The Grants Committee has received one grant proposal for the November/December round. Before the Committee members vote, we would like to solicit feedback from the Perl community on the proposal.

Review the proposal below and please comment here by December 12th, 2016. The Committee members will start the voting process following that and the conclusion will be announced approximately in one week.

Learning Perl 6, a book from O'Reilly Media

  • Name:

    brian d foy

  • Amount Requested:

    USD 10,000

Synopsis

Partially fund the writing process for Learning Perl 6, a book from O'Reilly Media

Benefits to the Perl Community

Note: I am also running a Kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1422827986/learning-perl-6). I have not given much thought to the mechanism of The Perl Foundation funding, but I think I'd want it to be through your normal mechanism rather than Kickstarter. I understand that payment on completion in part of that process. That works for me. I would appreciate TPF's help in spreading the word and finding backers.

Perl 6 does not have a tutorial book. To reach further out into the general programming world, people need a gentle introduction to the language. This book is about bringing people into the community more than serving the ones already here.

Some people have written survey books that have covered ancient versions of the language (Perl 6 and Parrot Essentials, Perl 6 Now). Other people are working on cookbook-style example books (Moritz Lenz most notably). Several other efforts have stalled or stopped. A book can be a big chunk of a person's life, and financial stability along with the removal of the distractions of normal commerce are key to success.

The big question is my need for the money, especially when I have a major publisher committed to publishing the book. In short, I've shifted O'Reilly risk tolerance by taking on some of it myself.

First, book sales aren't what they used to be. I'm taking a big gamble here and I have a lot of personal risk, mostly in lost time. Many comments on the kickstarter have centered around "Why doesn't O'Reilly pay for the book?" Publishers don't "pay" so much as give you advanced royalties. That robs the future to pay for the present. I've never taken an advance on a book, and even if I did, a sane publisher wouldn't provide me enough money to allow me to do this. I fully expect Learning Perl 6 to be my least-popular book.

The entire technology book market shrinking and has been for years. Perl 6 as a usable language is a new technology in an already crowded market. There's a big chance that this is a "front list" book that makes all of its sales in the first months of its release and is never bought again. This situation happens with a dedicated fan base or a highly promoted book that doesn't catch on. I already know the sales numbers for Learning Perl. If I had to guess at a sales target for Learning Perl 6, I'd take one-tenth that number. It's not a motivating amount for me. As the author of several existing books, I don't have the same secondary rewards of new fame and recognition as a first-time author.

Second, book sales aren't primarily important to the marketing goals of the Perl 6 community. To be taken seriously as a technology (even if the community is small), someone needs to be able to point to something in the marketplace. A technology manager might take a signalling cue from the existence of a dead-tree book because the publisher has already judged risk and committed to the book. Even if we think this is a poor way to make judgements (and granted, we'd often be right), there's the dirty mess of reality versus how we think the world should be. This is important to many people in the Perl 6 community. The lack of a book is a big hurdle for our "force multipliers"—the teachers and trainers who don't have the time to construct a full curriculum themselves but could use a tutorial book that's ready to teach in a segmented, classroom enviromented.

Third, the Kickstarter amount sounds impressive, but I'm also responsible for all expenses and taxes. Every e-book and print book I give out as a reward is actually a pre-sale. Most of that money flows to the publisher as a sale (of which I still get a royalty). The Kickstarter money is also subject to taxes. I've run a small business for a couple decades; that number doesn't seem that large for the effort. I'm looking for any support out there. When you consider the amount, I think it's much more productive to think about getting what you want at a price that makes sense to you. Considering the levels that TPF has funded similar grants delivering less, I think this is more than reasonable value.

If you could get this book without this grant and without the Kickstarter, I'd support that. Indeed, I've waited for that book just like you. But, no one has stepped up to write it and that book doesn't exist. TPF's role could underpin the community support I'm already receiving. This grant further ensures the end result.

Metacpan Upgraded

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The team that supports meta::cpan had a busy weekend as they completed their long project to upgrade all of the metacpan infrastructure. Thanks to the team for all of their work and to the sponsors who made meta::hack possible. The site looks and performs great!

