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Learning Perl

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Perl is the child of Larry Wall, and is still being coddled by him. Bug reports and requests for enhancements generally get fixed in later releases, but he is under no obligation to do anything with them. Nevertheless, Larry really does enjoy hearing from all of us, and does truly like to see Perl be useful to the world at large. Direct email generally gets a response (even if it is merely his email answering machine), and sometimes a personal response. These days, Larry is actually acting as an architect to the "Perl 5 Porters" group, a bunch of very clever people that have had a lot to do with the last few Perl releases. If Larry got hit by a bus, everyone would be very sad for a long time, but Perl would still continue to mature under the direction of this group.

If you have a bug, Perl is shipped with a perlbug command that gathers pertinent information (including the problem as you see it) and emails it off to . At the moment, the Perl 5 Porters read this mail (along with the 20 to 100 messages they send each other every day) and sometimes answer if it really is a bug. If you try to use this address just for support, you'll get flamed, so please keep your table talk to an absolute minimum and refrain from calling out to the performers.

More useful than writing Larry directly, or sending it off as a bug, is the worldwide online Perl support group, communicating through the Usenet newsgroup comp.lang.perl.misc. If you are emailable to the Internet, but not amenable to Usenet, you can also wire yourself into this group by sending a request to , which will reach a human who can connect you to a two-way email gateway into the group and give you guidelines on how it works.

When you subscribe to the newsgroup, you'll find roughly 50 to 200 "postings" a day (at the time of this writing) on all manner of subjects from beginner questions to complicated porting issues and interface problems, and even a fairly large program or two.

The newsgroup is almost constantly monitored by many Perl experts. Most of the time, your question gets answered within minutes of your news article reaching a major Usenet hub. Just try getting that level of support from your favorite software vendor for free! If you'd like to purchase a commercial support contract for Perl, see the Perl FAQ (described earlier in "Additional Resources") for directions and availability.

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Conventions Used in This BookBook IndexAcknowledgments for the First Edition