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Re: sybperl @ 20

by hossman (Prior)
on Sep 03, 2011 at 18:20 UTC ( #924014=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to sybperl @ 20

In the summer of 1994, I arrived at UC Berkeley as a new freshman moving into the dorms. My first priority -- before buying books, or finding the laundry room -- was to find the UC Berkeley Office of Residential Computing (aka: ResComp). This was a student staffed department of about 8 people responsible for managing the ethernet network recently installed in 5 dorm buildings (including mine) and providing software/hardware tech support for students using that network. At the time, they were keeping track of port assignments using an excel spreadsheet, and keeping all helpdesk records using paper forms on clip boards.

In the summer of 1995, ResComp more then doubled the number of dorm buildings that had network, and I was coming to work as a new staff member. ResComp's budget had increased, and they were getting a new AIX Server along with a license for the whatever the Sybase DB server of the day was. Two of the existing staff members had been promoted to "programmers" and were implementing CGI based web tools so the support staff members could keeping track of all the records (port assignments, helpdesk requests, duty log hours, etc...) from anywhere on the net.

The thing to realize: At this time, anyone learning programming at UC Berkeley was learning to write Lisp and C -- but all of the tools being built at ResComp used Perl. Perl was already the language du-jour for writing CGIs at this point, so it wouldn't have been too surprising for the student programming staff to go out of their way to learn Perl to implement the CGIs, but I'm fairly confident that if it hadn't been for Sybperl, they never would have bothered. They would have just written all the CGI apps in C.

I learned Perl, and got involved with the Perl usenet community, because I was working at ResComp. The first Perl script I ever wrote from scratch (other then to cut/paste/tweaking examples from comp.lang.perl.misc) was HOSSI, a recreation of Martijn Koster's CUSI for Berkeley specific services. I was already majoring in Computer Science, but as a freshman I really hadn't picked up very much software "style" yet -- just good fundamentals. Writing Perl code at ResComp is how I learned to design software to meet objectives, and not just implement specific algorithms that I'd read in a book.

So... I'm pretty sure .... if it hadn't been for Sybperl, I wouldn't have learned Perl when I did (if ever) and I wouldn't have become the (same) programmer that I did. Who knows what my career would have been like if I hadn't learned what I learned when I learned it.

So thank you Michael. Thank you for Sybperl, and thank you for your significant impact on making me the man I am today. I can't imagine what my career would have been like otherwise.

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Re^2: sybperl @ 20
by mpeppler (Vicar) on Sep 04, 2011 at 05:47 UTC
    Thanks you, and JavaFan!

    One of my most memorable perl related moments was the first perl conference (1997, I think) in San Jose. Pretty much everyone was there, and it ended with a party at Larry's house. That's where I realized that as a programmer I wasn't in the same league as Mark-Jason Dominus, Damian Conway and many others (not to mention Larry, but then I already knew that :-) - people who have broader vision and maybe a deeper understanding of what perl and its infrastructure needed to achieve. I guess that as a programmer who hasn't got a CS degree (I majored in Geography, and that was an Economics/Social Sciences degree, not a BS) I tend to see the immediate practical needs more than the broader requirements.

    All in all though being involved in the perl and Sybase communities has taught me most of what I know, and has also given me the opportunities that I had (I moved to CA from Switzerland because of my perl/sybperl "skills", and I now have a job at a large financial institution in Geneva because of the things that I have learned and explained to others regarding Sybase...)


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