How to involve more Indians in the Perl community?

A few days ago I published some data on the distributions of visitors of the Perl Maven site and the people clicking on the links in Perl Weekly newsletter. (The number of visitors there is not that interesting.)

One intersting part of the data is that the 11.68% of the visitors of the Perl 5 Maven site are from India while they only generate 1.60% of the clicks in the Perl Weekly.

Why is the difference and what can be done with this information?

Most visitors of the Perl 5 Maven site look at the Perl Tutorial and the pages linked from it. Presumably these are beginner to intermediate Perl developers.

On the other hand the people who click on the Perl Weekly links are subscribers of the newsletter. Presumably have more experience in Perl on average, and are much more involved in Perl. Probably they are also more involved in the Open Source Perl community, than the random visitors of the Perl Maven site.

It would be nice to see similar statistics from *.perl.org, *.cpan.org and metacpan.org but I think even without those number I can assume that there is a huge gap in the level of involvement in the Perl community among the Indian Perl users.

If that's true, why are they not involved in the Open Source Perl Community?


  • Is that because they don't know about it?

  • Is that beacuse they don't care about open source or Perl? (Maybe cultural or ideological differences?)

  • Is that because the Open Source Perl community is not welcoming to Indians?

  • Is that because they have no time to be involved? (Do they have longer work hours? Do they need to spend more time with other tasks outside of work?)

  • Are there other reasons?

Would it be important for the Perl comunity to have more Indians involved? If yes how could that be done?

7 Comments

I've also seen a lot of posts on the various Perl groups on LinkedIn from India. They are mostly beginner-level questions, though, so I'd guess that there aren't many Perl programmers there yet with many years of experience, who would be more interested in venturing into our established communities.

This is not to say that beginners are not welcome, nor that there is no place for them here, but just that usually people wait a little longer before getting more active.

Hi Gabor,

Greetings from India!!
Thank you very much for your concern. Its heartening to see that someone of your stature is interested in getting more Indians on to Perl.

I don't hail from a programming background, but here are my observations.
In India, as much as I have seen, there are very few programmers who use Perl as their primary language. Especially now a days, when there are other alternatives coming up. Not saying that Perl is in any ways lesser in terms of capability, nopes. In fact, from my personal experience, Perl is really awesome, but its just that, here in India, there are not that many jobs that require the programmer/developer to code exclusively or majorly in Perl.
As for getting people interested in Perl, I dont think that should be a problem.

I'm quite sure that there are a lot of Indians out there, who just like me, try meddling with a few programming languages before they zero in on Perl.

In my very limited experience, what I have found is there is just no match for Perl when it comes to text processing, slicing and dicing command line outputs, and such stuff..

Hope this helps.

There are also many Indians applying to the Advanced Perl Group on LinkedIn, but I have no way to evaluate them and they apparently don't connect with anyone already in the group. I'd like to find ways to extend our network of trust into India.

Here is some data[1] from perl.com sometime back.


I came back to India from the US last year and am working on my own startup and we are a perl shop in bangalore, we are a five member team and Looking for perl programmers to join our team.

I have been attending a few tech meetups and conferences in bangalore and have interviewed a lot of candidates for my company and in the end I decided to hire programmers who did not know perl and train them since I could not find any one who knew something beyond baby perl.

As far as the perl community in India , here are my thoughts , it seems to be a combination of many things , there are quiet a few good perl programmers in the different parts of the country but if you look at the general programming population


  • The php/python/ruby/javascript communities are very active , they have been having pyconf and rubyconf in India for the past few years and I know a lot of people who actively contribute to the languages they are involved in

  • The youngsters coming out of college seem to prefer python , ruby or even php but not perl, at most conference people are surprised that I still use perl

  • A very large number of services companies use perl for ETL and some of them maintain legacy applications so they hire people with no perl experience and that is the reason I think they end up on the various perl* sites to get their job done, they are not aware of new frameworks like plack, Moose and the other latest web frameworks and most of them work in a environment where they are not encouraged to try the new things even if they want to

  • Talking to some perl programmers who have moved on to different languages, you earn more and have a lot more opportunity here if you are a java/python/ruby programmer


[1] chromatic had replied that India was at that time the second largest in terms of number of visits to perl.com

I wonder if anyone is interested in applying for a TPF grant to attend some big conferences in India and evangelize for Perl? It would be great if we could increase the Indian representation (even get a speaker or two?) at the next YAPC::Asia.

If someone is considering India, he/she might as well consider China, Philippines, and Indonesia (or Malaysia and Thailand to a lesser extent).

As someone who stays in Indonesia, I can say that there is a great deal of energy and interest for open source here, but Perl's presence is almost non-existent. There's a lot of opportunity.

I mostly agree with @kiran on the situation with Perl in India. I feel that its important to find ways for developers in India to be more social and get them to contribute

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About Gabor Szabo

user-pic Perl author and trainer. Usually writing on other sites: Writing the Perl 5 Maven tutorial Perl 6 articles. Started a Perl IDE. Running the Weekly Perl newsletter. My personal blog.