Perl News

Chris Nandor

Larry Wall won the Free Software Foundation Award for the Advancement of Free Software for his many contributions, most notably Perl. His other widely-used programs cited include rn (a news reader), patch (a development and distribution tool), metaconfig (a program that writes Configure scripts), and the Warp space-war game.

news1 In giving the award, the FSF noted that Perl is "a tool that takes the Unix ideas of flexibility and portability further than almost any program before it. Perl is probably the most powerful and widely applicable GNU program... Larry Wall has always promoted keeping his implementations free for all to study, enhance, and build on, without restrictions, and the freedom for all to benefit in whatever ways they can from his products."

Perl News is still being updated daily on The Perl Institute's web site at There's also a keyword search of the archives there. Note that the mailing list has moved from to It just makes more sense that way.

Nathan Torkington has redesigned The Perl Institute web site, and added the Perl advocacy page, including tidbits to help people advocate Perl, such as language comparisons and usage stories. He's also added a calendar of events. Check it out at

In February, the first German Perl Workshop will take place in Sankt Augustin near Bonn. You can find more information at

Taken with a grain of Morton's finest, the results of the Perl Usage Survey might be good for some purposes. Check it out at

ActivePerl 507 is available from It's self-updating and comes with the latest libwin32 bundle and the new XML::Parser extension. PerlEx 1.1 beta will be ready by the time you read this, as well as the ActiveState Perl Development Kit 1.1 beta.

MacPerl has been number one on Download.COM's download list for Mac OS developer tools for a couple of months now. Perl for Win32 has been near the top of the Windows list. What does this mean? Well, this information, plus the usage survey results, plus $3.75 will buy you a latte at Starbucks.

The O'Reilly-sponsored has been updated regularly with articles about Perl being used to solve real problems by real companies.

Bek Oberin announced a Perl and AI mailing list. To subscribe, send subscribe to or visit

New Perl Mongers groups announced since last issue include Albany, Ann Arbor, Austin, Cincinnati, Gothenberg (Sweden), Grand Rapids, Lexington KY, Madrid (, Omaha, Orange County CA, Raleigh, Rochester NY, Santa Cruz (, Springfield IL, St. Petersburg, Sydney, and Toronto.

Some special Perl Mongers groups were founded, too: AOL (for America Online employees), JPL (for Jet Propulsion Labs), and MarsNeedsWomen (for women only). For more information, check out

Mozilla's bug tracking system, Bugzilla (, was completely rewritten in Perl, with Mysql as its backend. So now both the build process and the bug tracking system are Perl. Could Netscape possibly lose the browser war now? We think not.

Nick Ing-Simmons wrote Make in Perl. It will require quite a bit of testing, but may indeed be the way of the future for the Perl build process. If Mozilla's build process is in Perl, why not Perl's?

The perl5.005_02 documentation is now on the CPAN in PDF (Bill Middleton) and Newton Book format (Chris Nandor).

COAST Lab at Purdue released Autonomous Agents for Intrusion Detection (AAFID), a security system that uses a distributed architecture to monitor a network for anomalous or malicious behavior. Check it out at

In editor news, CodeForge for Linux ( now has support for Perl, and BBEdit 5.0 for Mac OS ( has improved support.

Thanks to Kurt Starsinic, the CPAN Scripts archive is now open for business. See CPAN/scripts/index.html for the scripts repository, and CPAN/scripts/new/submitting.html for submission instructions.

Jarkko Hietaniemi has compiled a list of places of distribution for binary builds of Perl and extension modules. It's available at CPAN/ports/index.html.

Speaking of binary builds, there's a MacPerl build of DBI 1.01 available at

Joe Marzot's TFTP is, unsurprisingly, a module implementing TFTP (the Trivial File Transfer Protocol, described in RFC 783).

AppConfig, from Andy Wardley, is a bundle of Perl5 modules for reading configuration files and parsing command line arguments. This supersedes the App::Config module.

Marc Liyanage finished the first version of Barcode, which creates barcodes in GIF and EPS formats.

Stanislav Malyshev announced Lingua-IW-Logical, for converting logical representations of Hebrew to visual representations.

Fran&ccecil;ois Desarmenien's Parse::Yapp compiles yacc-like LALR grammars into Perl parser modules.

TkApache, a Perl/Tk app, is a GUI frontend to managing and configuring Apache. See TkApache.

Lots of new and updated Apache modules are available on the CPAN; see for a list of what's new. In particular, Apache::Throttle performs speed-based content negotation; that is, depending on the speed of the connection, different content can be sent. Also, Demetrios Paneras released Apache::AuthenPasswd and Apache::AuthenNIS, which perform web-based authentication via Unix password files and NIS (Network Information Service).

Jonathan Eisenzopf has released several modules that use XML::Parser: XML::Dumper, which converts XML to/from Perl source code, XML::Registry, which implements a registry in XML, XML::CGI, which converts variables to/from XML, and TkApache, which works with a DBI-enabled relational database. More XML modules and information can be found on Jonathan's XML FAQ at

Sean Burke has also been busy. Games::Dissociate implements a Dissociated Press algorithm, which garbles text in natural-sounding ways. MIDI-Perl is a suite of modules for reading, writing, and composing MIDI files. His Tree::DAG_Node implements tree-shaped data structures for use manipulating parse trees, game trees, or natural language syntax trees. Finally, I18N::LangTags matches and compares language tags. We shudder to see what he does next.

Benjamin Holzman has his own Tree module, Tree::RedBlack, implementing the the Red/Black balanced tree algorithm.

Michael Edmondson has written a Perl program called Rezrov, a z-code interpreter for Infocom games (such as Zork), at Inevitably, denizens of EFNet's #perl channel were playing Zork with a Net::IRC bot by the end of the week.

Finance::YahooChart, from Dj Padzensky, pulls stock quotes from Yahoo! Finance. It's also been turned into an IRC bot.

James Briggs released Aviation::Report for retrieving U.S. Aviation METAR, TAF, and PIREP reports, and Jeremy D. Zawodny released Geo::METAR. No word yet of an IRC bot for either.

Net::Rexec, implementing the REXEC (Remote Execution) protocol, was developed by Fila Kolodny.

The prolific Graham Barr released perl-ldap, a collection of modules providing an LDAP services API.

CDDB is a module from Rocco Caputo for using the online Compact Disc Database. Rocco also released 0.01 of POE, which he calls a cross between a MUD and an operating system.

The MPEG::MP3Tag module announced last issue now has the ability to retrieve header info, like bitrate, length, etc., from MP3 audio files. As such, it has been renamed to MPEG::MP3Info. A script comes with the module to get CDDB data (using the CDDB module) using MP3 info from a complete album of MP3 files.

Watchdog is a set of classes from Paul Sharpe for monitoring whether a process, HTTP server, or Mysql server is functioning.

Matt Sergeant wrote Win32::ASP for PerlScript programming.

Ken Williams released Text::FillIn, which implements fillin text templates.

Philippe Verdret filled the gaping RTF void in CPAN with RTF::Parser.

Information about modules and other Perl news should be sent to

The Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN).


Chris Nandor ( lives in Southeastern Massachusetts with one wife, two dogs, and three cats (one of which was abandoned by another TPJ author). His current project involves using MacPerl to keep the NBA lockout going as long as possible. So far, it's working. Egggcellent.