October 22, 2009
I was looking for details of the 2007 Perl Survey when I bumped into the blog post of Jason Porritt on the Perl Survey Results about the US Perl Mongers. I especially liked the part at the end of the post:
I’ll bring out the salary information again: the average Perl Monger makes $6,445 (7.88%) more than their non-participating counterparts. That figure jumps to $7,336 (8.97%) if you attend meetings. Do I have your attention now?
When he wrote this, Jason Porritt was the vice president and now he is the president of the Grand Rapids Perl Mongers, so I decided to visit them today seeing how they are doing. The visit to the groups web site was not too long as it has only a single page but I wondered off a bit to see their mailing list and then the blog posts of Jason.
The Grand Rapids Perl Mongers have a nice web page and when you look at it you can see the date of the next meeting but unfortunately that meeting was last month. Looking at the mailing lists (they have two) you can see in the recent months the activity was only the e-mails telling about the cancellations of the meetings. At least they intend to meet.
I wonder what is the issue and how could they improve their activity? Anyone from Grand Rapid who uses Perl but does not know about the local Perl Mongers group?
October 21, 2009
I like the web site of Amsterdam Perl Mongers very much! It is simple but very useful for a PM group!
The site is available both in English and Dutch that sends the message that both local and non-local people are welcome.
While the people living in the Netherlands are famous of knowing English very well so the Dutch version isn’t really needed but I think it is a nice courtesy with relatively little investment. On the other hand having an English version too is also very nice as the few other people who don’t yet know Dutch will be able to understand what’s going on. That can bring them many international guests.
On the front page there is information on where and when is the next meeting so people won’t need to search for it and there is a picture taken on one of the meetings that shows the essence of the meetings and the group: People learning from each other. I am often asked suspiciously what are we doing on those Perl Monger meeting. Such a picture is very convincing.
They have a page with a few words explaining what are Perl Mongers with a link to an interview with brian d foy from 1999 who was asked What the Heck is a Perl Monger?!. It is worth reading it even now.
On the meetings page they have links to reports of some of the previous meetings along with pictures. I think such reports both textual and with pictures are very important to show the friendly face of the group. This can encourage more people to attend the meetings.
Unfortunately the most recent report is from January 2, 2007, almost 3 years ago. This is unfortunate as it sends the false message that the group was not active in the last 3 years. I hope they will start to post reports, the slides of the talks, pictures, or links to pictures again.
One thing I seriously miss there is a link to the annual Dutch Perl Workshop.
That’s it for now. I am planning to be in Brussels in February 2010 on FOSDEM. That’s not too far from Amsterdam. If I am lucky I might be able to come over to Amsterdam to a Perl Mongers meeting or even to the Dutch Perl Workshop.
October 20, 2009
Though it is not a very active group I picked the Budapest Perl Mongers as the first group I am visiting as that’s the place where I was born. Although I don’t live there I visit often and albeit only virtually but I am also involved in the local Perl community so I know a little bit of the history as well.
If you visit the web site of the Budapest Perl Mongers you will notice it is actually the Hungarian page of the Perl Foundation wiki. It has very little information but it is already a nice improvement as a week ago the group did not have a working website. There is also a discussion on the mailing list that started here (in Hungarian) on the need to improve that page. Several people have recommended links to be added. I hope they will actually start to update that page.
As you could already figure out, the group has a mailing list with discussion in Hungarian. This is a good resource for anyone who speaks Hungarian and an especially good resource to those Perl programmers who might only speak Hungarian. While I think that in order to become a good programmer one should learn English at a reasonable level I would hope we don’t make it a requirement to start to program. At least not for Perl.
A few year ago there was a larger web site and even a wiki but during a server move that got lost. It is probably backed up somewhere but currently no one seem to have enough energy to dig it out and set it up again. There are many other PM groups that use their own facilities to host their web site. I wonder if it wasn’t better to have them on the central server. I’ll have to find out why so many groups opt to use their own hardware?
Not only was there a web site but we organized several annual meetings as well and we even had a conference where Larry Wall was also invited. That managed to draw quite a number of the Perl users but unfortunately later it was not followed by active organization of meetings.
As mentioned above there was a recent surge in discussion about the content of the “web site” and people even started to talk about a meeting. So if you are going to be in Budapest next week you might want to check out when and where are they going to meet. Even the TwinCity Perl Workshop was mentioned. On YAPC::EU::2009 in Lisbon we had a short discussion about the possibility of enlarging the Twin City Perl Workshop that was two days long in 2008 (one day in Vienna and one day in Bratislava ) to also include Budapest in the next event.
So while this is currently not a very active group, it can help the Hungarian speaker Perl programmers and there is some hope to see it get moving ahead now.
October 20, 2009
The Perl Mongers are what other people might call Perl User Groups. They are mostly location specific groups of people who use the Perl programming language and gather into groups in order to exchange ideas. They are autonomous sets of individuals that get minimal technical service from the central Perl Mongers administrators. They are diverse in background and in level of expertise and they probably all have different ideas on what the Perl Mongers are. They are the key to the cohesion in the Perl Community and that of the larger Perl Ecosystem.
Groups can be found all over the world. They usually have a web site with some local content, their activity includes discussions on their mailing list or on their IRC channel. Often the groups have regular face-to-face meetings and sometimes they get together and organize a Perl workshop or a Perl conference.
While I have a separate blog on my own web site I’ll use this one to talk about the Perl Mongers. I plan to visit the web site of many groups and write about them.