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(Not Perl) First mention of Star Wars in Google

by eduardo (Curate)
on Dec 13, 2001 at 06:56 UTC ( #131516=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I just thought it was really cool that according to, the first mention of Star Wars Episode 6 (here) is by Perlmonks own merlyn :) See the rest of the usenet timeline here. There are some really interesting historical notes of interest on this list, ranging from Linus Torvalds' first post about his "pet project" to the First thread about AIDS. Kind of makes you wonder if 20 years from now, there'll be a website listing the first time someone on perlmonks posted a node about how the XP system needed to be revamped :)
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First Perl mention, was Re: First mention of Star Wars in Google
by Albannach (Prior) on Dec 13, 2001 at 11:12 UTC
    What? You didn't complain that they didn't list Perl? Well I was curious and dug up the following interesting reading in a few minutes. I feel that there should be earlier mention but it eluded me. No matter, these are still worth looking at:
    • In a thread on what motivates a programmer, Larry mentions Perl and the now-famous quote "The two chief virtues in a programmer are laziness and impatience." This was in the pre-hubris days of course.
    • later in that same thread Larry is forced to give a description of Perl (with some examples) when someone asks "So what is this program 'perl'?"
    • Finally the first public distribution of Perl 1.0 (1988-02-01 05:46:32 PST). Just seeing code in multi-part shars was a real trip down memory lane for me... I wonder if something like that would meet their significance threshold for inclusion in their timeline?
    I most want to find the actual exchange in which Andy Tanenbaum tells Linus Torvalds that he'd have failed him (had Linus been in Andy's OS class, or country even) during a debate on the pros and cons of monolithic kernels, but so far I've only seen a reference to the posting.

    Update: Thanks ar0n! Here is the actual posting in which AST tells Linus

    Be thankful you are not my student. You would not get a high grade for such a design :-)
    - he even includes a smiley. It is fascinating to re-read the exchange now, as the current hero Linus comes of as snot-nosed (albeit with some good thinking), and AST as the gracious wise man. I was unable to find this because I felt certain that AST had used the word "fail", but now I see that he was not so harsh.

    Update 2: Yes I noticed that good one jmerelo but I didn't list it as it didn't describe Perl much. Another one I ran across was this which is not much later and the .sig comment perhaps shows just how popular Perl had become in a short time. BTW some may recall Mark Biggar being referred to as "Perl's maternal uncle" for many years.

