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Perl 5 Core Hackathon (p5hack) Report

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perl5-hack-logo-04.jpg

(Graphics credit to Leonardo Maia.)

Thanks to The Perl Foundation and our beloved sponsors, a large portion of the critical contributors to the Perl 5 Porters (p5p), the core group of Perl 5 developers, were able to get together on November 11th, 2016 at the Booking.com headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, for our very first Perl 5 Core hackathon, nicknamed Perl 5 Hack.

This is our report.


It was a four-day event, composed of discussions (centralized and specialized) on a myriad of important topics, knowledge sharing, and cooperative hacking. It provided us with the ability to cut down several months worth of discussions and loss of time due to timezone differences.

We worked on several topics, such as the Configure phase, core modules, security updates to Perl library loading order ("dot in @INC€), improving compilation under C++11, Core API and internals, replacements for the buggy utf8 IO layer, conditional lexical variable warnings, and deparsing some internal warnings information (${^WARNING_BITS}).

This alone would have been quite the fit, but we also achieved a few things along with those discussions. Some of our achievements include:

  • Cleaning up dead hints code (pre-ELF)
  • Improved our release guide
  • Improved our Configure process
    • Removing hundreds of complicated C conditionals
    • Faster Configure script
  • Cleaned up our install output
  • Improved our API documentation
  • Massive speed improvements to core modules
  • Explored the new Test2 testing framework for Perl
  • Reviewed and listed all current deprecations
  • Tied all deprecations to an exact version, to improve transparency and communicate better our intentions regarding deprecated features and syntax
  • Cleaned up core code:
    • Removed obscure and unused SVs
    • Removed dead code
    • Moved Unicode::Normalize to upstream blead
  • Had done optimizations, such as when assigning to references.
  • Reduced memory usage in core modules: Data::Dumper and Time::Local.
  • Fuzzed core modules
  • Have rewritten much of our readline implementation
  • Introduced the indented HEREDOC feature, being released in the upcoming 5.26

We raised a lot of topics and we made numerous important and valuable changes to the core code and core utilities, but we have also held in-depth discussions on the following topics:

  • Our COW implementation and where to take it in the future
  • Efficiency of our hash bucket sizing
  • Overloading indication
  • Our policy on editing dual-life modules
  • OP tree cloning
  • Subroutine Signatures and their introspection
  • The internals of the Perl to C compiler and what may be gleaned from it on improving perl
  • The contribution hurdles when working with RT
  • Vulnerability triage, classification, and handling - covering our security handling policies
  • EBCDIC-portability
  • Unicode (and specifically grapheme delimiters)
  • Regular Expression internals
  • Vtable-based hashes

Most of these have led to changes in policy, improvements or cleanups in core, and a "leg-up" on additional research into those topics.

All in all, despite it only being the first hackathon, it had already proved successful and beneficial. For this reason we intend to holding future hackathons, while both preparing better for them, as well as communicating better our work on them onward to the community.

Thank you to all attendees: Aaron Crane, Abigail, Brian Fraser, Dagfinn Mannsåker, Dave Mitchell, Dennis Kaarsemaker, Gonzalo Diethelm, H. Merijn Brand, John Lightsey, J. Nick Koston. Karl Williamson, Leon Timmermans, Lukas Mai, Matthew Horsfall, Mattia Barbon, Nicholas Clark, Nicolas Rochelemagne, Sawyer X, Steffen Mueller, Stevan Little, Todd Rinaldo, Viekntiy Fusenov, and Yves Orton,

And thank you to The Perl Foundation for helping in organizing this event, and to all of our sponsors for contributing and assisting in this event: Our Diamond Sponsors, Booking.com; our Platinum Sponsors of cPanel and Craigslist; Silver Sponsors, Bluehost; and Bronze Sponsors of Assurant, Grant Street Group and Signature Information Solutions, and to FastMail, for their support of this, and future Perl Foundation activities.

A special thank you to the Perl community for the support it has given us and to the Perl 5 Porters group.

Sawyer X and Todd Rinaldo, Perl 5 Hackathon organizers.

