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Eric Wilhelm (6389)

Eric Wilhelm
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Journal of Eric Wilhelm (6389)

Friday March 26, 2010
05:46 AM

Open Source Summer Perl Jobs for College Students

The Perl Foundation is participating in Google Summer of Code 2010 and will begin accepting applications from students on the 29th.

If you are a college student interested in Open Source software, now is the time to get involved.

Each year, Google offers students the opportunity to spend their summer coding on open source projects. You propose a project, and if selected, you're assigned a mentor and provided a $4500 stipend. It is a competitive program to get into, but offers an amazing amount of real-world experience and the ability to get seriously involved in an open source project of your choosing. The Perl Foundation spans a wide variety of projects including Perl 5, Perl 6, and Parrot with many great mentors knowledgeable in areas ranging from language design, virtual machines, and compilers through web and desktop applications. This program is a great chance to get more involved in the Perl community and put a substantial project worth of source code in your portfolio.

Applications are due April 9th.

Tuesday March 09, 2010
02:54 AM

Google Summer of Code is coming

The mentor org activities for this year's Google Summer of Code are getting underway.

Now is the time to get involved if you are interested in mentoring or helping The Perl Foundation find students to hack on perl, parrot, or cpan modules this summer.

Sunday September 06, 2009
08:33 PM

Combust and the "preview problem"

I've been working on Combust::Spontaneously as a solution to the "preview problem".

The problem is that it's difficult to know what your changes to the site will look like unless you've got a combust running on your local machine (combust is the template rendering engine that runs So, while you can certainly checkout some site from and make a tiny change, any non-trivial changes have had this barrier to entry where you need an apache (and some admin-fu) to see how combust would render it.

Through some subversive feats of hackenry, I've managed to wrap the combust evaluate_template() call with an HTTP::Server::Simple::Er frontend and everything else you need declared in the Build.PL's dependencies.

It's not quite cpan-and-go because combust still needs to be checked-out from git. But try it out (see 'Setup' in the combustier manpage) and see if you can't be hacking on the sites within a few minutes.

Update: this is now on the CPAN.

    cpan Combust::Spontaneously
    perldoc combustier

Saturday May 02, 2009
10:02 PM TPF grant update

Updates at

I scrapped the existing templates today and brought it up from zero using my Shebangml tools (yet another as-yet-unwritten blog post.) This might make it a pain to fit back into the combust site, but I was feeling so shackled into the existing layout that I wasn't getting anything done. Right now, it will still be a few months before this is ready to go live, so I'll ponder that in the meantime. Maybe it will be trivial to make it work within the existing framework+combust, but I just have to go with the getting-things-done approach for now.

I spent a lot of time in this last month figuring out what everybody wants from the books listing and what to do with them. Between and, there's a lot of confusion and duplication. My take is to yank the books off of the front page and put them in /books.html. It might be nice to add some of the cover thumbnails ala

At least I've gotten some new content posted (the "Getting Started" and "Modules" tutorials.) If you have critiques of the tutorial content, I welcome you to e-mail me (ewilhelm at cpan dot org) with your thoughts.

Aside: combust has caused me quite a bit of frustration on this. If anyone has successfully installed it on Debian Lenny, please let us know how. I managed to get it working on Etch, but Lenny has dropped Apache 1.x and this workstation is the last Etch holdout (which causes frustration with everything else.) Alternatively, some way to run combust without apache would be extremely useful to in general.

Thursday April 23, 2009
03:32 AM

The Future is Shrouded in History

Adam wants to dust off the Perl websites and pretty them up. This is going to be an interesting project, starting with the archeological dig through the DNS and some various site maintainer addresses.

For instance, the .html page on the front of is part of the CPAN mirrors, but it (and the code that builds the master tree) is not on the CPAN or accessible by the PAUSE admins. We might be approaching the point where not even the current "elders" know where anything is (hey, do *you* remember where the code for that random site you built 5 years ago is?)

It reminds me of remodeling a 100-year-old house, where you tear off the sheetrock to discover a door frame and you have to stop to figure out what things must have looked like 30 years ago.

Sunday April 19, 2009
02:33 AM

wanted: perl evalbot

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to create an online 'evalbot' for the latest stable version of Perl. This could be a crippled version of Perl, such that it will only run for N seconds, refuses to execute system commands or load certain modules and so forth. The goal is simply to give users a zero-footprint way to play with Perl code in their browser. Bonus points if it is easy (and safe) to host.

Has it been done? Is it possible? How difficult would it be? Is it easy enough to solve only the 80% case? Could you use AJAX and PPI to do syntax highlighting in the textarea?

Wednesday April 01, 2009
12:55 PM

Summer of Code Students Needed

If you are a student interested in Open Source (or know some students), now is the time to act to get involved in Google's wonderful Summer of Code program.

Each year, Google offers students the opportunity to spend their summer vacation coding rather than flipping burgers. You propose a project, and if selected, you're assigned a mentor and provided with a stipend. It is a competitive program to get into, but offers an amazing amount of real-world experience and the ability to get seriously involved in an open source project of your choosing.

Please help us get the word out to students and remind them that the deadline is fast approaching (noon (PDT) on Friday!)

The place to go for more info is

Friday March 20, 2009
12:03 PM

Perl in Google Summer of Code 2009

The Perl Foundation has been accepted into Google Summer of Code 2009 as a mentor organization!

Now is the time for all good Perl Mongers to encourage students to apply for the program. Qualifying students should note the April 3rd deadline, but also note that the best proposals usually arrive about one week before the deadline.

If you are interested in mentoring, sign up and add your suggestions to the project ideas page.

Saturday March 07, 2009
02:31 PM

Bringing Perl to University

Jonathan Leto and I made a trip to Seattle to talk about Perl and The Perl Foundation's involvement with GSoC at a Google Summer of Code Infosession this week. The show-of-hands of students who have used Perl was only one or two out of about 25. My presentation included a very brief overview of TPF, Perl, the CPAN, Perl Mongers, YAPC, Perl 6 and Parrot (in under 10 minutes.) I guessed that most of these things might be completely foreign to a group of CS students, but the blank stares about the CPAN were particularly striking.

Apparently the CS curriculum does not cover version control, test-driven development, project planning, bugtrackers, external dependencies, and various other real-world issues. From talking to some of the students afterwards, they are getting exposed to algorithms and data structures, but only through Java. A few asked about my "Perl is multi-paradigmatic" comment (where I mentioned procedural, object-oriented, functional, and declarative programming.) The notion that you can come at the problem from a radically different direction was just as foreign as everything else I said. I got the impression that several students might have had Perl filed under "only does web stuff" (if they had heard much about it at all.) Hopefully we helped clear-up some misconceptions and spark some interest.

Please, go tell students in your area about Perl! It seems that the universities are neglecting to mention it.

Wednesday February 25, 2009
07:46 PM

Another wrong way to filter Spam

Apparently, mail servers are now doing content-based filtering where any domain names mentioned in your mail get compared against a list of "recently registered domains", which is fetched from:

And here's the funny: just got *renewed*, so for now any attempts to write mail to your perl mongers group wherein you mention will bounce.

Sigh... attempts to fight spam always turn into some absurd exercise. Such as applying multiple layers of adhesive bandages to your very hairy back while you bleed-out through your wrists due to the fact that you've cut off your hands to keep your feet from sweating.