
 |---------------------------------------------------|------| | Day 3 Food: 2 meals in cafeteria                  | $15  |
 |---------------------------------------------------|------| | Sunday night in dorm                              | $35  |
 |---------------------------------------------------|------| | Monday night in dorm                              | $35  |
 |---------------------------------------------------|------| | Tuesday night in dorm                             | $35  |
 |---------------------------------------------------|------| | Total (without travel)                            | $245 |

Conference Fees Per Person: $55

 |------------------------------|------| | Expense Description          | Cost |
 |------------------------------|------| | Snacks and drinks for 3 days | $30  |
 |------------------------------|------| | Dinner one night             | $20  |
 |------------------------------|------| | T-Shirt                      | $5   |
 |------------------------------|------| | Total                        | $55  |

Conference: Possible!

With $55 being spent on each attendee, there will be $30 per attendee remaining to pay for the conference facilities.

 |-----------|------------------| | Attendees | Amount Available |
 |-----------|------------------| | 200       | $6000            |
 |-----------|------------------| | 250       | $7500            |
 |-----------|------------------| | 300       | $9000            |
 |-----------|------------------| | 350       | $10500           |
 |-----------|------------------| | 400       | $12000           |
 |-----------|------------------| | 450       | $13500           |
 |-----------|------------------| | 500       | $15000           |

For less than 300 people, all that would be needed as far as facilities would be the Main Ballroom and the Alumni and Herman Lounge. These run
$900/day for a total of $2700. Additional costs for A/V Tech, Internet,
Setup, Post Event Cleanup, Building Manager, Custodial, and Sound run
$2080 putting the total cost at $4780 for less than three hundred people.

For more than 300 people, the Expo would need to be rented for an extra $750 per day for a total of $2250. Adding this to the previous total
brings us to $7030. In order to keep from having to rent the auditorium,
the key addresses can be simulcast into the other rooms.

It is also possible to rent the auditorium for the first half of Monday and the last half of Wednesday, allowing the major sessions to be held
together but the sessions to be held independently.

There are many opportunities for cost adjustments, one of which is brining the per-person costs down on food. However, initial estimates show that
even at $85 it is possible to have a profitable YAPC.

This also assumes exactly zero sponsorship.


Low-Cost Arrangements

  • IIT dorms


  • Hostel International


Chicago hosts hundreds, if not thousands of hotels. With IIT's proximity to downtown, YAPC attendees could easily stay at a fine hotel and still
be only minutes away from the conference.


Arrival and Departure

By Plane

Chicago is home to two major international airports, O'Hare and Midway. Almost every major airline runs some service to at least one of these
airports. Each airport is connected to major expressways and the Chicago
'L', making getting from the airport to the conference and back easy.


    • Driving


    • Driving

By Train (and bus)

If flying is not your style, but you still don't want to drive, both Amtrak and Greyhound serve Chicago. Amtrak will bring riders to Union
Station, right in downtown Chicago. Greyhound will drop riders off a
little South of Union Station, right next to the Chicago 'L'.


Amtrak serves Chicago at Union Station. Union station is accessible to public transportation that connects to IIT. Additionally, limousine
and taxi are available at Union Station.

  • Less Walking Option


  • No Buses Option


  • No Transfers Option


  • Driving


There are both Greyhound and Continental Trailways terminals. The terminals are accessible to public transportation that connects to IIT. Additionally, taxi service is available at the terminals.

  • Less Walking Option


  • No Buses Option


  • Driving

By Automobile

To get to IIT by automobile, take the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94) to 31st Street exit, continue south to 33rd Street, turn left (east). Metered
parking is located along Federal Street north and south of 33rd Street,
and in the Visitor's Parking Lot (Lot A4) at 32nd Street and State
Street. IIT has on-campus parking available for the conference at no
additional charge. IIT requests an estimate of the number of cars that
will be parked.

