Give the Gift of Understanding


One of the (many) reasons Modern Perl is free to redistribute in electronic forms is that I want to subvert hacker culture in a very Perlish way.

I believe that:

  • Perl 5 is a powerful, modern language.
  • Perl 5 scales from novices writing baby Perl to workaday programmers maintaining real programs to adepts creating new and amazing things.
  • Perl has a design philosophy which expresses itself throughout syntax and semantics.
  • Understanding that philosophy will help every Perl programmer — from novice to adept — improve.

Most of you believe that too.

I believe the latter so strongly that I devoted the first chapter of the book, the first 12 pages, to explaining everything you need to know to understand Perl after you've written Hello, world! I'm betting the book's reputation on that.

If you're struggling to learn Perl, or if you know people who are, or if you know people who don't quite understand to put it together, or if you know people who say "You know, I tried it, but it couldn't just stick in my head, all of that context and sigils and operators, why is it so confusing?" then try an experiment. Give them a copy of the book. Say "Read the philosophy chapter, right at the start. Really read it. Let it sink in."

My audacious, culture-subverting bet is this: someone who understands the two philosophical linguistic principles behind Perl's design can understand the rest of Perl.

Here's where you come in. Perhaps you buy another copy to give to a friend. Perhaps you convince your boss to buy a box of books, one for every developer. Perhaps you get Modern Perl in your local library. Perhaps you write an email which says "Hey, you could learn a lot from this book. Download Modern Perl for free."

I want reviewers, on blogs, on bookstore sites, on Perl monger mailing lists, on tech websites, wherever.

More than that, I want readers. I want to show off the great Renaissance of Perl we've perpetuated over the past decade, and I want Perl programmers working in isolation to join the community for mutual benefit, and I want novices to become adepts and to write great code with the rest of us.

Please, refer this book to a friend or five or fifty. It's a small thing, not like the gift of world peace or anything huge, but it's my gift to the Perl community and the world. Please help spread it far and wide.


Thanks for the gift, chromatic. We are ordering a copy for the programmers at Summersault. Merry Christmas!

I just sent the link to 3 friends...telling them to buy it if they liked it and could afford it and to spread the word to others that they know who use Perl.

Oh...and thank you very much indeed!

Thanks for making this available.

I couldn't find a contact address for submitting errata. Is there one? At first glance, there seems to be a fairly substantial number of them. How actively are you planning to maintain the book? (i.e., should I only report indisputable technical errors, or are you willing to consider somewhat more editorial suggestions ?).

Modern Perl: The Book

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The best Perl Programmers read Modern Perl: The Book.

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This page contains a single entry by chromatic published on December 24, 2010 10:41 AM.

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