    I'd like to be able to assign to an luser

      So I got to looking at the first perl node that you mention... what an incredibly interesting piece of history! Larry pretty much had the right idea all along :) I however especially like his sample code:
      #!/bin/perl $SIG{'QUIT'} = 'quit'; # install signal handler for SIGQUIT while ($ARGV[0] =~ /^-/) { # parse switches $ARGV[0] =~ /^-h/ && ($showhost++,$silent++,shift,next); $ARGV[0] =~ /^-s/ && ($silent++,shift,next); $ARGV[0] =~ /^-d/ && ($dodist++,shift,next); $ARGV[0] =~ /^-n/ && ($n=' -n',shift,next); $ARGV[0] =~ /^-l/ && ($l=' -l ' . $ARGV[1],shift,shift,next); last; } $systype = shift; # get name representing set of hosts while ($ARGV[0] =~ /^-/) { # we allow switches afterwards too $ARGV[0] =~ /^-h/ && ($showhost++,$silent++,shift,next); $ARGV[0] =~ /^-s/ && ($silent++,shift,next); $ARGV[0] =~ /^-d/ && ($dodist++,shift,next); $ARGV[0] =~ /^-n/ && ($n=' -n',shift,next); $ARGV[0] =~ /^-l/ && ($l=' -l ' . $ARGV[1],shift,shift,next); last; } if ($dodist) { # distribute input over all rshes? `cat >/tmp/gsh$$`; # get input into a handy place $dist = " </tmp/gsh$$"; # each rsh takes input from there } $cmd = join(' ',@ARGV); # remaining args constitute the com +mand $cmd =~ s/'/'"'"'/g; # quote any embedded single quotes open(ghosts, '/etc/ghosts') || die 'No /etc/ghosts file'; # /etc/ghosts drives the rest $one_of_these = ":$systype:"; # prepare to expand "macros" if ($systype =~ s/\+/[+]/g) { # we hope to end up with list of $one_of_these =~ s/\+/:/g; # colon separated attributes } line: while (<ghosts>) { # for each line of ghosts s/[ \t]*\n//; # trim leading whitespace if (!$_ || /^#/) { # skip blank line or comment next line; } if (/^([a-zA-Z_0-9]+)=(.+)/) { # a macro line? $name = $1; $repl = $2; $repl =~ s/\+/:/g; $one_of_these =~ s/:$name:/:$repl:/; # do expansion in "wanted" + list next line; } # we have a normal line @attr = split; # a list of attributes to match against # which we put into an array $host = $attr[0]; # the first attribute is the host nam +e if ($showhost) { $showhost = "$host:\t"; } attr: while ($attr = pop(attr)) { # iterate over gh arr +ay if (index($one_of_these,":$attr:") >=0) { # is host wanted? unless ($silent) { print "rsh $host$l$n '$cmd'\n"; } $SIG{'INT'} = 'DEFAULT'; if (open(pipe,"rsh $host$l$n '$cmd'$dist |")) { # start rsh $SIG{'INT'} = 'cont'; while (<pipe>) { print $showhost,$_; } # show results close(pipe); } else { $SIG{'INT'} = 'cont'; print "(Can't execute rsh.)\n"; } last attr; # don't select host twice } } } unlink "/tmp/gsh$$" if $dodist; # here are a couple of subroutines that serve as signal handlers sub cont { print "\rContinuing...\n"; } sub quit { $| = 1; print "\r"; $SIG{'INT'} = ''; kill 2, $$; }
      :) I think it'd be fun to translate that to perl 5 (or 6 even) and use all of the new tools... funny thing is, that code would be chastized on perlmonks like crazy... no strict, no -w, handrolled commandline parsing! tsk tsk tsk. (I know that Perl back then didn't have these things, my sarcasm flag is set to 1 :) Also, a very interesting little historical sidenote:
      I wasn't going to add a "goto" except that the sed-to-perl translator needed one.
      :) how fun is that! Also of note: On top of which, C didn't have the picture-style report formats I wanted. And I didn't want to do a make every time I tweaked the program. I take it he is talking about perl formats... a feature that has now been voted out of the core and into a module (if memory serves me right...) So, I guess that says a few things about how perl has moved from a systems management / formatting language to a much more general beast. I guess he succeeded when he said he wanted to make a language that is: intended to be practical (easy to use, efficient, complete) rather than beautiful (tiny, elegant, minimal).
      I most want to find the actual exchange in which Andy Tanenbaum tells Linus Torvalds that he'd have failed him ...

      It's here.

      [ ar0n -- want job (boston) ]

      Actually, the first Perl mention seems to be this one

      Faigin, Larry's coworker, mentions Perl as Larry's "3-month old child", together with his real and "programatic children"

Google shows my 1982 post on first remotely exploitable security hole
by merlyn (Sage) on Dec 13, 2001 at 22:03 UTC
      Doubtless yours is one of the first, but I believe that this one not only came earlier, but appears to deal with the same or a similar flaw (it's hard to say as you wisely didn't detail your flaw publicly at the time). There are a few even earlier security hole announcements, but you're up there with the pioneers to be sure!

      I'd like to be able to assign to an luser

      Quite funny to see words 'computer mail' in that post. I've not seen it before. I wonder how long exist word 'email'.

      Ilya Martynov (

        I don't know how long email has existed as a word, but I know when I started to use it.

        It was in 1997 after I read what Knuth had to say on the subject of email. (At that point it was decidedly odd to see email instead of e-mail.)

      Damn, this post is 18 days older than me. I've missed soo much :-(
      -- package Lizard::King; sub can { do { 'anything'} };
Re: (Not Perl) First mention of Star Wars in Google
by Rich36 (Chaplain) on Dec 13, 2001 at 18:36 UTC
    Speaking of Star Wars... I saw this site/telnet site featured on the ScreenSavers and thought it was pretty funny - it's Episode 4 completely done in ASCII. I can't believe someone took the time to do this, but it's pretty funny.

    Web Site -
    Or telnet to

    There's more than one way to screw it up...

Re: (Not Perl) First mention of Star Wars in Google
by Asim (Hermit) on Dec 13, 2001 at 19:01 UTC
    I can't really imagine waiting until 1997 to see all nine parts of the Star Wars series.

    The horror of hindsight.

    ----Asim, known to some as Woodrow.

(Duplicate, please remove) Re: (Not Perl) First mention of Star Wars in Google
by Rich36 (Chaplain) on Dec 13, 2001 at 18:42 UTC
    Duplicate, please remove

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