APM: The Book Of RPerl
wbraswell at hush.com
Mon Sep 23 04:21:32 PDT 2013
The Book Of RPerl
A True Story
Written By Will The Chill
AKA The Voice In The Wilderness
>From Pungenday, Bureaucracy 44th, YOLD 3179
To Setting Orange, Bureaucracy 46th, YOLD 3179
Table Of Contents
Chapter 0: Hello, World
Chapter 1: Of Saints & Wizards
Chapter 2: Onion Ring To Rule Them All
Chapter 3: A LAMP In The Dark Ages
Chapter 4: A New Hope
Chapter 0: Hello, World
Harken, brethren! Harken, brothers and sisters in programming, to The
Voice In The Wilderness. I am The Voice, bringing you glad tidings of
a great joy.
The Voice will fall upon many deaf ears. They that have ears to hear,
let them hear.
The Voice will be rejected as sacrilegious by many leaders. They that
have the heart to lead themselves, let them follow their hearts.
The Voice is one of you, a programmer among programmers, a coder among
coders, a hacker among hackers.
Verily I say unto thee, The Voice speaks Truth via allegory in the
wilderness of confusion.
Chapter 1: Of Saints & Wizards
In our digital world of Cyberia, created by The Great Programmer Of
All Programmers, live many beings.
There are the masses, the common folk, known as Users, generally
unaware and uninterested in the activities of the Technicians around
them except when inconvenienced. The Users' existence provides a
purpose for Cyberia's existence: the Users use Cyberia and Cyberia is
used by the Users.
All Non-Users are Technicians, having achieved varying levels of
mastery over the vast expanses of Cyberia. The Technicians' existence
also provides a purpose for Cyberia's existence: the Technicians
improve Cyberia and Cyberia is improved by the Technicians.
Chief among the Technicians are the Programmer Guild, the engineers
who create and repair the many building blocks of Cyberia. Second
among the Technicians are the SysAdmin Guild, the authorities who hold
the keys to protect Users and operate Cyberia's complex machinery,
built by the Programmer Guild.
The Programmer Guild is made of many clans and houses and orders, and
it is among the Programmer Guild that the fate of Cyberia shall always
There are the tinkerers, known as Hackers, and their sometimes
malicious security cousins, the Crackers.
There are the Gurus, sitting in the clouds atop their mountains of
code, sometimes attracting travellers seeking wisdom.
There are the Wizards, striding through the forests and wilderness,
capable of wielding magic beyond the understanding of mere mortals.
There are the Legends, known after their own lives as laying the
foundations of our ever-expanding Cyberia. The Hall of Legends
includes von Neumann, The Royal Society's Babbage and Turing, and the
Countess of Lovelace.
There are the Saints, known in their own lives as capable of
performing miracles and showing great compassion toward humanity.
There are the Monks, studying and meditating in their monasteries,
held in awe of the Saints, silent in reverence of the Great
There are the Prophets, kin to The Voice, bearing a multitude of
messages. True Prophets speak from the Great Programmer. False
There are the Sith Lords, leading their empires and battling one
another, driven by their insatiable lust for gold and power. Darth
Gates and Darth Jobs are falsely revered by many as Saints or even
Legends. The greatest among the Sith is he who spreads widest their
weapons of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. The methods of the Sith
include embracing, extending, and extinguishing the lights of lesser
There are the Jedi Masters, sworn enemies of the Sith, capable of
wielding The Force to great effect. Master Shuttleworth leads the Jedi
There are the Jedi Knights, the code soldiers who fight the Sith every
hour of every day, following the guidance of their Masters and the
There is a powerful old Empire of blue, capable of both great good and
great evil. They struggle to keep hold over their own lands.
There is a powerful new Empire of many colors, also capable of both
great good and great evil. Founded by Hackers, their creed began as Do
No Evil, but it is no longer.
There are 3 Holy Saints elevated above the rest. In YOLD 3149, Saint
RMS gave to Cyberia the tools of GNU and the lawfulness of the GPL, in
the form of a Wildebeest. In YOLD 3157, Saint Linus gave to Cyberia
the operating systems of Linux, in the form of a Penguin, married to
the Wildebeest. In YOLD 3153, Saint Larry took artistic license and
the Wildebeest, and gave to Cyberia the programming languages of Perl,
in the forms of an Onion and a Camel and a Pumpkin and a Butterfly.
