(Originally published on samirparikh.com.)
Like any well-entrenched programming language, Perl has a rich history and a number of personalities who shape and lead its community. In addition to wanting to learn its syntax and how to write simple scripts with it, I'm also trying to learn more about that history and the people who influence it today. I do this by following some blogs (which perhaps I'll write about later) and reading online books and articles but the best way for me is to listen to relevant podcasts. I'm an avid podcast listener and love learning about new concepts or technologies while walking the dog, doing the dishes, or pre-pandemic, sitting in traffic. Over the past few weeks, I've been listening to some contemporary as well as not so recent Perl-related podcasts and thought I'd share some select episodes that others may find interesting:
Software Engineering Radio Episode 432 with brian d foy on Perl 7. This episode was recently published on 30 October 2020 and was fun to listen to as host Gavin Henry speaks with brian about not only Perl's history, but also where Perl 7 development fits in with Perl 5 and what developers should be thinking about regarding a future transition. Along with Randall Schwartz and Tom Phoenix, brian was a co-author of "Learning Perl" which is what I used to pick up most of what I know about Perl and the author of The Effective Perler web site.
Mapping the Journey Episode 13 with Damian Conway, author of "Perl Best Practices and, along with chromatic and Curtis "Ovid" Poe of "Perl Hacks". In this episode from 2017, host Pramod Shashidhara talks with Damian on the development and evolution of Perl 6, which is now known as Raku. I'm barely able to wrap my head around Perl, let alone Raku, but it was still interesting to hear about some of the considerations and philosophies that went into the design of what is now known as the sister language to Perl.*
System Smarts Episode 203, from 2016, with the man himself, Larry Wall. This is the only podcast episode I've found with the creator of Perl and was delighted to hear what a humble, thoughtful and engaging person Larry Wall is. I had never heard of his earlier work, such as the Unix updating tool Patch) and found his thoughts on technology and community really fascinating to listen to.
The Changelog Episode 133 "All Things Perl" with Curtis "Ovid" Poe. In addition to "Perl Hacks" above, Ovid is also the author of "Beginning Perl" which is another book I need to read. I'm a big fan of "The Changelog" so it was good to find this episode in their back catalog from 2014. You get to hear how Ovid chose his nickname, the role of object oriented programming in Perl and the evolution of Perl 6 and the differences between Perl 5.
FLOSS Weekly. Randal Schwartz, who is one of the authors of "Learning Perl", "Intermediate Perl" and a host of other books, is also the host of FLOSS Weekly, a podcast on the TWiT network covering "free, libre and open source software". Because of his connection to the language, there have been a number of past episodes that cover Perl's history, community and projects. Some of the episodes I have listened to include:
- Episode 4 with chromatic.
- Episode 96 on BioPerl which is a collection of modules used in the study of bioinformatics and is used by the Human Genome Project.
- Episode 189 with Jeffrey Thalhammer to discuss his project PerlCritic which is a CPAN module "for creating and applying coding standards to Perl source code."
- Episode 544 with Sawyer X to look at the current state of Perl 5.
Code-Maven Open Source (CMOS) Podcast. Hosted by Gabor Szabo, who also runs the Perl Maven web site and has published a book by the same name, this podcast is a series of short interviews with a number of people involved in the open source and Perl communities. This podcast was the first time I came across Perl projects such as Dancer and Mojolicious.
I really enjoyed listening to these episodes over the past few weeks and they have given me a better appreciation of just how varied and active the Perl community continues to be. If anyone has any other suggestions for Perl-related (or frankly, any other) podcasts that interest you, please do share!
*If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe to this podcast. In addition to his interview with Damian, Pramod has been able to bag interviews with James Gosling, the creator of Java, Bjarne Stroustrup, the designer of C++, Dave Cheney, a leading contributor to Go, and Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic, which owns WordPress.com and Tumblr.