Dave Mitchell writes:

I spent last month mainly getting Scope::Upper working on 5.24.0. It broke heavily after the context stack reworking that came with 5.23.8, due to its heavy reliance on the internal details of perl's context stack and scope exit behaviours.

I don't intend in general spending so much time again on fixing up such CPAN modules; it's just that once I had started, I wanted to see it through to completion.

Summary

  • 1:10 [perl #127834] @INC issues
  • 60:51 [perl #127875] Blead breaks Scope::Upper
  • 6:19 [perl #127915] $=x~0 segfaults Perl 5.24.0-RC1-2-gde1d2c7
  • 0:33 [perl #128225] substitution within (?{}) causes segmentation fault
  • 0:53 disallow 'require ::foo'
  • 2:30 fix build warnings and smoke failures
  • 0:30 fixup CPAN distributions affected by context changes (Coro)
  • 10:38 process p5p mailbox

83:24 TOTAL (HH::MM)

As of 2016/05/31: since the beginning of the grant:

137.3 weeks
1920.5 total hours
14.0 average hours per week

There are 80 hours left on the grant.

In this issue

  • Register today! Passes still available

  • Q & A with Larry Wall

  • Sunday Arrival Dinner

  • Tuesday night Social: Desserts and Drinks

  • Tutorials

  • Wednesday Night Pull Request Challenge

  • Call for Speakers: Lightning Talks

  • Call for Volunteers

  • 2017 Venue Proposals Open!

YAPC::NA::2016 Call for Speakers

The YAPC::NA::2016 call for speakers is now open! The Yet Another Perl Conference is a high-quality, inexpensive technical conference that celebrates the Perl programming language. The conference is accessible to everyone, regardless of experience, yet it remains valuable to the most skilled programmers. Each year the conference attracts hundreds of programmers from around the world, including luminaries such as Larry Wall, Ricardo Signes, and Damian Conway. We hope you will consider applying to present at this exciting event!

YAPC::NA::2016 will be held in Orlando, Florida June 20th-22nd, 2016.

Community Heroes: Liz and Wendy

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Raising Hopes, Raising Joy and Raising Money

When you travel to Perl conferences, or talk on Perl channels, you will at some point hear about (or if you are fortunate meet in person) Liz and Wendy. Many of you reading this will already be familiar with the both of them and perhaps, like me, you will already have a deep respect for them as well.

Liz and Wendy have been cornerstones of the Netherlands Perl community and the European community for more years than any of us care to count (though no doubt Wendy could tell us). They were the owners of a succesful Perl consultancy that sponsored a number of events for many years and since ending that company they have branched into new directions which has seen them further associating with, and promoting, Perl.

I doubt that anyone realises the vast number of things they do to help the community, and I can gurantee that right now they are both feeling abashed that I am writing about them. But without them community projects such as Send-A-Newbie, PerlQA, YEF, YAPCs, EPO, CPAN Testers, numerous Workshops, Perl track at FOSDEM etc.; would either be struggling or not exist at all.

Whenever you meet Liz and Wendy at a conference you will find Liz working hard with the Perl6 developers, speaking on Perl6 and running hackathons.

Liz hacking on material

But you will find Wendy everywhere else. Either manning a stall selling merchandise, books and giving away promotional material for Perl; helping organisers in any way she can; bringing the largest collection of Perl books to events; generally socialising and being one of the highest points of the Hallway Track.

wendy manning a stall

During the Summer conference season Liz and Wendy drove around Europe with a car packed full of camels, books and merchandise, promoting and supporting the community. While doing so they sold books for many Perl authors and patches to support Perl5 and Perl6 development.

This is no small effort, they were not paid for this, this was simply out of the dedication they have to our community. They raised €2,000 (two thousand Euros) for Perl5 and Perl6 from the sale of patches and auctioning of merchandise. That's fifteen Perl6 patches, fifteen Perl5 patches, t-shirts and various small items. I should also note that many in the Perl community gave 'wild' donations to help the Perl Foundation. Gordon Banner lost out on a bid to buy a t-shirt but still donated his losing bid (thanks Gordon).