While attending YAPC

The Illinois Institute of Technology is conveniently located between two CTA 'L' stations. The 35th-Bronzeville-IIT station is the Institute's
connection to the CTA Green Line. This line is an above-ground line that
connects the West and Southern Chicago suburbs while passing through the
Chicago downtown area. The Sox-35th station is the Institute's connection
to the CTA Red Line. This line is both and over and under ground line.
This line connects the Northern and Southern Chicago suburbs and stays
very close to Lake Michigan. Both Wrigley Field and US Cellular Field
have stops on the CTA Red Line.

The CTA #29-State, #35-35th, #24-Wentworth, and #4-Cottage Grove bus lines all have stops on the main IIT campus. Connections between these
and other buses can get you just about anywhere in town.

Beyond the CTA, the Metra rail system can cheaply transport people to more remote suburbs. Most Metra trains connect to the PACE bus system,
which will accept transfers and passes purchased through CTA.

Regular CTA fares are $1.75 US for a single trip or $2 US for a trip with transfers. Transfers between 'L' lines can be done at no extra
charge at any of the many free transfer stations. Short-term unlimited
ride passes are available for visitors. The cost of these passes is:

  • 1-Day Visitor Pass for $5
  • 2-Day Visitor Pass for $9
  • 3-Day Visitor Pass for $12
  • 5-Day Visitor Pass for $18

Metra is a separate system from CTA and is not covered under the unlimited passes. Fares for Metra are typically less than $5 US one-way.

Other Things To Do


  • Art Institute
  • Museum of Science and Industry
  • The Field Museum of Natural History
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Adler Planetarium
  • Goodman Theater
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theater
  • Steppenwolf Theater
  • Oriental Theater
  • Second City
  • Sears Tower
  • Hancock Building
  • Navy Pier
  • Frank Lloyd Wright's Home and Workshop
  • Oak Street Beach
  • Millennium Park
  • Chinatown
  • Brookfield Zoo
  • Chicago Architecture Foundation Tours
  • Michigan Avenue (The Magnificent Mile)
  • Lake and River Cruises

Sports and Recreation

  • The White Sox will play the Houston Astros on Saturday and Sunday before YAPC, and be in Pittsburgh during YAPC.
  • The Cubs will host the Milwaukee Brewers during the conference. Group tickets might be a little hard to come by, but it should be possible to do.
  • The Fire may be in town during that time.
  • A host of minor league baseball teams may have baseball games as well.
  • The Bulls, Bears and Hawks will not be playing at that time.


Chicago is home to countless restaurants including Pizzera Uno, the original restaurant that served as inspiration for the chain.
Beyond that, you can find almost any type of food imaginable.

December 06, 2005

December 6, 2005 - Boston 2006 YAPC Bid

Below is the bid submitted by the Boston group.

  • "NAME"<#name>
  • "SYNOPSIS"<#synopsis>
  • "CRITERIA"<#criteria>
    • "Estimated Costs"<#estimated_costs>
      • "Site 1: University of Massachusetts: Boston Campus"<#site_1__university_of_massachusetts__boston_campus>
      • "Site 2: Simmons College"<#site_2__simmons_college>
      • "Site 3: Massachusetts Institute of Technology"<#site_3__massachusetts_institute_of_technology>
    • "Readily Accessible Location"<#readily_accessible_location>
    • "Public Transportation"<#public_transportation>
    • "Facilities"<#facilities>
      • "UMass Boston"<#umass_boston>
      • "Simmons"<#simmons>
      • "MIT"<#mit>
    • "Internet Access from Conference Location"<#internet_access_from_conference_location>
    • "Internet Access from Accomodations"<#internet_access_from_accomodations>
    • "New Location"<#new_location>
    • "Affordable Dorms and Hotels"<#affordable_dorms_and_hotels>
    • "Quality of Host Committee"<#quality_of_host_committee>
    • "Tourist Activities"<#tourist_activities>
  • "BUGS"<#bugs>
  • "AUTHORS"<#authors>


YAPC::NA 2006 Proposal - Boston, MA


Boston has a variety of sites we are currently exploring. We've reached the stage where we're confident we can successfully host YAPC,
and hope to convince you as well.