A huge number of Perl users can trace their initial coding efforts back to O'Reilly's Learning Perl, now available in its 7th edition. The easy introduction and smooth tour of basic features through more powerful ones made it easy to get started, all with a focus on getting things done.

brian d foy, well known in the Perl community and one of the authors of Learning Perl, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the work to create an O'Reilly-published Learning Perl 6. Just as Learning Perl made Perl 5 accessible to a wide array of programmers, both professional and casual, Learning Perl 6 will introduce this new language in a fun and accessible way. brian provides some additional detail on his perl blog as well. If you're interested in getting started with Perl 6, help brian fund the book that could get you rolling.

TPF President Change

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As Mark Keating reported earlier this month, Karen Pauley has stepped down as TPF president after a very successful tenure. Karen served for an amazing 6+ years and did a fantastic job. I'd like to join Mark and many other people in the Perl Community in thanking Karen for all of her work. She has truly set a high bar for the president role.

As some might recall, Karen took over from me way back in 2010 and I'm happy to swap roles with her again. In addition to continuing all of TPF's major initiatives my primary goal for this year is to get more people involved in The Perl Foundation. Over the last several years, Karen and Dan Wright have done a great job educating the community about what TPF does. I'd like to continue this momentum and take it a step further by letting people know how they can help and getting new people to participate at all levels. Stay tuned to learn about different ways you can help the Perl community.

Since their third report on migrating blogs.perl.org, Evozon have been working hard to produce a public beta site.

This beta site lets you, the community, test and evaluate the platform. If you are a regular user of blogs.perl.org, here's a great opportunity to help us make the release candidate the best version possible.

As outlined in the original grant proposal, the site provides the following:

  • features from the exisiting site: register new account, log-in, write & manage blog posts, create & manage blogs, manage user profile, add comments, add & manage users
  • data imported from the existing site
  • blog text, code snippets, quoting and comments display in clean UTF-8
  • admin and test users can log in to their account through direct access
  • beta users can sign up through Oauth (Facebook login)
  • existing users can view posts, log in with their existing ID, create and comment on posts

At this point, the only deficiency known on the platform is its dependency on JavaScript. Users must have JavaScript enabled in their browsers.

This beta system can undergo small updates, due to bug fixing activities performed by the team, and data may be reset from time to time.

Please join the beta at http://blogsperlorg.pearlbee.org. Once you’ve logged in or signed up, feel free to explore the platform and test all the features. We strongly encourage all beta users to report any bugs, issues, errors or suggestions. If you are nervous about reporting bugs through the formal bug reporting system, you can simply email details to the support mailing list [email protected].

Enjoy testing the platform and thank you in advance for your feedback.

Save the Date! The Perl Conference NA 2017

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Throughout our search we considered and visited venues in Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Florida, Washington D.C., and Virginia. Many people spent countless hours putting out feelers and soliciting bids. In particular, we would like to give a huge thanks to the Brew City Perl Mongers and the Detroit Perl Mongers: their efforts were invaluable in this process, and we hope that we can soon bring The Perl Conference to their fantastic cities.

It is with great enthusiasm that we happily announce The Perl Conference 2017 will be held Sunday, June 18th through Friday, June 23rd at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia!

This places us immediately outside of Washington, DC, allowing for plenty of sightseeing opportunities!

The main event will run from Monday, June 19th through Wednesday, June 21st. Master Classes, training, and other activities will be held on the 18th, 22nd, and 23rd. We highly encourage you to attend all days, but especially look forward to seeing you at the main event.

This amazing and unique venue is afforded to us through the tireless efforts of the DC and Baltimore Perl Mongers. Many members of the excellent organizing committee for the annual DC-Baltimore Perl Workshop has joined The Perl Conference organizing committee to make this year’s Perl Conference one of the best.

We’ll be opening the new website, registration, call for talks, etc over the next few months. Please continue to watch your email for future updates.

Chad continues working on the Test 2 Manual, with the following news:

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