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Perl Open Source

Craigslist Donates $100,000 To the Perl Foundation 99

Posted by samzenpus
from the have-a-few-bucks dept.
mikejuk writes "The craigslist Charitable Fund has donated $100,000 to the Perl community for Perl5 maintenance and general use by the Perl Foundation. Craigslist gets more than 30 billion views per month and it is mostly written in Perl. The entire architecture of the system is open source — a proxy array based on Perl and memcache and a backend provided by Apache, memcache, MySQL and, of course, Perl. This is a successful enterprise giving something back to open source — which is how it should be."
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Craigslist Donates $100,000 To the Perl Foundation

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  • Good on them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zakkie (170306) on Friday February 03, 2012 @09:13AM (#38913789) Homepage

    Nice from the Craigslist folks. Aren't they eBay-owned though? Anyway, good to see perl getting some loving for a change.

    • Re:Good on them (Score:4, Insightful)

      by awwaiid (936955) on Friday February 03, 2012 @09:17AM (#38913811)

      I think ebay has backed them financially (like own 25% of Craigslist), but otherwise have nothing to do with them. I suspect yahoo has plenty of Per and certainly lots of other tech, maybe they should match the donation :)

    • Re:Good on them (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SJHillman (1966756) on Friday February 03, 2012 @09:22AM (#38913831)

      In 2004, eBay bought a 25% share of Craigslist and is one of three major board members. Newmark is believed to own the largest share.

      In 2008, eBay sued Craigslist for "diluting its financial investment" - Craigslist countersued a month later.

      Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craigslist#Financials_and_ownership [wikipedia.org]

      As far as I'm concerned, Craigslist is doing everything right compared to eBay. Site is simple, fast and easy to use. Craigslist doesn't try to take a cut from the little guy. They have enough oversight to keep it from becoming spammy and to avoid legal hassles, but otherwise leaves it up to the Users.

      Is the Craigslist Charitable Fund that donated to the Perl Foundation the same as the Craigslist Foundation?

      • Re:Good on them (Score:5, Informative)

        by rudy_wayne (414635) on Friday February 03, 2012 @09:29AM (#38913879)

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7399720.stm [bbc.co.uk]

        "EBay acquired a 28.4% stake when it bought shares from a former employee who had been given equity by Mr Newmark.
        A year after the deal was completed, eBay, which had said it wanted to learn from Craigslist, started Kijiji.com, a rival international network of classified ad sites that now sells ads in all 50 US states. "

      • Re:Good on them (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday February 03, 2012 @09:32AM (#38913905) Homepage Journal

        As far as I'm concerned, Craigslist is doing everything right compared to eBay. Site is simple, fast and easy to use. Craigslist doesn't try to take a cut from the little guy. They have enough oversight to keep it from becoming spammy and to avoid legal hassles, but otherwise leaves it up to the Users.

        I agree with everything you said except for easy to use. It's technically true, but only because it doesn't do anything. There's no distance search, in fact, it is actively discouraged by carving the site up into small pieces and then disallowing scrapers, which exist anyway because they are an absolute necessity.

    • by cadu (876004)

      .... and what a "change" !

  • Kudos to Craigslist (Score:2, Interesting)

    by opentunings (851734)
    And how many other companies making extensive use of Perl will pony up?
    • by gmuslera (3436) * on Friday February 03, 2012 @09:32AM (#38913899) Homepage Journal
      Contributing code, modules, fixes, and error reporting? There are a lot that probably does that, and is not a minor thing.
      • by John Bokma (834313) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:06AM (#38914953) Homepage

        Yeah, that's my excuse, as a freelance Perl programmer. Still, each time I check Fund Drive Details [perlfoundation.org] I cry a little. Is that all some of the companies that nearly run on Perl can do? The last time this amount was donated, if I recall correctly, was a few years (!) ago by a Dutch company (not 100% sure if it was Dutch).

        Anyway, a big thanks to Craigslist. But there are plenty of companies out there that could follow. If you donate over 5K you get a nice mention on the Sponsors page. Peanuts for some, I would say.