Going through the criteria from

Estimated Costs

We're confident we can run at $100/head. Estimates below amortize fixed costs over 250 people. Our budget looks better if we are closer
to 300 people.

Site 1: University of Massachusetts: Boston Campus

The meeting rooms, A/V, and network will come to just over $12000. That leaves about $52/head for catering and the banquet. UMass's
caterer can give us continental breakfast and two snacks each day for
$42/head. We have a budget banquet option that will be $15/head. So
we're slightly in the red at 250 participants. At 300, we're slightly
in the black. We'd have to rely on the auction or sponsorship to
bring us into the black if we get a low attendance.

Site 2: Simmons College

The meeting rooms, A/V, and network should come to a bit over $4000. That leaves roughly $85/head for catering and the
banquet. Simmons' caterer is a bit expensive, but $45 gives a nice
continental breakfast and one snack each day. $40/head should give us
a nice banquet, even at Boston prices. (Or devote $15/head to a
second snack, and do a budget banquet.)

Site 3: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

We're still finding the right approach to negotiating with MIT. It would be a nice location, but we aren't confident about it at this
stage. We don't have enough information to form a budget for this
site possibility.

Readily Accessible Location

Logan airport is served by almost every major US airline. (The exception, Southwest, serves two nearby airports: Manchester, NH and
Providence, RI.) There is good coverage of international airlines.

For east-coasters, Amtrak provides service. For much of the rest of the country, Amtrak pretends to provide service.

For the car-bound, it is easily possible to drive into Boston. Parking is pricey, but available.

Public Transportation

Boston has one of the better public transportation systems in the US. The MBTA,, (``the T'' for short) provides subway and
bus service throughout eastern Massachusetts.

All of the sites we are considering are either near subway lines, or have a shuttle bus to the subway. The airport and train stations have
good connections to the subway.


Broken out by the three sites we're considering.

UMass Boston

A brand-new conference facility. In banquet seating, the main conference room can hold 360, leaving room for the dividers, buffet
tables, etc. So we could squeeze in a few more if necessary.

When divided, the conference room becomes three meeting rooms, holding 120 each in banquet tables. (Slightly more in classroom style, many
more in lecture style.) There are two smaller rooms next to the main
room that we can reserve if desired, that hold 65 in lecture

Nearby on the same floor, next to the elevators, is a lounge area where we would likely set up registration. There are additional lounge
areas (and a food court) on the lower floors.

A/V facilities are so new, they aren't installed yet. But we are promised they'll be done by June, giving us all of the PA and
projection we could want. There are multiple power/network points in
the floor of the main hall. We have an option to turn on WiFi antennas
to cover the hall.

The hallway outside the conference room has a great view of Dorchester Bay. It might be possible to dock a harbor cruise directly outside. Or
we can hold the banquet in the main conference hall. A short walk
along the bay brings you to the JFK museum.


A somewhat small facility for YAPC, but we could fit if necessary. The main restriction is that the largest room only holds a bit over 300 in
lecture style (i.e., no tables). For session, that room can hold one,
and we have two other rooms that hold a bit over 100 each. We can
reserve classrooms if necessary for a small fourth track, etc.

The rooms are an easy walk from each other, but are not next to each other. Also nearby is a lounge/cafe, and a cafeteria.

A/V is a la carte, but has everything we need so long as we plan ahead. There are internet connections around the edges of each room,
and we have permission to bring in access points for WiFi.

We can't fit the banquet into any Simmons facility. We have a couple of options for off-site halls, and the possibility of a harbor cruise
(like Toronto did).

Simmons is located in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, near the Museum of Fine Arts, the Gardiner Museum, Fenway Park (home of the Red
Sox), one of Boston's restaurant/club districts, and more. It's a fun
place to be.