All of this is valuable to both the Perl Foundation, the local conferences, and all of us in the community.

But it doesn't end there. They are probably going to despair of me for telling you this but the total donation was matched by Liz and Wendy. The only comment they made on delivering this to the TPF was this:

"it is mostly grassroots driven. People had fun buying the patches and the shirt, and several people expressed their wish we would do this more often, and that it was a bit sad that we did not have more patches. It was fun."

They worked hard, they gave their time, their experience and their love to the community. Their wish is that they could do it more as it 'was fun' for the community. They praise the grassroots, the people who came to the events, who took the time to talk, who took a sticker or bought a book, and if they had no money to buy a patch donated what they could.

Liz and Wendy do these things because they cherish and honour their community. I am proud that I cherish them just as much. They are truly 'community heroes'.

YAPC::NA::2015 Closes Sold-Out Conference

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As we close YAPC::NA in Salt Lake City, we want to thank everyone who attended, organized, and sponsored this year's conference. Without our community coming together in support, we wouldn't have such a great event! This year, YAPC sold-out at 340 attendees with a reported attendance of over 350.

Specifically, The Perl Foundation would like to thank our local organizing team for all of their hard work. David Oswald and his team from the Salt Lake Perl Mongers worked diligently to organize the local venue and local volunteers. We also want to thank the staff at Little America for all of their help and support.

With the introduction of our new sponsorship programs, we are excited to announce that YAPC this year boasted 14 sponsors! We'd like to thank each of our sponsors for helping make YAPC possible, and playing such an important role in our event. Our job fair offered a great opportunity for our participants to connect with all of our wonderful sponsors and learn about career openings.

We hope that everyone in attendance, as well as those who took part in YAPC via our live streaming, enjoyed the talks this year. We'd like to thank our speakers for their effort in preparing and presenting to such a high standard. Thank you to John Anderson and Jayce Hall for organizing our speakers this year.

We we like to thank our keynote presenters this year - Seth Johnson, Larry Wall, and Phil Windley. We would also like to thank Ricardo Signes for hosting the Q&A session with Larry.

This year we also introduced a beginner's track for new Perl developers. We'd like to thank Karen Pauley and Ya'akov Sloman for organizing the track.

We would like to say "thank you!" to our TPF volunteers, board members, and committee members, namely conference chair Health Bair for his work organizing YAPC, as well as board treasurer Dan Wright.

Perhaps most importantly, we want to thank YOU! Thank for you joining us this week in Salt Lake, and thank you for your commitment to The Perl Foundation and the Perl Community.

Earlier this month The Perl Foundation's Board Treasurer Dan Wright announced that ZipRecruiter (@ZipRecruiter) has joined to support TPF and YAPC::NA as a Silver Sponsor. Not only will their sponsorship assist with YAPC::NA::2015 in Salt Lake City, but they will be supporting the efforts of The Perl Foundation year-round.

"ZipRecruiter has used perl from our company's inception, and we've benefitted greatly from the language, CPAN and the perl community," said Will Redd, Co-Founder at ZipRecruiter.

ZipRecruiter's web-based platform streamlines the hiring process by enabling companies to post a job to 100+ job boards with 1 click and to manage all applicants through a simple online interface. By providing a central location for finding, screening and tracking applicants, ZipRecruiter helps employers make the best hiring decisions quickly and at a fraction of the cost of traditional job boards.

By supporting The Perl Foundation year-round, ZipRecruiter's sponsorship will not only be applied to TPF conferences, but also to the development of Perl, training of new Perl programmers, and other TPF initiatives. "Perl has been an important factor in our success, and we're happy to be able to give back to the community. We're also sponsoring TPF to help get the word out to Perl programmers that there's another company that's doing significant new software development projects using perl," added Redd.

To learn more about ZipRecruiter visit www.ziprecruiter.com or follow them on Twitter @ZipRecruiter. Would you like to be a Perl Foundation or YAPC::NA sponsor? More information can be found at http://www.yapcna.org/yn2015/sponsors.html#become-sponsor

About TPF

The Perl Foundation - supporting the Perl community since 2000. Find out more at www.perlfoundation.org.

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