      • You're absolutely right. The volunteers doing coding and testing, and the staff at the Perl Foundation, are doing great things. But volunteers don't (usually) pay for office or rack space.

        The past two years I've personally sent the Perl Foundation a check. Last year I used my company's matching funds to double my contribution.

        Just sayin'.

    • by Fnord (1756)

      Its been 6 years since I worked there and I haven't kept up with them, but at the time Amazon employed some core developers of Perl and some of the major libraries (I believe they paid people to work on Mason). My knowledge is very out of date however, and they may not even be as big a Perl shop as they used to be.

  • Nice to see that they make enough $ to make a donation like that, without the standard income generating popups that most websites use. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Nice to see that they make enough $ to make a donation like that, without the standard income generating popups that most websites use. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

      Craigslist is It! when you need that hook... - I mean temporary companion for that date to that important event you got stood up for at the last minute.

      • Yes, you can buy drug addicted females to exploit but you can't buy ammo, or facilitate the exchange of firearms on a person-to-person basis, no no no, that is baaaad.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday February 03, 2012 @09:35AM (#38913931)
      They provide an actual, useful service. Why should we be surprised that they turn a profit without resorting to invasive, annoying advertisements?
      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        I wish they provided it to me. I live in a big town in the UK, relatively far from any other big towns (relative by UK standards, that is), and there's no local site. I can pick any of about 4 sites centred between 30 and 40 miles away; just no good for me, for a "local ads" site.

        You could let them off by saying "you live somewhere small, and they're mostly USA" etc., but it's a symptom of their odd site design. Rather than just giving every add a "location" value, and letting you search by "miles from my l

  • Great! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dogun (7502)

    Great! Now maybe the perl folks can afford to fix their epic memory leaks that have been their bug list for the better part of a decade.

    • Re:Great! (Score:4, Informative)

      by hlub (153437) on Friday February 03, 2012 @09:44AM (#38913981)
      Epic leaks? For the better part of a decade [perl.org]?
      • by Dogun (7502)

        Ever used ithreads? Ever?

        • Ever used ithreads? Ever?

          No, and neither should you when POE, Reflex, AnyEvent, Coro, and fork() exist.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Epic leaks? For the better part of a decade?

        better part of a decade - 8 years [perl.org]
        22121 memory leaking in perl_destruct and perl_free ? open perl5 Nobody 0
        Haili.Ma@netiq.com 8 years ago 8 years ago 0


        Not sure on the legitimacy of the actual leak or the value of its epicness but it appears that 8 years is the better part of a decade. So yes, for the better part of a decade.

        • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

          by close_wait (697035) on Friday February 03, 2012 @10:21AM (#38914293)
          Its not a leak, Someone has already commented in the ticket that if you repeatedly create and destroy perl interpeters, then you need to set PL_destruct_level, because otherwise, (for efficiency), perl doesn't completely free the old interpreter, on the asumption that you're about to call exit(). So, it's just that no one got round to marking the ticket as rejected.
  • Not so altrusitic... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bazmail (764941) on Friday February 03, 2012 @09:26AM (#38913857)
    This is an investment in whats keeps them alive.
    • by Stewie241 (1035724) on Friday February 03, 2012 @10:53AM (#38914773)

      Sure, but IMO the point of open source software isn't necessarily altruism. The idea is voluntarily contributing to necessary software infrastructure.

      I like to ponder sometimes what would happen if businesses stopped purchasing MS Office licenses and instead donated 10% of the cost of an MS Office license to a development fund for an open source office package. Or the same thing with Windows, or Autocad, or pick any number of software packages. I would like to think that with 10% of the revenue you could create some fairly impressive software (and yes I am aware of many reasons why practical implementation would be difficult).

    • by glwtta (532858) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:09AM (#38915001) Homepage
      It's called 'enlightened self-interest', a much better position than altruism.
    • It's a pretty sad investment then. They're a multi-billion dollar company... one person's salary isn't exactly a huge "thank you" gift to the software you've built upon.