MIT won't commit at this time to what facilities would be available this coming summer. The most likely scenario would be to hold plenary
sessions in one of the lecture halls (there are at least five
candidates that can hold over 300) and tracks in small lecture halls
or large classrooms. There will probably be a bit of walking from one
room to the other, depending on exactly what is available to us.

The rooms we would use have A/V and internet connections. Most are air-conditioned. We could shorten some of the walks by using non-AC
rooms, but that's probably a bad idea in June.

The student center has a large space that can easily accomodate the banquet. We also have the possibility of holding the banquet at a
corporate site in Kendall Square, adjacent to campus.

MIT has a variety of interesting displays on campus, plus the MIT Museum. It's a short walk to the Boston Science Museum. The Kendall
Square restaurant district is a short walk, and the Central Square
restaurant/club district is a bit further.

Internet Access from Conference Location

All three sites have a limited number of wired internet connections per room. The plan is to reserve one or two for the speakers, and to
provide WiFi out to the audience. Some facilites (UMass) insist on
their own WiFi, and some (Simmons) want us to bring the access points
(we have enough volunteers to cover this).

Internet Access from Accomodations

Simmons dorms have wired internet in the rooms. We think Lesley has internet, but we need to verify before booking with them.

All of the hotels we have looked at to date have internet. Some charge an extra nightly rate, some include it. Wired vs. WiFi varies.

New Location

Yes! 50 free points!

Affordable Dorms and Hotels

For the Simmons site, we would use Simmons dorms. The cost would be between $45 and $60 per night, depending on the exact arrangement, the
mix of singles and doubles, etc. The dorms that we would reserve are
air-conditioned, have internet, share bathrooms, and share phones.

While Lesley doesn't have a large enough space to hold YAPC, it does have dorms we can rent. The cost would be $60/night for a single or
$100/night for a double. Since Lesley is on the Red Line, it would be
more convenient than Simmons for a YAPC at MIT or UMass-Boston.

For the MIT site, we would use either MIT dorms or Lesley dorms.

For the UMass-Boston site, we would use either Simmons dorms or Lesley dorms.

UMass-Boston has a nearby Doubletree, which would give us $139/night for a double, parking $8/night, and internet $10/night.

Simmons has a nearby (easy walk) Best Western, which would give us $139/night for single or double, parking $17/night, WiFi
included. (Limited number of rooms available. We might need to also
use some other hotels at $179/night. Hotel shuttle or subway would get
to the conference.)

Quality of Host Committee

Uri Guttman has been Socialist Czar for the last 3 YAPCs. Our committee has about 5 active members. has over 50 members
and is very active with monthly technical meetings and regular social
meetings. We will be drawing on our members for help in running YAPC.

Tourist Activities

I've listed a few next to each possible venue. Downtown Boston (T-accessible from any of the sites) has the Freedom Trail of historic
(mostly Revolutionary War) locations.

Boston is famous for its tea parties, and for its shots heard around the world. Boston used to be :-) home to the World Champions in
baseball, for a sufficiently narrow definition of the world. Eastern
Massachusetts is geek heaven, as measured by the ``Historic Universities
per Square Mile'' index. MIT and Harvard start the list, and the
runners-up are not too shabby either.

Tourism name-dropping is easy in Boston: Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Kennebunk, Providence, White Mountains, etc.
For those who have more time on their hands, many excellent locations are
available within two hours' drive of Boston.


UMass is expensive.
UMass might not have good dates.
They are hoping to give us three days at the end of June, but need to

clear one of the days. If that falls through, we have possibilities
in late May and early July, neither ideal for YAPC.

Simmons is small.
The plenary sessions would be cramped.
MIT is unresponsive.
We might break through in time to organize there, but it can't be

relied upon.


The Boston.PM YAPC Committee currently consists of

  Bob Clancy
  Emily Chew
  John Macdonald
  john saylor
  Kenneth A Graves
  Kripa Sundar
  Ronald J Kimball
  Uri Guttman
  William Ricker

December 06, 2005

December 6, 2005 - Announcing the Perl Foundation Blog

The Perl Foundation was established in December 2001, but is a mystery to many people. Today we announce The Perl Foundation Blog at (also available as Atom and RSS).