Chapter 2: Onion Ring To Rule Them All
In the beginning was the word, and the word was power, the power of
programmability. The power to make easy things easy, and hard things
possible. The power of digital magic.
Saint Ritchie and Saint Thompson gave to Cyberia the holy gifts of
Unix and C, the very first gifts of real magic in the land, and the
people of Cyberia saw that it was good. Yet the small taste of magic
in Unix and C was not enough to slate the growing thirst of the
fledgling Programmer Guild. Thus it was decreed to be the beginning of
the First Age of Cyberia on Sweetmorn, Chaos 1st, YOLD 3136.
And so it came to pass that Saint Larry gave to Cyberia the gift of
Perl in YOLD 3153, in the form of a high magic Onion of many layers,
and the people of Cyberia saw that it was good. Jedi Master O'Reilly
and Saint Larry gave further gifts of Perl to Cyberia, in the form of
a magic Camel and other lesser animals. Perl's magic granted its
wielder the ability to achieve complex solutions which were previously
impractical or impossible. Perl's magic acted as glue between
terminally incompatible systems. Perl's magic caused inspiration and
disgust, beautiful code and disastrous code. Perl's magic compressed
entire programs into a single line of code. Each Perl was more magic
than the last, culminating in the 5th Perl, and all Programmers who
rode upon the Camel or partook of the Onion became members of The
Great Perl Brotherhood.
Upon the Camel, Saint Larry gave to Cyberia the 3 Great Virtues Of A
Programmer: Laziness to reduce overall energy expenditure, Impatience
to have the computer anticipate your needs, and Hubris to avoid the
disapproval of your fellow Programmer. The gift of Perl was the gift
of a Swiss Army Chainsaw, it was the gift of a multitude of
backronyms, it was the gift that Does What I Mean. The Perl Monks came
to be, and divided themselves into many ranks leading to Papacy, and
their Perl Monastery thrived for an age in Cyberia. Saint Larry taught
his disciples to Have The Appropriate Amount Of Fun, and to Let Many
Flowers Bloom. The Perl Monks enjoyed poetry and golf and other
The Perl Monks befriended others among The Great Perl Brotherhood, and
between them a Library was built, known as the CPAN. By their hands,
the walls and contents of the Library were wrought, and The Great Perl
Brotherhood beheld the Library as a shining Light of shared knowledge
among the Programmer Guild. The Perl Foundation came to be, an order
of custodians entrusted with keeping secure the sacred names and
symbols of The Great Perl Brotherhood, and officiating meetings of The
Great Perl Brotherhood, known as the YAPC. In many cities the Perl
Mongers came to be, a loose fellowship of Hackers upon many different
quests. Another shining Light, in the form of a LAMP, was created by
the cooperation of the Wildebeest, the Penguin, and the Camel. Drawn
by the Twin Lights of the Library and the LAMP, a number of powerful
Jedi, Gurus, and Wizards came to join The Great Perl Brotherhood,
marking the height of the First Age of Cyberia.
In those days there was no Perl King beyond Saint Larry, and to the
people of Cyberia he was always more Saint than King. The P5P came to
be, an order of custodians entrusted with keeping stable the sacred
magic and source code of Perl 5 itself, in the form of a Pumpkin. The
head of the P5P order was given the title of Pumpking, and from YOLD
3160 onward the Pumpkings ruled over the Patch Pumpkin with great care
and solemn responsibility. Cyberia was built upon the backs of the
Wildebeest, and the Penguin, and the Camel; yet the Pumpkin was not
perfect, and many Monks murmured against the Pumpkin, and a chalice of
the Programmer Guild's sacred nectar was ritualistically sacrificed as
an omen. The Pumpkin's high magic became a burden and slowed the
Camel's trot to a crawl, working knowledge of the Pumpkin's innards
was generally inaccessible, and the Onion's layers spawned a multitude
of competing child languages.
