Though I didn't actually attend any of the early Perl conferences, the "Larry Wall Award for Practical Utility" was awarded annually at TPC (The Perl Conference) from 1997 (or 1998) to 2001. Conway won it three years in a row: 1998, 1999, 2000. MJD notes that he won it in 2001:
I wrote a technical paper about Rx for TPC 2001, which won the Larry Wall Award for Practical Utility.
I can't find any reference to the Larry Wall Award for Practical Utility for 1997 or for any year after 2001.
I guess the O'Reilly-sponsored TPC was superseded somewhat by the vendor-neutral YAPC around that time. TPC was incorporated into the much larger OSCON.
Some random links:
- OSCON (wikipedia): "The first OSCON was held in 1999. The first Perl Conference took place in 1997 ... OSCON grew out of The Perl Conference, but the amount of Perl content has continued to decline year over year."
- Old Perl Events: TPC 1 was held in 1997 at San Jose CA, TPC 2 in 1998 at San Jose CA, TPC 3 in 1999 at Monterey CA, TPC 4 in 2000 at Monterey CA, TPC 5 in 2001 at San Diego CA.
- TPC 2, San Jose CA: "Other winners were: Best Software Development Tool, Ken Fox; Best New Module, Gisle Aas; Best System Administration Tool, Marty Cudmore and Richard Jetton; Best Web Application Tool, Jon Udell; and the Larry Wall Award for Practical Utility, Damian Conway."
- TPC 4, Monterey CA: "The annual Perl Conference awards from O'Reilly were given to Nathan Bailey, Andrew Bromage, and Andrew Creer for Best Web Application (My.University); Bradley M. Kuhn for Best Technical Paper (perljvm); and Andy Wardley for Best New Module (Template Toolkit). Damian Conway again won the Larry Wall Award for his Text::Autoformat module. Damian was withdrawn from future consideration, and the Best Technical Paper award will henceforth be known as the Damian Conway Award."
- TPC 5, San Diego CA
- Simon Cozens TPC 5 blog