The Perl Institute

Nelson Maxwell

The past few months have been an exciting time. There has been much conversation about ways to support the further development of Perl and how better to serve both old and new members of the Perl freeware community.

Conversations have led to more conversations and activity, and now The Perl Institute (TPI) is open and ready, dedicated to making Perl more useful for everyone.

Founding members of the Board of Directors Larry Wall, Randal Schwartz, and Tom Christiansen see The Perl Institute as a valuable and innovative next step in the development of the Perl freeware community. Perl is a living language, one that grows through the enthusiasm and contributions of many people. The Perl community is just that - a community, and TPI offers the opportunity and structure for these creative individuals to gather and direct the considerable collective force they hold.

The idea of having an institute to support a freeware community grew out of a recognition that there were gaps in the ease and efficiency with which Perl is learned, supported, and used. If some of these gaps were bridged by a coordinating body, Perl as a language would benefit, as would the programmers and companies using Perl.

One of the unique characteristics of TPI is that there is no known model on which to base its development; it is a new type of organization. This offers a great deal of freedom. TPI has pulled pieces from software publishers, professional associations, educational organizations and other non-profit organizations, and mixed it all with a fresh entrepreneurial and practical perspective, never done before in the free software community.

As the idea for TPI developed, a list of ways to make Perl more useful for everyone was generated; this list became the starting point for TPI. The Perl Institute is working to establish:

  • A Perl web site and a dedicated webmaster that will serve as Perl Info Central, including links leading to other Perl information and Perl locations on the Internet and World Wide Web;

    This is by no means an exhaustive list of what TPI might do. Rather, it is the beginning of a series of steps that will benefit the Perl community; The Perl Institute has set about to make these ideas happen. TPI is a new organization; the structure is still being created, and the system is open to (actually, welcoming and in need of) feedback and new ideas. What exists so far are the opportunities above; the leadership of Larry, Tom, and Randal; a web site, and an invitation for Perl programmers to participate! The Perl Institute has been established as a non-profit organization and application for tax-exempt status has been filed.

    In order to unleash the Institute's potential, the active participation of everyone in the Perl community is wanted and welcomed. The Institute is designed to be financially accessible to everyone.

    List yourself, Perl projects you've completed or are working on, any employment opportunities you know of, and Perl-related services, both free and commercial, in the Institute's registry lists located at the TPI web site.

    Check out Perl Institute trainings, and tell others about them. TPI employs the very best Perl trainers, and offers both in-house and open trainings for a variety of skill/user levels. You can also provide TPI with the name, title, and contact information for people you know who make decisions about Perl trainings, and we'll send them information on course offerings.

    Identify yourself as a supporter: Display your Perl Institute membership certificate on your wall. Wear a Perl Institute T-shirt. Post the Perl web page link icon on your personal web page.

    The Perl Institute will become a reality piece by piece, as individuals and companies come together for their own benefit and for the collective advancement of the Perl community. The Perl Institute is now open for business.


    Nelson Maxwell has been active in the launching of The Perl Institute.