And so it came to pass in YOLD 3166 that Saint Larry left the Camel
and Pumpkin, and taking a bite of the Onion, walked into the
wilderness in search of further communion with The Great Programmer Of
Chapter 3: A LAMP In The Dark Ages
It was foretold that Saint Larry would perform a miracle before
Christmas, and it may yet come to pass, but the prophecy did not come
to pass in those days. Instead, Saint Larry undertook a great quest of
many seasons, revealing the Camel's illness with the Apocalypses, and
yet the Camel did not die. And so it came to pass that Saint Larry
gave to Cyberia the gift a new Perl, the 6th Perl, in the form of a
Butterfly, a younger sister of the Camel and a further embodiment of
the spirit of the Onion. The Butterfly was meant to make easy things
trivial, hard things easy, and impossible things hard.
Yet though they were siblings, the Camel and the Butterfly were
incompatible. The Great Perl Brotherhood was rent asunder, brother
against sister, parent against child, Camel against Butterfly. Some
followed Saint Larry to feed and nurture the new Butterfly, some
stayed behind to tend the Camel and Pumpkin. Few pledged loyalty to
both the Camel and the Butterfly. Many abandoned The Great Perl
Brotherhood, never to return. Wielding a rough cleaver, The Great
Programmer split the Onion in twain. There was much weeping and
gnashing of teeth.
In those days, a veritable menagerie roamed Cyberia, possessing the
spirit of the Onion. There was a Ponie and a Parrot and a Pug dog and
a Moose and a Mouse and others. Many new philosophies of the Butterfly
made their way to the Camel. Still, confusion continued to spread
among The Great Perl Brotherhood, and they asked, was the Camel truth?
Was the Butterfly truth? Where was Saint Larry's Christmas miracle?
Was the Pumpkin rotting? Was the Onion dead? Many answers were
offered, yet the truth was elusive. The remaining Monks retreated
deeper into their Monastery, and a long darkness slowly settled over
The Great Perl Brotherhood.
No longer sufficient were the old ways of the Camel from the First Age
of Cyberia. The Users presented the Programmer Guild with
ever-increasing demands for richness of experience and interactivity.
The Butterfly remained too fragile and young to meet the Users' needs.
The Camel, though slowed by the burden of high magic, remained the
only trusty work animal in the Perl Monastery's stables. The
Pumpkings, though fraught with the burning flames of constant
religious infighting, maintained their fervor and the Pumpkin grew
slowly alongside the Camel. The candles in the Monastery grew fainter,
yet all was not lost.
While The Great Perl Brotherhood stumbled forward through its own dark
age, the Twin Lights of the Library and the LAMP shone without
occlusion. The foundations of Cyberia, largely built upon the back of
the Camel, were buried deeper under the newer structures built atop,
yet foundations they remained. Some of Cyberia's new structures were
built using an alchemical catalyst derived from refined juices of the
Pumpkin, but the Onion continued to fall out of favor among the halls
of learning, and young Technicians were encouraged to pursue other
And so it came to pass in YOLD 3170 that Jedi Master O'Reilly ushered
in the Second Age of Cyberia.
Chapter 4: A New Hope
Cyberia flourished in its Second Age, while the Perl Monks grew ever
more reclusive. Most of the menagerie grew ill or died. The Camel and
the Butterfly remained apart, the Onion remained split in two. The
Programmer Guild looked upon the Onion with pity and remorse. But hope
The Users embraced the Second Age, and many sacrilegious offerings
were put forth by the Sith Lords and the Empires. A vast and towering
Cloud appeared above Cyberia, bestowing great power upon those able to
tap into its surging energy. Jedi and Sith alike thrived. The
Programmer Guild expanded, while The Great Perl Brotherhood shrank.
Rumor grew of a shadow in Cyberia, whispers of a nameless fear, and so
it came to pass in YOLD 3178 that the Onion of power perceived its
time had now come.
The Voice In The Wilderness made contact with the Perl Monks on
Bureaucracy 6th, YOLD 3178, requesting aid in a quest that had
previously claimed many and been completed by none. The Voice's quest
was to return the Camel's trot, even to lighten the Camel's load and
enable a full running gallop. A gallop, by the slowest animal in
Cyberia! A galloping Camel could revive The Great Perl Brotherhood. A
galloping Camel could bring even greater prosperity to all of Cyberia,
it might even bring a new age.
