The man behind the Perl - Things you might not know about Larry Wall

2016-01-21 17:35:57 admin News 0 Comments

This week we have decided to pay a tribute to the great man responsible for decades of innovation, the guru of the Perl Programming Language. It is with great honor that we propose this piece of reading to our beloved community, in order to get to know the man behind the programmer.

We have been surfing the web to find some Larry Wall related facts that will help celebrate this amazing man, a true visionary with a unique and intriguing perspective on the evolution of programming that has not just once determined groundbreaking contributions to the evolution of the world itself.

Larry Wall is definitely one of the most fascinating people to enter the programming languages arena and moreover one of the most insightful and inspirational figures to be reckoned in the open source movement.

Wall was born in September 27, 1954 in south Los Angeles as a son and also grandson of evangelical preachers. Needless to say his Christian values have influenced his life and his career. We can even recognize this influences in some of the terminology of Perl functions as well as the organization of the up-and-coming Perl6 language's design documents.

He graduated from highschool in Bremerton, Washington and afterwards started off majoring in chemistry and music at the Seattle Pacific University, not long before switching to premed. Later on, after taking a few years off to work in the SPU computer center, he ended up majoring in a self-designed major of Natural and Artificial Languages. His academic path took him to Berkley UCLA where he attended grad school in linguistics alongside his wife, while planning to become Bible missionaries, a plan they needed to drop on health related grounds.

Larry's inspiration was mostly his family, amongst which he mentions his grandmother who earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature at age 77. He also aknowledges 19th century writer George Macdonald as a role model throughout his entire life.

Now back to the man responsible for creating one of the most powerful programming languages, Larry stated that the creation of Perl has been directly inspired by bumping into a problem that the tools available couldn't solve in the wanted parameters.

Therefore, endowed with what he considers the three golden virtues of a programmer, Larry decided to take matters in his own hands. He was too lazy to solve his problem with awk, not being able to jump through the hoops and impatient to wait for it to finish because it was too sluggish. Finally, he possessed the hubris to realize he was able to do better. 

The creation of the Perl Programming language has been a truly important step in the history of scripting languages, one for which we should be eternally grateful to this ever fascinating man.


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