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New mascot for Perl

by Trag (Monk)
on May 13, 2004 at 22:15 UTC ( [id://353226] : perlmeditation . print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Having just read RFC 343, It seems like it might be a good idea to come up with a free and open mascot for Perl, since O'Reilly owns the Camel. This thread is for any ideas you may have.

print "Just another iconoclastic Perl hacker";

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: New mascot for Perl
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on May 13, 2004 at 22:41 UTC
    This thread is bound to fail for exactly the same reason noone has picked up on the four year old RFC 343: it's expressing the wish for change, but leaving everything to others.

    Come on, if you want a change, come with a proposal better than "let's do something". Pick a symbol. Make some sketches. Write a paragraph or two why it's a good symbol. People might not like it, and come up with other proposals. But get the ball rolling. Don't ask others to kick the ball first.


    (How about a tarpit? It looks disgusting from the outside, but once you dive in, it really gets stuck to you, and you'll never leave...)

      (How about a tarpit? It looks disgusting from the outside, but once you dive in, it really gets stuck to you, and you'll never leave...)i>

      And like a tarpit, your likely to find a load of old fossils (like me!) kicking around.

      Examine what is said, not who speaks.
      "Efficiency is intelligent laziness." -David Dunham
      "Think for yourself!" - Abigail
      I'd prefer a black hole rather than a tarpit. Same idea, only more extreme. You can find some really cool-looking artist's conceptions of various black holes. And we don't have to explain the relevance until after you've crossed the event horizon...

      In the Unixian tradition of giving enough rope to hang yourself, shoot yourself in the foot, the Swiss Army Tool, Perl gives permanent damages to your brain, etc. this picture could be applicable.

      Really I like your tarpit best, but how to make a symbol of that ?

      You're right, Abigail. I should have posted a suggestion. To be perfectly honest, I don't think a tarpit really works, IMHO. All I've thought of is a stylized letter P, maybe with Perl-ish coloring. Or perhaps a Perl necklace? I'm at a bit of a loss to be honest.


      P.S. Ooh I thought of one! How about a penguin?

      print "Just another iconoclastic Perl hacker";
        What is the color of perl? Surely not octarine!
      Why not just get someone to draw a different, non-copyrighted camel? O'Reilly surely own the copyright on that particular camel, not camels in general. Have it face the other way, un-cross its legs, give it a straw-hat, whatever, aslong as it is significantly different, there is no problem.

        The problem is not the copyright. They have a copyright on that purticular drawing of a camel. They also have a trademark on the use of a camel for the perl language.

        Trademarks are strange things in some ways. Trademarks cover anything "confusingly similar". That would certianly cover the use of a different camel for the perl language. Similarly, I couldn't create a computer compony named Internal Busniess Machines, and call myself IBM, because somebody might confuse me with the real IBM.

        Even stranger, is that trademarks must be defended, or they will be lost. That means that even if O'Reilly wanted, they couldn't let just anybody use the camel, without their explicit permission. If they do that, they can no longer keep the people they don't want to use the camel from using it -- it falls into the public domain. gives more info on O'Reilly and the camel. For more information on trademark law, google is your friend.

    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by Abigail-II (Bishop) on May 14, 2004 at 08:38 UTC
      Well, if one insists on an animal, IMO, there's only one animal that fits the bill: the platypus. It looks like it's thrown together from pieces of other animals (like Perl from pieces of other languages), it's ugly for people not familiar with it, but adorable for people who love it. And it has unique features, not found in other mammals, like laying eggs, and being poisonous - just like Perl has unique features.

      But no doubt that O'Reilly is already using the platypus for some book or another.


          But it shouldn't matter. O'Reilly aren't copyrighting the use of a platypus in connection with Perl.
        As much as I like the suggestion of a platypus, it's worth noting that Hexley the platypus is already the mascot for Darwin, Apple's BSD-ish open-source OS. (He's so cute!)
    (BADGER!!!) Re: New mascot for Perl
    by Koosemose (Pilgrim) on May 14, 2004 at 07:24 UTC


      Just Another Perl Alchemist

        You may have suggested this just because you were thinking of mushrooms (mushrooms!), but when I was trying to come up with what animal fit Perl, badger worked. It isn't known for how fast it can run, yet it can rip through problems and doesn't follow mainstream language design fads. *shrug*

        Of course, O'Reilly already has a "badger book".