Perl Foundation News is the place to read updates on what members of the Foundation's working groups are working on and for other project-related announcements. Where before a working group member might post an update to his use.perl journal, or a meditation on, from today those updates and more will be appearing on the Perl Foundation Blog.

The Perl Foundation's work includes:

  • sponsoring the YAPC conferences and supporting their organizers
  • managing grants for Perl-related projects
  • working with outside groups, as on Google's Summer Of Code project
  • putting a public face on the work of the Perl community
  • providing technical infrastructure for web hosting and Subversion repositories
  • supporting and coordinating volunteer efforts

Now you can get information about these activities.

Comments are enabled, allowing you to give feedback directly to our working group members. Talk directly to us and tell us what we're doing right or wrong. Ask us questions and we'll do our best to answer. We love comments and want to hear your views.

We're well aware of the problems of the past. We know that communications have been weak. We're working hard for the trust of the Perl community, and creating the Perl Foundation Blog is a crucial step as we work to earn that trust.

Whether you want to participate in helping make the Perl community even better, or interested in what's going on, we hope that helps.

So, is it "" or ""

contributed by Anonymous on December 6, 2005 8:47 PM

Hi Anonymous Poster,

Both, for now. :-) Eventually we'll likely move all the news items from the TPF website to the weblog infrastructure.

- ask

contributed by Ask Bjørn Hansen on December 6, 2005 9:00 PM

You mentioned the folks who manage the various * domains. Could you explain how one goes about getting one of those (with or without hosting) for a Perl project?

Phil Crow

contributed by Phil Crow on December 6, 2005 9:07 PM

I originally posted this on Perlmonks, but was asked to post it here:
Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing some news about this Perl 6 I've been hearing so much about. I haven't seen an update to the "This week in Perl 6" here since October (though feel free to tell me if I'm not looking hard enough or if I'm looking in the wrong place). Also, I wouldn't mind such summaries being more high level. I don't follow the goings on of the Perl 6 community, so many of the comments in those posts are lost on me. A short list of "here's what we've worked on, we've got this much to go" would be appreciated by at least by this monk. :)

contributed by Ben Thul on December 6, 2005 9:24 PM

Hi Ben,

The "This week in Perl 6" are posted regularly on, "&gt;

I'll try to find out why they are not being posted to

- ask

contributed by Ask Bjørn Hansen on December 6, 2005 10:04 PM

yes, could we have a, maybe groklaw style' bit with links to latest Parrot, Perl6, and P5P blog entries and weekly summaries.

contributed by Aaron 'Teejay' Trevena on December 7, 2005 11:15 AM


I take it you are talking about are the news at But which address will the weblog live at? It is currently available at both as well as

contributed by Aristotle Pagaltzis on December 7, 2005 1:35 PM


Both addresses will keep working, so use whichever one you prefer. :-)

- ask

contributed by Ask Bjørn Hansen on December 7, 2005 10:32 PM

I just fixed to display the summary links again. Sorry about the confusion!

contributed by chromatic on December 8, 2005 11:37 PM

December 05, 2005

December 5, 2005 - Parrot Grant and Accomplishments

Most folks probably aren't aware of this, but Stichting NLnet is sponsoring quite a bit of Parrot's development. We report to them every two months about the state of Parrot so they can feel comfortable with how it's going. Unfortunately, I had too much on my plate to be the grant manager for Parrot and Dave Rolsky volunteered to step in and help out. He now communicates the Parrot development status to NLNet every two months and ensures that we're paying out grant money only for work which is actually done.