After 4 days had passed, and independent of The Voice's quest, a
secret meeting of the high council of The Great Perl Brotherhood
convened in the city of the Onion on Bureaucracy 10th, YOLD 3178.
Present were the Pumpkings, Wizards, and Popes remaining loyal to the
Onion, including both those who pledged themselves to the Butterfly
and those who followed the Camel. Most importantly, Saint Larry
attended that he might bless the proceedings. The two halves of the
Onion were inspected and debated. More chalices were sacrificed, as an
omen and perhaps as an offering to The Great Programmer Of All
Programmers. At long last, the Onion's halves were rejoined and all
present accepted the charge of reunification. The Camel and the
Butterfly must be made to live together in harmony. Saint Larry agreed
to lend his magic to the cause, and to his disciples he spake these
words: "Thanks for not making me do all of this. You guys are great. I
Wizard dötNet and Wizard Urban met with The Voice on Bureaucracy
42nd, YOLD 3178. They 3 members of The Great Perl Brotherhood took
upon themselves the mantle of the Perl 11 Clan, their new number being
the sum-total of the old numbers of the Camel and of the Butterfly.
Wizard dötNet gave to the 11 Clan the charge of pluggability at the 3
main Onion layers of parser, compiler, and interpreter. Wizard Urban
and The Voice accepted the further charge of finding the Camel's
gallop, looking first to resurrect the long-dead work of the lost Monk
Beattie, only to find the rusted B::CC machinery incapable of
lightening the Camel's load. The Perl 11 Clan knew it must create its
own salvation if the Camel were ever to gallop across the mountains
and plains of Cyberia.
One quarter century after Saint Larry conceived the Onion, The Great
Perl Brotherhood met in the city of The Voice for the traditionary
YAPC, ceremonies commencing on Confusion 8th, YOLD 3179. As is
customary, a host of brethren presented themselves, with Saint Larry
blessing the proceedings as the Perl Neighborhood, where many flowers
bloom. Prevailing were the philosophies of reunification and the Perl
11 Clan. Six Paths were laid out ahead of The Great Perl Brotherhood,
in the forms of a Velociraptor and a Flamingo and a Stooge and a
Swallow and a Moth and a Sword. The quickening was finally occurring.
Any of the Six Paths may lead to the 7th Perl and Third Age of
Saint Larry spake and said "Perl 5 is a Velociraptor", and thus it is
that the Past Pumpking and Wizard MST sees the Pumpkin. With the help
of Wizard MST, it may yet be possible for the Pumpkin to be forked or
otherwise upgraded and truly take the form of a Velociraptor of
Wizard Urban drank a potion and created P2, a Perl 5 JIT in the form
of a Flamingo, the new number being the sum-total of the digits of the
Perl 11 clan.
Wizard Little spake and said "Perl is a Dead End", and then he created
Moe, an experimental 5.5th Perl in the form of a Stooge.
Wizard Worthington and Wizard Wilson created MoarVM, a Perl 6 runtime
in the form of a Swallow, cousin to the Parrot.
Saint Larry held the charge of reunification and created STD_P5, a
backwards-compatibility grammar for Perl 6 to parse Perl 5, in the
form of Moth, cousin to the Butterfly. If the Moth flies with the
Swallow, a Christmas miracle may yet occur.
The Voice In The Wilderness held the Perl 11 Clan charges of
pluggability and the Camel's gallop, and created RPerl, an optimizer
to compile low magic Perl 5 into C and C++, in the form of a Sword.
The Voice further created The Low Magic Perl Commandments, to be
followed by neophytes of the Programmer Guild and those seeking the
Camel's gallop. Holding the Sword and the Commandments and this Book,
The Voice stands firm and holds forth. For the Prophets of all ages
have foretold the creation of new minds and great vessels, thus may it
be made so by the Twin Lights and the power of Good triumphant over
Therefore I exhort thee, fellow Programmer, to aid in forging one or
more of the Six Paths.
May The Great Programmer Of All Programmers grant you Godspeed toward
the Third Age.
~ The Voice In The Wilderness
The Perl 11 Clan
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