Help me update my Perl Myths talk for 2009

I’m going to be speaking at the OSS BarCamp in Dublin in September. Given the likely audience I think my Perl Myths talk would be a good fit.

It needs updating though, and that’s where you can help

It’s a strongly fact base talk with lots of graphs, numbers, and references. A lot has happened in the Perl community since I wrote the talk over 18 months ago!

Lots of the information needs to be checked and updated. The jobs graphs are easy, as are the basic CPAN numbers.

I’d like to get updated versions of: the graph of CPAN uploads (slide 23), test counts for perl 5.10.1 (slide 44), the graph of cpan-testers reports (slide 47).

One item that’s not in the slides, which were written in Feb 2008, but is in the screencast made later at OSCON (at 7:00) is the statement that “One quarter of all CPAN distributions have been updated in the last 4 months! Half of all in the last 17 months!” That’s an impressive and important statistic but it need updating. I think I got that from Schwern’s excellent “Perl is unDead” talk, but I don’t know how he got the figures or, more importantly, how to update them. (And seems down so I can’t get the slides.)

At OSCON I also talked about myths relating to Perl 6 (again, not in the old slides, but starting at 19:20 in the screencast). I’d like to cover Perl 6 when I talk in Dublin in September, but the status of Parrot and Perl 6 has changed in the last 18 months even more than Perl 5. So I need help with good sources of hard data for Parrot and Perl 6, similar to what I have in the screencast but updated.

More generally, I’m also looking for new sources of information — hard data about the vigourous health of perl and its community. Have you seen any relevant talks/slides or blog posts you can recommend?

Can you help with any of the above?

Thank you in advance!

12 thoughts on “Help me update my Perl Myths talk for 2009

  1. Here are some links which may help:


    To give some context to last link… Perl was at 1% on Github at end of last year. It jumped to 3% (turn of year?) and then upto where it is now (6%). While these are adoption fuelled rates it probably still makes Perl the quickest growing language on GitHub in past 10 or so months (NB. historical figures are memory recalled so need verification!).


  2. I can point you to a recent post of mine in which I am looking for some Measurable objectives for the Perl ecosystem. There are some pointers to data and sources that might be interesting.

    Mark Keating had a post about Perl is alive, kicking and stronger than ever! with some graphs and data taken from a presentation on YAPC::EU.

    I’d be also glad if you could mention Padre the Perl IDE that grew from nothing to a good editor with some refactoring capabilities in year. If you are looking for numbers and graphs then the commit rate of the project and the growth in contributors might be interesting.

  3. I don’t know if this is a popular myth, but in my opinion it got pretty much buzz recently. I mean “Perl sucks because of lack of X in its core” myth, with the main point being the OO, implemented with Moose.

    I would rather say “Perl rocks because of lack of X in its core, and at least one implementation of X on CPAN”. If Moose started as a core extension, its development would be much, much slower. Not to mention the increased size of the core…

    I think that having reasonably small and flexible core beefed with CPAN gives one the ability to “build one’s own Perl”, extending the language only with bits relevant to the specific task. And on the other hand, it gives the maintainers of those bits more flexibility, thus making the development faster.

    Just my .02$

  4. You may find it useful to mine the data from For instance, here is a person who has started exploring the differences in weekday vs weekend usage of different languages. He left out perl, though. You may find other useful questions to explore in that data.

  5. Hi Tim.
    Having recently done my The Statistics of CPAN talk, I ran ALOT of numbers passed everyone, both in Pittsburgh (YAPC::NA) and Lisbon (YAPC::Europe) and got a lot of interest. Pittsburgh got a 20min talk, while Lisbon got a 5 minute lightning talk and both talks are now available online:

    The Statistics of CPAN
    The (Abridged) Statistics of CPAN

    In addition the CPAN Testers Statistics site got an update while I was in Lisbon too. There are now three sets of pages that are specifically about the CPAN statistics:

    CPAN Trends
    CPAN Leaderboard
    CPAN Statistics

    The trends graphs look at the overall uploads to CPAN and the new uploads to CPAN. The latter is very interesting in that it highlights that we are seeing over 200 brand new distributions (as in .. never appeared on CPAN before) being uploaded to CPAN every month and around 40 brand new authors uploading their first CPAN distribution each month. The first graph just show how many distributions are being uploaded each month and how many authors are uploading. As I say in my talk, there are no signs in the last 10 years that CPAN has ever felt anything but growth!
    Feel free to use graphs, numbers, etc at will. If you need any other data, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
    Now I’m gutted I can’t make Dublin ;)

  6. Parrot binaries for windows are available on
    This gives the following statistics (sum of downloads in the 2 first months):

    chromatic 0.5.0 2007-Nov-20 “Caulked Snack” 49
    Jonathan 0.5.1 2007-Dec-18 “Hatachi” 46
    Bob 0.5.2 2008-Jan-15 “P.e. nipalensis” 73
    Patrick 0.5.3 2008-Feb-20 “Way of the Parrot” 17

    Barney 0.6.0 2008-Mar-18 “P&P” 33
    Jerry 0.6.1 2008-Apr-15 “Bird of Paradise” 70
    chromatic 0.6.2 2008-May-20 “Reverse Sublimation” 86
    smash 0.6.3 2008-Jun-17 “Beautiful Parrot” 172
    Barney 0.6.4 2008-Jul-15 “St. Vincent Amazon” 185

    Bob 0.7.0 2008-Aug-19 “Severe Macaw” 306
    Patrick 0.7.1 2008-Sep-16 “Manu Aloha” 493

    particle 0.8.0 2008-Oct-21 “Pareto Principle” 511
    chromatic 0.8.1 2008-Nov-18 “Tio Richie” 567
    Whiteknight 0.8.2 2008-Dec-16 “Feliz Loro” 523

    chromatic 0.9.0 2009-Jan-20 “From Outer Space” 387
    kjs 0.9.1 2009-Feb-17 “Final Countdown” 287

    Allison 1.0.0 2009-Mar-17 “Haru Tatsu” 1252
    Francois 1.1.0 2009-Apr-21 “Half-moon Conure” 415
    Infinoid 1.2.0 2009-May-19 “Bird Brain” 395
    Whiteknight 1.3.0 2009-Jun-16 “Andean Swift” 554

    cotto 1.4.0 2009-Jul-21 “Mundo Cani” 281

    The growth started in June 2008, before it’s flat and low.
    Parrot 1.0.0 has a special effect.

  7. One indicator of Perl’s growth might be the number of accounts at (and other such sites). I get the impression that there are new users joining and some becoming active (rather than lurking), based on searching the user list for the last day or week. There might be seasonal variations, eg, a Summer slowdown, followed by a rise in the Fall season. There was a recent security breach, which might affect the number of users also.

  8. Pingback: Is your Perl community visible? « Not this…

  9. Pingback: Perl Myths and Mongers in Dublin « Not this…

Comments are closed.