I confess that I am, and have long been, a Perl resident alien. I have used Perl 3, 4 and 5 professionally for over a decade, beginning in tech support in Seattle, ending in application development in DC. But I have done so without ever becoming a citizen of Perl. I have never released anything on CPAN or participated in mailing lists and IRC. I have not written in a use.perl.org journal, and I have not attended a YAPC. I have just hacked away Perl in solitude, even when part of a development team.
But back in July, that all changed.
"I wonder," I thought, "how the various Perl 6 projects are coming along?"
So I svn'ed myself a copy of parrot and pugs (this was before #perl6 people converted me to SVK), and proceeded to build.
I built parrot first- though I ended up falling back to the tarball, never getting my bleeding edge checkout to compile all the way through.
Then I built Pugs. Ah, beautiful Pugs.
I think it was about ten seconds later that I was pasting some code from one of the Synopses into Pugs.
Lo and behold! It didn't work.
Not easily discouraged, I logged on to #perl6, and asked if I was doing something wrong.
Within ten minutes, I had a commit bit. If you have one, you know how easy this is to get, but if you don't you probably think it's a pretty big honor, like I did at the time.
Within a week, I had written several tests and updated several more test files.
Within a month, I had written my first Perl 6 script (ext/ca_wolfram.pl, if you have a Pugs repository handy).
Within two months, I had made small contributions to Pugs itself (added sprintf("%b",... to Prelude.pm, changed meta to META in Pugs.Prim, etc.).
I even asked a question on perl6-language.
And Larry-Frikkin-Wall-Himself actually responded. Larry Wall! To me!
Just this week, I have added Automata::Cellular version 0.1 to the Pugs repository.
And today... today I am writing a use.perl.org journal.
How did this all happen? Why the sudden change?
Well, I logged on to #perl6, and asked my question. In retrospect, it was kind of a dumb question, and I probably didn't ask it as nicely as I might have. But instead of being met with ridicule, silence, or any other unwelcoming derision, I was summarily informed that I had found an unimplemented feature.
Audrey then asked me for my email address, which I gave her.
She sent me a commit bit, told me to add myself to AUTHORS (what?!), and to then submit a test.
And now, on this day, I find myself a citizen of Perl. May there always, and forever be, more than one way to do it.