  • Is PERL still active (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Friday February 03, 2012 @09:56AM (#38914061)
    Ok full disclosure, I never really cared for PERL, I was always more of a Python fan myself.
    But has there really been that much real effort in the PERL community? In its hay days during the Late 90's and Early 2000's there was a lot of PERL Development, but it seems it has dropped off and PERL lost its shine. I am asking because I am more of a Python Fan and I haven't been really involved in PERL apps. But back in the day every time you tried to find an open source program to do something it required PERL... Not so much of this any more, is it because I have changed how I look for software or is it because PERL is no longer as popular as it was before.
    • by ThePhilips (752041) on Friday February 03, 2012 @10:34AM (#38914483) Homepage Journal

      In its hay days during the Late 90's and Early 2000's there was a lot of PERL Development, but it seems it has dropped off and PERL lost its shine.

      Frankly, Perl got it all more or less right already in early 2000s. So obviously there is not much development happening: Perl already works pretty well. Most new releases have mostly bug fixes - but also some minor syntax improvements and features from the Perl6.

      IOW, Perl lost its shine only in the eyes of those who are after shiny. Perl is pretty down to earth tool to get the job done.

      But back in the day every time you tried to find an open source program to do something it required PERL

      Perl defines portability properly and allows one to access quite a lot of system-specific resources - in the system-specific way. Thus it was (and in some areas still is) quite popular as the language for install scripts of all sorts.

      Even now, Perl remains one of the few power tools to be most commonly included in the fresh UNIX system installs (including Debian and Mac OS X). There is no other language/tool which is as stable and as portable: that's why it is possible and useful to include it into the OS install.

      Not so much of this any more, is it because I have changed how I look for software or is it because PERL is no longer as popular as it was before.

      IMO, Perl greatest weakness is the interface to other libraries (the PerlXS). It is not an easy task to make a Perl binding. It's fscking hard and includes lots of copy-paste. That's why Perl lacks many up-to-date bindings to many up-to-date libraries, what makes it not so suitable for many up-to-date tasks. Even Perl6 went on and pretty much excluded the XS/etc from the spec. What sucks and makes Perl6 worse (and useless to me) than the Perl5, because on top of general problem with bindings, Perl6 adds fragmentation: extensions written for different Perl6 implementation are incompatible with each other.

      • IMO, Perl greatest weakness is the interface to other libraries (the PerlXS). It is not an easy task to make a Perl binding. It's fscking hard and includes lots of copy-paste. That's why Perl lacks many up-to-date bindings to many up-to-date libraries, what makes it not so suitable for many up-to-date tasks.

        I've been looking for some things to do to improve my XS abilities, is there any specific libraries you'd like to see?

        • Up-to-date, portable and well documented Qt bindings.

          Place of portable GUI toolkit for Perl was always kind of empty. Many tried - but none remained maintained sufficiently long to become de facto standard. Most are abandoned. Few are managing to stay afloat, but sorely lack Perl-specific documentation. And I will not go with every little question to the mail lists.

          On many occasions, even Xaw-level toolkit would have been more than satisfactory - if portable. Even if primitive, there is nothing like

          • by zmughal (1343549)

            For GUI, I've had a great experience using Tkx [p3rl.org]. That is just a lightweight wrapper around the Tcl interpreter and there are nice tutorials for it at TkDocs [tkdocs.com].

            For something to make bindings easier, there is work on a ctypes for Perl [gitorious.org]. And there's also the Inline namespace on CPAN, but that makes your code a bit difficult to distribute.

    • by oneandoneis2 (777721) on Friday February 03, 2012 @10:35AM (#38914529) Homepage

      Perl is *massively* active. The main "problem" with Perl is, unlike, say, PHP, you don't see it in action: A website that makes heavy use of PHP will have lots of .php files in its URLs. A website that runs on Perl will just use good old .html.