Here's a rough overview of the information Dave has provided last time:

Chip Salzenberg is working on milestone 1: the design document milestone. The deliverables for this milestone are the Parrot design documents (PDDs). In this period, Chip has completed the overall roadmap for the design documents (PDD 0), the lexical variables design document (PDD 20), and the calling conventions design document (PDD 3). In addition, Chip is responsible for ongoing design decisions on the mailing lists and over IRC, and architectural and code review on major contributions to Parrot.

Leo Tötsch is working on milestone 2: the stub implementation milestone. He released Parrot 0.3.0 on October 1st. The most significant feature of this release is the implementation of the new calling conventions.

He released Parrot 0.3.1 on November 6th. The most significant feature of this release is the completion of variable-sized register frames. This feature represents months of work by Leo and is an important step forward in flexibility and stability for Parrot. Among other things, moving to variable-sized register frames fixed a significant long-term bug in Parrot with continuation-based control flow. (See for details.)

Leo plans to release Parrot 0.4.0 over the Dec 3rd-4th weekend. For this release he implemented lexical handling according to PDD20, and updated the Parrot tests for the new lexical handling. He also helped the developers of the TCL and Amber compilers on Parrot to use the new lexical syntax (both are working fine with it). Also included in this release will be his implementation of argument passing to exception handlers (TCL already works with it).

You can also read about the milestones if you're interested.

As you might imagine, it takes quite a bit of time to extract and organize all of that information. Also, the project sponsors sometimes request clarifications or additional information. Because NLNet has sponsored $70,00.00 for Parrot development, it's very important that we ensure they receive timely, accurate and complete information.

Because NLNet has sponsored $70,000.00 for Parrot development, it's very important that we ensure they receive timely, accurate and complete information.

While I don't disagree with this statement, I think that the protasis makes it seem like TPF is a slave to the money. It's very important that the parrot community receive timely, accurate and complete information. Even if they aren't all putting up $70K.

contributed by Jonathan Scott Duff on December 5, 2005 10:06 PM


The Parrot community generally receives this information directly through the mailing lists they participate on. For the Perl community in general, this blog is part of an attempt to provide that information.


contributed by Ovid on December 5, 2005 10:23 PM

I would like some information about the relationship between Parrot and Pugs. Are they friends, competitors, or both? What do they have in common, what is different? I got the idea, maybe mistakenly, that pugs is aiming for a full bootstrap implementation of perl6 eventually... whatever that means. Given that, and the publicity (and user community) pugs has generated, is TPF also funding Pugs at some level?

What's the deal?

(Question originally posted at perlmonks -- -- where it was also answered by Ovid: )

contributed by Thomas Hartman on December 9, 2005 9:59 AM

Parrot and Pugs are not competing. Though related, they're actually in different problem spaces. Further, the Perl 6 design team has been quite grateful for the work Pugs has done to clarify many corner cases which previously had not been considered. However, I haven't paid very close attention to Pugs/Parrot interaction (I've had to be more focused on Parrot) so even though I'm aware there's been some communication there, I don't to what extent.

And no, to the best of my knowledge, TPF is not funding any Pugs development though we've sponsored "Hackathons" for it. I believe we did this for Toronto and it's possible this will also happen for an Israeli Pugs hackathon, but details on the latter are still being worked out. However, those sponsorships are not handled by the grant committee (I turned them over to Jim Brandt, the conference committee head), so I don't know too much about what's involved there.


contributed by Ovid on December 9, 2005 5:39 PM

December 02, 2005

December 2, 2005 - The Grant Committee: what we do and how we do it.

As many folks know, the Perl Foundation Grant Committee is responsible for awarding and managing grants to improve the Perl language and benefit the Perl community. What many don't know is how this works.

First, I'm Curtis "Ovid" Poe. You may have encountered me on Perlmonks or used some of my CPAN modules. I currently sit on the Perl Foundation steering committee and I'm the grant secretary for the grant committee. I was elected to the latter position after serving a couple of years as a grant manager. During that time, I oversaw grants for Maypole, Annocpan, PPI and many other projects. Without funding from the Perl Foundation, many of these projects may have been much smaller in scope or never existed.

