I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.
I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.
PerlNet and The Perl 5 Wiki
A couple of days ago Schwern posted an announcement unveiling The Perl 5 Wiki. There's been a lot of discussions regarding this, including on mailing lists, use.perl and IRC. Throughout the discussions PerlNet is mentioned regularly. As PerlNet was my initial creation, I'm sure that some of you may be wondering what my thoughts are about all this. To be honest, so have I.
PerlNet was founded in the spirit of openness and sharing. I wanted a place where members of the Perl community, in particular the Australia/New Zealand (ANZ) Perl community, could interact. I wanted businesses to show off what they were doing with Perl. I wanted individuals to talk about what they were creating. I wanted those just taking their first steps into Perl to able to find people they could ask for help, communities they could feel comfortable entering. Fundamentally, I wanted, and still want, the ANZ Perl community to grow.
In this regard, I feel that PerlNet has been a modest success. We host the content for Sydney.pm, and much of the content for Melbourne.pm. We've got a short list of businesses that offer Perl services, although it's not as big as the list of businesses who I know are using Perl. We get bunch of contributions after most Melb/Syd.pm meetings, depending upon the eagerness of the individuals present to do summaries and take notes.
PerlNet has also been successful in developing content on other topics. We've got a great page on Catalyst, an excellent page on testing, and a a list of IDEs and editors. I refer to these all the time, and refer my students to them as well.
Unfortunately, these pages aren't seeing much activity anymore. There still many stubs that have never grown, and are unlikely to do so any time soon. Having a wiki is about having a community, and about the creation of content. I think that PerlNet is still doing well with the creation of ANZ content, but it's stalled for material beyond that.
As such, I welcome the new Perl 5 Wiki. It's a chance to develop content that PerlNet's not been successful in creating, and a chance of taking existing good content and turn it into something really great. PerlNet was founded in the spirit of sharing, and sharing with The Perl 5 Wiki is a logical and natural continuation of PerlNet's ideals.
Schwern has given me enough reasons to believe that The Perl 5 Wiki will succeed, and I know from many years of working on wikis that the initial growth phase is critically important. I've had discussions with many of the more active contributors, and there seems to be almost universal support in the relocation of non-ANZ content to The Perl 5 Wiki where appropriate.
Our last real stumbling block actually deals with licensing. PerlNet and The Perl 5 Wiki solicit contributions under different conditions, and there are some incompatibilities between the two. We've got some good people working on the best way to overcome this, and I hope to soon have a way that PerlNet contributors can easily mark their content as Perl 5 Wiki friendly.