      If you're looking for Perl by checking for "cgi-bin" then you're a long way out of date with where Perl is these days

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by John Bokma (834313)

      FWIW: Perl is the language, perl is a program that can run Perl. Case matters, and hence PERL is to me yelling.

      And yes Perl is alive and kicking, I make a living with it.

      As for lost its shine? You mean not everybody who "learned to code over the weekend" has moved to PHP or similar? I am glad for that.

    • by RDW (41497)

      But has there really been that much real effort in the PERL community?

      Yes:

      http://www.modernperlbooks.com/ [modernperlbooks.com]
      http://perl-begin.org/tutorials/modern-perl/ [perl-begin.org]

      • by doom (14564)

        You might mention that the 4th Edition of "Programming Perl" is due out this month: Programming Perl [oreilly.com]. Lately, Tom Christiansen and brian d foy have been doing quite a bit of work investigating perl's support for Unicode. I'm interested to see this book if only to see what they say about it.

    • by doom (14564)

      A few years back, Tim Bunce did some talks about: Perl Myths [slideshare.net]. You might want to take a look at it... in summary: the idea that perl is "dead" (or inactive) is ridiculous by any objective measure: it's mentioned frequently in job ads, there's a lot of activity in CPAN module development, the perl5 developers are hard at work on getting new features working (and old features working better).

      In general, I would say that the perl culture continues to be active in stealing ideas from anywhere it can (including

  • by SplatMan_DK (1035528) on Friday February 03, 2012 @10:09AM (#38914159) Homepage Journal
    Considering the role Perl (and the other software products they use) has in their business, it seems like a very small sum of money.

    Had they purchased commercial software from Oracle, IBM, Microsoft etc. to solve this task the price would have been a two-digit million-dollar figure. And probably a bunch of additional millions on top of that, for more iron to run it on.

    We should praise them for this step, but at the same time be aware that they got away REALLY CHEAP by this action. Hell, the marketing buzz it generates is probably worth half that amount by itself!

    - Jesper
    • by Sez Zero (586611)

      Considering the role Perl (and the other software products they use) has in their business, it seems like a very small sum of money. Had they purchased commercial software from Oracle, IBM, Microsoft etc. to solve this task the price would have been a two-digit million-dollar figure. And probably a bunch of additional millions on top of that, for more iron to run it on.

      So they're required to donate more because they are efficient?

      But using a project like Perl (as opposed to a commercial software product) means that contributions are more than just a monetary sum. Things like that have already been mentioned like contributing code, fixes, bug reports. I'll also throw in advocacy; they get good pub for themselves with the donation but also a strong example for The Perl Foundation for Perl in the enterprise.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      That's a silly metric. I mean, do you buy your wife (hypothetical, of courer) a mink coat every month because of all the money you saved by not having to pay hookers, maids, and chefs?
    • by ReadParse (38517)

      So how much should they have given, to make it enough to satisfy you and all the others who think that as long as they're paying less than they would have paid for the commercial alternative, they're getting off cheap?

      • I never said they should pay the same as they would have, had they used commercial software.

        I simply said they got away cheap, and that in the grand scheme of things 100K was a very small sum from a commercial perspective.

        But in case i had said anything like that - which I didn't - then I believe the answer would be: an amount equal to the value of the continued support they are getting plus 1/4 of the amount a commercial alternative would have charged for software maintenance.

        In reality probably bet
    • there's the definition of judgmental for everyone to see.
  • Does this mean, "Beat up old computer geek seeking perky young beauty queen", will someday elicit the correct queen or is that not a Perl issue?

  • Obviously 100K is much better than nothing, but it's difficult to see the odd 100K donation making much difference to a software project of the scale of perl. At the same time it's easy to demonstrate how much OS projects like perl are contributing to the economy. Perhaps after a few more SOPA-like victories the IT industry will feel empowered enough to lobby the government for some taxpayer money to support critical web infrastructure maintenance/development.
    • The government has already invested a lot of taxpayer money into developing a computer language: Ada. You could take advantage of that.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        Ada would be useless for web development, and it isn't even used for any other kind of development outside of the defense sector.