You can also read a bit about our charter. This basically explains what we are, how we're chosen and the reporting we should handle. What you probably want to know, though, are our rules of operation. These explain how we actually award and manage grants. Because the grant committee is responsible for money, some of our rules are a bit stricter than others. For example, no sitting member of the grant committee may receive non-travel grants by the Foundation. This is to help avoid conflict of interest.

Grant applications are reviewed and voted on 4 times a year. When that time comes, I send out email to the grant committee letting them know of an upcoming round of voting and the deadline for votes. Each grant application is included in a separate email with a "voting slip":

  [ ] FOR

If a grant is approved (by a simple majority but 2/3 of the members must vote) I notify the grantee and assign a grant manager. A few final details usually need to get nailed down and then we award half of the money up front and half on delivery. The grant manager generally has the final say as to whether or not a grant has been successfully completed. Sometimes the grant recipient does not complete everything but the money still gets awarded. This is to handle common situations where instead of writing an article for, they write one for IBM Developer Works. Instead of attending OSCON and giving a presentation for their software, they go to YAPC::EU instead. Our main objective isn't to force someone into a rigid contract. Our main objective is to be fair.

And on a personal note, I find it a bit sad that some otherwise wonderful grants get rejected for common reasons:

  • No grant amount listed.
  • No evidence that they applicant is in contact with the maintainer of the software they want to work on.
  • Worthwhile goal but the details seem fuzzy or unrealistic.

As for the touchy subject of "grant amount", grant awards are typically in the $500.00 to $5000.00 range. The higher the amount requested, the more likely the grant will be rejected unless the goal is very worthwhile and we have confidence the recipient can handle it (unfortunately, this means that unknown recipients are less likely to get awarded large grants).

Further, as a general rule of thumb, you can expect to not earn market rate for a grant. While there are exceptions made, if you charge $120.00 and hour and your project should take two fourty-hour weeks, we probably aren't going to pay you $9,600.00 (120 × 80) unless it's for something extraordinary. We are spending money that people and companies donate to the Perl Foundation and we must be extremely careful about the conditions under which we award grants.

Well, that about sums up this introductory entry. In the future, I'll be posting more about our day to day activities. I hope this has shed a bit of light on what we do and why.

December 02, 2005

December 2, 2005 - YAPC::NA Voting Details

I was previously posting TPF conferences-related information to my personal blog on Now we have this excellent TPF blog for TPF info, so I'll be posting here.

As I said in a previous post, all of the bids this year were quite good. To give a little more transparency into the voting process, you can see the anonymous vote breakdowns below:

Boston  Chicago  Vancouver

 2840   2980     2690

 2530   2770     2110

 3310   3170     2830

 2090   3000     2510

 3040   3230     2990

-----  -----    -----

13810  15150    13130

Although the total looks like a large win for Chicago, I think if you look at each voter, you'll see it was pretty close.

I have also asked the bidders if we could publish their bids, and they agreed, so I'll post each bid as a separate blog entry.

In the future, I'm going to try to get some ground-rules out there before the bid and voting process so everyone knows what will be made public. This will prevent any surprises or hard feelings and allow everyone to see what we see.

So are there 5 voters each of whom generates scores for each bid?

contributed by Greg McCarroll on December 6, 2005 5:23 PM

Yes. I provided some details on the voting process in my use.perl blog, but it's good to reference it again here. Without that reference information, these numbers are a bit like find out that the score to the game was 3 to 5. :)

A few committee members weren't able to vote for various reasons, so the numbers of voters and committee members don't match exactly.

contributed by Jim Brandt on December 6, 2005 6:23 PM

Any chance we can get a better breakdown of the scores. It would certainly help in figuring out what to improve for next time (for example, we could move Vancouver temporarily to the east coast of Canada, thus gaining points for not being in the same timezone as OSCON).

contributed by mock on December 7, 2005 2:14 AM

Well, I'm not sure we could break down the scores much more. What sort of detail were you looking for?

