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ziggy (25)

ziggy
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Journal of ziggy (25)

Friday August 09, 2002
03:41 PM

Where did our history go?

[ #7013 ]
Who says we're in a post-industrial or a post-post-industrial society? We're in the beginning of the second dark age.

Last month, O'Reilly pulled off OSCon 2002. The event that kicked this off was The Perl Conference 1.0 in 1997. The second conference was called The Perl Conference 2.0, and was held at the same location in 1998.

Now, just try to find any record of either of these events anywhere at O'Reilly.com or (the O'Reilly run) Perl.com. Most of the history of these events has vanished -- the only links that Google can find about TPC 1 allude to the fact that either (1) it happened or (2) spawned O'Reilly's conference business. The TPC 2.0 links are far fewer, but do list the six people who won $1000 awards for "best paper"s. (Yes, Damian got one.)

Sadly, the wayback machine doesn't do much better...

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  • I was at TPC 2, and at the longer sessions the presenters provided booklets that were bound copies of the slides. I have four of them - one on Advanced Perl (including my first intro to the Schwartzian transform), one on regular expressions (hand made slides by Jeffrey Friedl), one on CGI and a fourth one that escapes me at the moment. I never threw them away. There still on my desk (which I am away from for the weekend).

    If you like, I can make copies and send them to you (or someone) where they can be

    • It would be nice to have the tutorial handouts on the web, but there are some issues with that. First, people who attended those sessions had to pay extra for each half-day tutorial. Second, some of the presenters teach/taught those classes for their livelihood. That's not to say that these issues can't be resolved, just that there's a legitimate reason to hold off (at least four or five years. :-)

      What I'd like to see preserved are things like the CFP, the program and schedule, the refereed papers, new

  • Both the first two TPCs are mentioned in the Perl Timeline [perl.org]. There are links to various people's photos.

    • Yes, there are links [google.com] to be found on the web, and the perl history is a good place for them. But the [online] conference materials themselves still seem to have been lost.
      • This depends on your definition of 'lost'.

        O'Reilly, to the best of my knowledge, never had conference proceedings on-line for TPC1 or TPC2. At TPC1 we were all given a very splashy gold binder with 'THE POWER OF PERL' emblazoned on the spine to accompany the mousepad, tote bag, t-shirt and 20 pounds of other stuff I had to carry around. The binder was beautiful and had tabs for 'perl and the web', 'programming perl', perl for win32', 'user applications', website' and 'addendum'. In the front of the binder

        • This depends on your definition of 'lost'.

          As I originally mentioned, there's no reference to the older conferences anywhere on oreilly.com or perl.com. The online artifacts are no longer.

          Looking back, I did overstate the case somewhat.

          TPC2, while held in the same location, didn't distribute a binder containing all the refereed papers.

          Right. That year, they were distributed on CD, and for a while O'Reilly had put a copy of that CD online. I've got a few copies buried somewhere in the detrius

          • Is there any reason to expect ORA to keep a 5+ year archive of the conferences? The web is mercurial at best. I make PDFs of everything from web pages I find these days since, as the timeline surely illustrates in its 600+ links, things go missing very often and never return. Such is the nature of the electronic world...pull the power plug and it's gone.

            I only vaguely remember the 2.0 CD and can't seem to locate it in my pile of stuff...maybe Gnat can find an extra lying about....but I doubt it would rema

            • Is there any reason to expect ORA to keep a 5+ year archive of the conferences?

              Expect? Maybe, maybe not. There's probably more precedent and incentive for conference organizers to focus exclusively on upcoming revenue opportunities (er, conferences) than keeping an archive of past events.

              Then again, not every conference organizer is particularly interested in fostering a community, rather than making money by attracting a attendees to upcoming events. Two organizers who are trying to build healthy

              • Do YAPC and USENIX keep online archives of all their conferences? These are both community based conferences who, to the best of my knowledge, keep little of the conference proceedings online with USENIX only listing the bibliography and YAPC having abstracts and links to the authors pages sans proceedings. It takes time and someone to manage all that data to keep it online in a coherent presentation. Maybe you could volunteer to be the ORA and YAPC proceedings archivist.

    • Availability isn't that limited. They've been given away for free at the last 2 YAPC's. I don't remember if O'Reilly produced proceedings for TPC1. For TPC2 and perhaps TPC3[*], there was a CD for the proceedings. TPC4 and TPC5 had the printed books. I honestly don't even remember if there was a refereed papers track at TPC6 this year; there weren't any printed or digital proceedings either.

      Availability of the print proceedings isn't really as important as keeping an online record of the conference t

      • [*] TPC3 may have had print/photocopied proceedings, but TPC4 certainly was the first year that they were bound in a glossy volume.

        TPC3 did indeed have (paper bound) proceedings, "Perl Conference 3.0 Refereed Papers.". It's fairly hefty - slightly larger than 4.0 (which was larger than 5.0), but it has neither page numbers nor cataloging information. It does however contain some real gems such as Damian's Coy (all ten pages written in haiku), Class::Multimethods, and Tie::SecureHash papers :)

  • To begin with, in order to have a Second Dark Age there'd need to have been a First One already. And that's a highly controversial topic to boot.

    Second -- and much more importantly -- don't you see something fundamentally flawed about your approach? No? Where did you look for info about TPC? Google, and a few other places on the internet. Think '97. Think where info on that may be. What are the chances that it is on the net somewhere? Small imho. It may be -- and in fact surely is -- in personal ma

    --

    -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

    • :) Some of us spend a good bit of time collecting perlish bits that may not be readily available but, maybe in 20 years or so, will be appreciated by posterity. I have one gem that I ran across yesterday that, in light of last september, would raise a few eyebrows though it was a spoof from 2000. Ah, nostalgia :)

      If you are into perl history, join the packrats mailing list and share your archives. I just bought a honking firewire disk to consolidate my archives into one place. I always welcome more stuff.

    • You seem to me -- though I may be wrong -- to be expecting history from five years ago to be as readily available as today's, now that we have blogs and trigger-happy DV all over the place :-)

      Actually, the issue isn't really about throwing stones at O'Reilly for not making my trigger happy lifestyle as easy as I want it to be, although I do see how you could interpret it that way. The issue I want to raise is that for all of the talk about Perl community, there seems to be a distinct lack of interest

  • I'm uploading TPC3 (and the rest of OSCON1) to perl.org now. I'll post a URL when it's done.

    When the ORA online publishing group folks were removing the old conferences from the web, I told them to make sure there was a tarball archive available. I requested those archives on Friday, so we'll find out next week whether they actually listen to me or not :-)

    --Nat

    • Thanks gnat!

      Hunting through google and the wayback machine, it looked like a simple case of not finding/making a place for the old materials in a few web redesigns. Thanks for saving it.