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TPF Programs in 2010

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Below is an overview of the programs that were financially supported by The Perl Foundation in 2010. Programs are roughly broken up into 3 categories: Events, Marketing, and Development.

Perl events

The Perl Foundation supported four conferences in 2010. Those conferences were: The North American Yet Another Perl Conference (YAPC::NA), Frozen Perl, The Pittsburgh Perl Workshop, and The Perl Oasis. Each event is expected to be self-sustaining through program fees and donations. However, TPF did provide support to each event in the form of free services. Event organizers were able to pick and choose which services they needed:

  • Use of the donate.perlfoundation.org payment gateway for the various events to receive registration fees and sponsorship contributions. Each event received 100% of the amount contributed, any transaction fees were covered by TPF. In the course of a year this works out to over $2,500 in event sponsorship.
  • Event liability insurance, which is often required by event venues. The liability policy costs TPF over $1,000 to maintain per year.
  • Use of TPF as an established legal entity when required to enter into contracts with event venues and contractors. This freed event organizers from needing to spend time and expenses related to establishing their own organizations for each event.
  • Handling all disbursements to venues, caterers, contractors, speakers, etc.. All postage, wire transaction fees, and accounting expenses were covered by TPF, which cost over $500 in 2010.

In 2010, The Perl Foundation provided a $500 sponsorship of the Enlightened Perl Organization's "Send-a-newbie" program for YAPC::EU. TPF also provided a $500 sponsorship for YAPC::NA's "VIP party", an event targeted at first-time YAPC attendees.

Perl marketing

In 2010, The Perl Foundation provided $1,000 in free printed marketing materials distributed by volunteers staffing Perl advocacy booths at various non-Perl events through the year.

TPF also paid $1,600 to have professional content continuously written for the perl.com web site through the year.

In 2010, TPF spent $1,800 for trademark applications in Canada, Europe, and Japan. The Perl Foundation now holds trademarks on Perl in both the United States and Canada.

Perl development

The Perl Foundation maintained their associate membership with The Unicode Consortium in 2010 at an expense of $1,500. This membership enhances Perl developers' abilities to maintain support of Unicode within Perl. It also gives Perl a voice in contributing to the ongoing development of the Unicode Standard.

Through a development grant made possible by Ian Hague in 2008, TPF paid over $14,000 in grants for the further development of Perl 6 in 2010. At the end of this year, there is $27,000 remaining unallocated in the Perl 6 development portion of the Hague grant. Grants completed this year included:

  • Jonathan Worthington's "Rakudo Signature Improvements"
  • Solomon Foster's "Numeric and Real Support"
  • Travel support for Patrick Michaud to speak about Rakudo and recruit volunteers at conferences.

TPF was awarded a $50,000 grant from Booking.com for "further development and
maintenance of the Perl programming language". TPF has used $25,800 of those funds in the form of monthly payments to David Mitchell for his grant "Fixing Perl5 Core Bugs." This grant will be continued into 2011.

The grants committee paid over $6,000 in grants from community contributions. The following grants were completed in 2010:

  • Ricardo Signes' "Archive::Zip bugs" and "Improve Dist::Zilla's Tests, Documentation, and Structure"
  • Vadim Konovalov's "Perl Cross-Compilation for WinCE and Linux" and "Tcl/Tk Access in Rakudo"
  • Curtis Jewell's "Corporate, Embedded, and Multi-user Perl on Windows"
  • Gerard Goossen's "Changing the Perl 5 optree build process into a Abstract Syntax Tree generation and a code generation step"
  • Leon Timmermans' "Embeding Perl into C++ Applications"
  • Sebastian Riedel's "The Mojo Documentation Project"
  • Kieren Diment's "The Perl Survey"
  • José Castro and Bruno Martins' "Perlbal documentation"

In 2010, The Perl Foundation in cooperation with The Parrot Foundation sponsored 10 projects in The Google Summer of Code. TPF provided over $1,600 in support for this program, which will eventually be recovered back from Google.

Looking ahead to 2011

In 2011, we expect our areas of support to remain roughly the same. We remain committed to supporting Perl events, marketing, and development.

How you can help

Improved fundraising is a requirement to maintain the strong support of Perl provided by The Perl Foundation in 2011. If you find value in the work that is being support by TPF, please consider making a donation. To contribute, please visit https://donate.perlfoundation.org

Now that I've joined the Board of Directors for the Perl Foundation, my first action was to propose a marketing committee be set up and the board approved the proposal. It's an ambitious goal, but a useful one. In the past, we've merely had a single PR person such as Andy Lester or Joshua McAdams. The problem with this approach is that there is simply too much for them to do by themselves. The new committee is designed to break their roles down into various responsibilities, each of which has a clear, single goal. Those roles on the committee are as follows:

  1. Blogmaster
  2. Site design
  3. Market research
  4. Press releases
  5. News articles
  6. Social networking

Dan Magnuszewski is the new chair for this committee. His responsibility is primarily to summarize the actions of those on the committee and to sometimes nudge them if we need more work in this area.

There's also to be a "deputy" chair who has Dan's role and can step in if Dan is away or needs a holiday.

The roles of the various people on the committee are also lightweight. They mainly need to find people to do work in the various areas and to sometimes nudge them to do their work.

The committee and the various roles are designed to be highly autonomous on the theory that it's better that we push to get work done rather than have a heavyweight voting on each and every action. The committee is also set up with some structural issues in TPF. Currently, it's very stressful for some people because they can never delegate their responsibilities and they often have too much to do (it's very hard for a distributed volunteer organization to coordinate things).

We'll probably need to adjust the various roles in the future and further tweak things to see what does and does not work, but we're already getting a number of "behind the scenes" things done. Hopefully, great things will come out of this and we'll keep you posted on the updates.