contributed by Jim Brandt on December 9, 2005 12:15 AM

You mentioned making the other bids publicly available. I would be very interested in looking them over as well when they get posted. I'm hoping to talk another PM group that's close to me into offering a bid. Hopefully our group can partner with them (we're still forming and I've just recently setup our first PM meeting) and help with the bid (and conference if awarded!).

contributed by Jeremy Fluhmann on May 8, 2006 7:51 PM

December 01, 2005

December 1, 2005 - An unofficial welcome to the blog site


This might be the first blog posting entered. It's not the "inaugural announcement", though. Andy Lester, the TPF SC PR guy, is crafting that now and a link to it will be posted to all the usual locations when it's ready.

What this is all about

This blog is hosted at The Perl Foundation. We hope to open up more communication with the Perl community by talking, mostly informally, here.

As for what I'm doing typing here...

I've been involved there indirectly for a year, more directly for about 3 weeks as the new Steering Committee Chairman. One of the things that we've been talking about is how to be more transparent to the community and approachable, so we're setting up blogs so that we can ramble about what we're up for TPF and generally in life, too. It also gives readers the chance to chat with us here about anything we mention that might catch your eye.

Who I am

I'm just another Perl hacker, living and working in Toronto. I'm in my early (verging on mid) 30s, married, a recent homeowner. My undergrad degree is in applied maths, but maybe it's in astronomy. Depends on how I feel on any given day. I also did my MBA at U of T. (The 'T' is Toronto, of course.)

I've been working with Perl since 1994, coming to it from a Unix &amp; C background from undergrad astrophysics hacking days. My work since then has almost always involved Perl in one way or another. I've hacked it for companies large and small, done some independent consulting, worked as a Perl corporate trainer, done a fair deal of conference speaking about Perl too. I've also contributed to a few Perl books.

I've been active with the Montreal and the Toronto Perl Mongers. In Toronto I organized Damian Conway lecture series in 2001, 2002 and 2004. I was also the conference chairman for YAPC::NA 2005 in Toronto. I covered a lot on this topic in an interview I gave for a few months ago -- "

What I do with The Perl Foundation

As I mentioned a bit earlier, I'm the Steering Committee Chairman. The Steering Committee is essentially composed of the heads of each working group. (Sometimes these are groups of one, sometimes they're bigger than that.) I like to call us the "working hands" of the Perl Foundation. While the executive level makes policy, the steering committee is responsible for jobs being done. My job is to help translate high-level policy into plans that the working groups can execute.

Steering Committee Activities

I'll briefly mention a few threads of conversation that have been going on in the Steering Committee lately.

  • We got the blog off the ground! (Thanks Robert, thanks Ask.)
  • We're trying to get ourselves on a regular reporting schedule, so that people have a better idea of the things we're trying to accomplish
  • Conference organizers (especially ones outside of North America) have been' asking us if we're able to send a representative to their conferences;

we're trying to work out how we can do this

  • We discussed the use of the TPF logo in conjuncture with non-TPF projects and the idea of a "this project blessed by TPM" program
  • Prompted by a German Wikipedia entry regarding TPF, we talked about making an English language one too (Jim Brandt put up a first version)
  • We've talked about ways that the SC can hold conference calls (i.e. voice)
  • We talked about a posting to regarding a flaw in a Perl application (webmin) and what was being done to fix the app, fix Perl,

and communicate the issues to people

  • We've talked about how we can make more people aware of the wealth of Perl community / culture sources they can tap into to improve their

Perl skills (e.g. a "perlcommunity" POD)

  • We're in the process of reviewing the projects that happened through the Summer of Code and trying to optimize our processes for participating in

future years

  • Allison presented the draft work on the Artistic License 2.0

It's been an active first 3 weeks on the TPF SC for me...

December, 2005 Archive

This page contains all entries posted to The Perl Foundation in December, 2005. They are listed in order from newest to oldest.

Many more entries can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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