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1.2. Perl Development

Software doesn't grow on trees. Perl is free because of the donated efforts of several generous people who have devoted large chunks of their spare time to the development, maintenance, and evangelism of Perl.

Perl itself was created by Larry Wall, in an effort to produce reports for a bug-reporting system. Larry designed a new scripting language for this purpose and then released it to the Internet, thinking that someone else might find it useful. In the spirit of freeware, other people suggested improvements and even ways to implement them, and Perl transformed from a cute scripting language into a robust programming language.

Today, Larry does little actual development himself, but helps to guide several other selfless individuals in the continued development and design of the language. Currently, a team of porters are working (with Larry's guidance) on a complete rewrite of the language from the ground up, which is expected to yield a 21st-century version of the language in form and features. This rewrite will be released as Perl Version 6. At the time of this writing, progress on Perl 6 is steady but still a long way from completion.

This second edition of Perl in a Nutshell covers Perl 5.8.

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