The Perl Foundation is looking at giving some grants ranging from $500 to $3000 in November 2008.

In the past, we've supported Adam Kennedy's PPI and Strawberry Perl, Nicholas Clark's work on Perl internals, Jouke Visser's pVoice, Chris Dolan on Perl::Critic and many others (just check http://www.perlfoundation.org/grants for more references).

You don't have to have a large, complex, or lengthy project. You don't even have to be a Perl master or guru. If you have a good idea and the means and ability to accomplish it, we want to hear from you!

Do you have something that could benefit the Perl community but just need that little extra help? Submit a grant proposal by October 31.

As a general rule, a properly formatted grant proposal is more likely to be approved if it meets the following criteria

  • It has widespread benefit to the Perl community or a large segment of it.
  • We have reasons to believe that you can accomplish your goals.
  • We can afford it (please, respect the limits or your proposal should be rejected immediately).

To submit a proposal see the guidelines at http://www.perlfoundation.org/how_to_write_a_proposal and TPF rules of operation at http://www.perlfoundation.org/rules_of_operation. Then send your proposal to tpf-proposals@perl-foundation.org.

On November 1st, proposals will be made available publicly (on this blog) for public discussion, as it happened in the previous round. So, please make it clear in your proposal if it should not be public.

Note that accepted but not funded proposals in the previous round do not need to be re-submitted.
Google Summer of Code 2008 Wrap Up written by Eric Wilhelm:


Google's Summer of Code 2008 is wrapping up now and I'm very pleased with how well The Perl Foundation's students and mentors have done. The five projects which survived the halfway point have all finished with great results.

Many thanks to all of the mentors and students as well as everyone in the community who helped or supported the process. Also, thanks to Google for putting on the program and to Richard Dice and Jim Brandt at TPF.

But the end is only the beginning. We should really get started on next year now. Perl needs to do a better job of attracting students, but I'll have to address these issues in another post.

Most of the students did a great job of blogging their progress, which I think is an important part of Summer of Code for the rest of the community. If you have been following along with any of the student projects, please drop me a note or leave a comment. I would love to hear more opinions from outside of the active SoC participants. Also, please thank the mentors and students for their work. Of course, they "know" you appreciate their effort -- but it really means something if you actually send them an e-mail or say thanks on irc.

For those just joining us, here is a run-down of the SoC projects and some links.

Flesh out the Perl 6 Test Suite
    student: Adrian Kreher
    mentor: Moritz Lenz
    Blog | Code | Moritz's Recap

wxCPANPLUS
    student: Samuel Tyler
    mentors: Herbert Breunung and Jos Boumans
    Blog | Code | CPAN distribution

Native Call Interface Signatures and Stubs Generation for Parrot
    student: Kevin Tew
    mentor: Jerry Gay
    Mail | Code | (older branch)

Incremental Tricolor Garbage Collector
    student: Andrew Whitworth
    mentor: chromatic
    Blog | Code

Math::GSL
    student: Thierry Moisan
    mentor: Jonathan Leto
    Blog | Code | CPAN distribution | Jonathan's Recap

Yesterday, TPF received word from Google that our submission to be a participating organization in the 2008 Google Summer of Code project was accepted.

Our thanks to everyone involved in the application process, but especially to Eric Wilhelm who organized and drove the effort.

We will provide more details here soon.

rt.cpan.org Speed Improvements in Place

A while back, around November 2007, there was some discussion about performance problems with rt.cpan.org to the point that some found it to be almost unusable. I bring this up here because there were some suggestions that perhaps TPF could buy some new hardware. If you scroll to the bottom, you'll see Jesse Vincent jumped in and said he thought the performance wasn't a hardware problem and he could make some changes, but he needed help locating the trouble spots.

I'm happy to report that Jesse's team, led by Ruslan Zakirov, has implemented some changes and performance seems to be much better now. Even better, many of the changes made for rt.cpan.org have filtered into the regular RT codebase as of RT 3.6.6. Jesse also told me they are working to publish all the bits of rt.cpan.org that are still
locked away so that the perl community can contribute more actively.

I just wanted to say thanks to Jesse (and Ruslan) for following through on the fixes. I also want to thank Adam and others for pointing out the problems so we could address them. A public service isn't really a service if people can't use it.

Note: I applied some updates after I first published this.

What sort of programmer uses Perl? Do most Perl programmers use it as a primary language, or just write the occasional script? And are there really as few women as conventional wisdom says? Kirrily Robert wants to know, and wants anyone around the world who uses Perl to help by answering a simple five-minute survey at perlsurvey.org.


Kirrily's goal is to "take a snapshot of the Perl world as it currently stands." As an active member of the Perl community, she's often asked questions about Perl's users and is only left to "hypothesise, generalise, and hand-wave." Further, software communities can often be an echo chamber where people only hear from like-minded people. The Perl Survey is an attempt to break out of that echo chamber and hear from all Perl users around the world, regardless of skill level, not just the core users most active in vocal communities.


An interesting part of the survey is asking the respondent's salary, if they choose to release it. "I hear a lot of talk about the going rate for Perl programmers," Kirrily says, "and whether organizations that claim they can't hire Perl programmers simply aren't paying enough." Correlating results with the other data points could shed light on the topic. The survey's reach could also help users around the world. "Salary information can be very hard to find out for anywhere other than the US," says Kirrily, an Australian.


The survey will be open until September 30, 2007. Then, in October, Kirrily will be announcing the results and releasing the raw data, minus email addresses, under a Creative Commons "CC-BY" license. Her hope is that other interested people will provide their own analyses of the results.


For further information, and to participate if you use Perl at all, visit perlsurvey.org.

About TPF

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

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