  • What do you mean a "successful enterprise"? Craigslist is not an enterprise. It's a charity. It charges no money for its services. Neither the posters nor the viewers pay. It displays no ads. It survives on donations. You may not think of the people it helps as being in need of charity, but the modus operandi of Craigslist is that of charity. So this is just one charity giving money to another charity.
    • by rhizome (115711)

      It charges no money for its services.

      It most certainly does charge for job and/or real estate ads in many cities.

      • by superwiz (655733)
        Oh? News to me. I've advertised rentals there for free plenty of times (albeit not within the last year).
    • by emazep (1041592)

      What do you mean a "successful enterprise"? Craigslist is not an enterprise. It's a charity. It charges no money for its services. Neither the posters nor the viewers pay. [...] So this is just one charity giving money to another charity.

      Nope.

      Q: Is craigslist a nonprofit?
      A: No, craigslist was incorporated as a for-profit in 1999.

      Q: How does craigslist support its operations?
      A: Posting fees for jobs in 18 metro areas, brokered NYC apartments, and therapeutic services.

      Craigslist fact sheet [craigslist.org]

      • by superwiz (655733)
        I have posted rentals. I am in NYC area. I was never requested to pay a fee.
        • by emazep (1041592)

          I have posted rentals. I am in NYC area. I was never requested to pay a fee.

          Yes of course since, unless you're a broker, your rentals posts clearly don't fall into the (already mentioned) paid categories:
          Posting fees for jobs in 18 metro areas, brokered NYC apartments, and therapeutic services.

          Being from NYC, you shouldn't have any problem in understanding your language ;-)

          In case you're still not convinced, here is an article which explains how (and how much) Craigslist makes (big) money out of its site:
          Craigslist Rakes It In [nakedapartments.com]

          And it only deals with apartment brokers.

  • well done craigslist. they are giving back to the community, as everyone should do, in a way or other. thank you craigslist (:

    the only crticism here... is perl itself. i wish it was some community better than that kludge

  • Perl is where JavaScript used to be at version 1.3 -- version 1.4 was on the horizon, it was supposed to change the language radically, add packages, type system, etc. However, 1.4 was killed and 1.5 was born. 1.5 was a small incremental update to 1.3.

    Perl 6 is never going to make it (yes, I've looked at it recently) so the community should let it die and start Perl 7 instead. Perl 7 should be for Perl 5 what JavaScript 1.5 was for JavaScript 1.3. It should add 1) classes using MooseX::declare syntax 2) a

    • by doom (14564)

      Perl 6 is never going to make it (yes, I've looked at it recently)

      It's understandable why you'd feel that way-- and I think even chromatic is getting exasperated with the project at this point-- but it's worth remembering that "never" is a long time. Open source projects are different from the usual proprietary ones... consider that there was a time when many people had given up on mozilla...

      • This is not only about Perl 6 implementations (which are slow and can use hundreds of megabytes of memory for the most innocent tasks) but also about the spec. Perl has had a reputation for allowing you to write code so concise that it is unreadable. For Perl 6 -- I don't know -- saying my Int $a is both ugly and more verbose than, say, C. The same goes for sub s ( Int $a is copy ) (if you don't say is copy, it's passed by reference).

        Splicing rules were supposed to be simpler but they look more confusing t

  • Should I know what is craiglist? Looking at craiglist.org reminds me of a moderately NSFW domain parikng page. "Women seeking men", etc. Complete with crappy translations and all. If I was running Windows, I'd be starting the virus checker right about now.
  • This may be an ignorant question, but . . .I think of Google as perhaps the company that has most profited from free/open source software. I presume they make contributions through development channels (e.g. LKML); I don't participate in the development of anything Google cares much about, so I dunno whether they do, but I presume they do. But have they ever donated money to any free/open source software projects?
  • when something I write generates the type of cash like that so I can make a financial contribution the best programming language ever devised q:)

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