        Which brings me back to the black pearl in an oyster.

        - tye        

          Yay, memes! But now that I think of it, I kinda like the idea of a badger, (or maybe a wolverine, similar concept) and, like, they're kinda cute and fun, as long as they don't rip your face off in the process <g>.

          And while I can certainly understand there being issues regarding the usage of the Camel as Perl's mascot, I wouldn't think there would be issues with using some other animal (which O'Reilly may already have on a cover), because, as I understand it, the issue with the camel, is using it in connection with Perl specifically, I don't imagine they could prevent the usage of all the animals they have on their covers (except in connection with the books topics) else there would be copyright issues when anybody uses just about any animal as a mascot... And anyways, if we go by that, what'll we be left with, maybe a Mule and a Jackal?

          Just Another Perl Alchemist
          Hmm, Badger sounds good to me.

          print "Just another iconoclastic Perl hacker";
        Badgers? We don't need no stinking badgers.
    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by simonm (Vicar) on May 14, 2004 at 03:26 UTC
      It seems like it might be a good idea to come up with a free and open mascot for Perl

      Yes, it seems that way, doesn't it... But as Abigail pointed out, who will bell the cat, and how?

      If it were as simple as just coming up with an idea, we'd be done already -- "hey, let's use a drawing of a pearl inside an oyster," and it's over.

      But coming up with something that everyone is going to adopt requires more social engineering than a bunch of people randomly spouting ideas.

      Short of that, use the camel, with the constraints that exist, or just write things in text and leave the visual associations up to people's imaginations.

        And the critical point is, who will bell the cat, and how?

        Remember, the association between a camel and Perl is trademarked by O'Reilly, and used in several of their books. It is clearly not in O'Reilly's interests to dilute the value of that trademark by including any alternate image that other publishers can copy. Therefore it will be very difficult to convince O'Reilly to give prominent placement to any symbol other than the camel.

        It is amazing how smart people and companies will avoid shooting their own feet, no matter how politely you ask.

        I should further note that O'Reilly's position in the Perl world was not accidental. In the mid-90's O'Reilly saw that Perl was an opportunity that was big enough to be really interested, but small enough that they conceivably could dominate that market. I know this because I've seen an internal newsletter from back then where Tim explained their decision to go into Perl in a big way. Among other things, O'Reilly hired Larry Wall for several years, were critical to making the One Perl effort work, started (and sponsored!) various conferences on Perl and open source, and came out with a whole series of top-notch books on Perl.

        Perl received a lot from this effort. O'Reilly did as well, and their recognizable Camel brand is a large part of it. It took them time and money to establish that brand, and I find it hard to believe that they would voluntarily help weaken it.

        a black perl in an oyster - birth of Venus and the Tiphoons - the sperm of a dead father - etc.

        In Graphic dessign they use to do a BrainStorming - just like a thread where people propose ideas.

        To do a brainstorming, people should put some words as a title, perhaps inside some [ ]. Then someone collects them and obtains another word resulting from merging a sequential pair of them. Finally, a certain monster should emerge from these mergings. The previous 'corpus' of words might help in building the context of the resulting image. It is some sort of funny working.

        The most difficult part is finding a graphical symbol for this image. It should support different formats and sizes. Study where it should be needed and how it should be displayed.

        Finally, some finished proposals should be submitted for everybody to vote for the most attractive one.

        _`(___)' __________________________
        I like the pearl-in-an-oyster idea. The oyster gets an irritant inside it and coats it with nacre so it won't be such a pain -- rather like perl helps get rid of irritants.
    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by coreolyn (Parson) on May 14, 2004 at 15:04 UTC
        I thought about suggesting that :-)
        That's an excellent suggestion coreolyn, you can do anything with both Duct Tape and Perl... Now we just need a way to stylize it so that it looks as cool as Tux...

        print "Just another iconoclastic Perl hacker";
          A camel wrapped in duct tape maybe?
    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by Anneq (Vicar) on May 14, 2004 at 12:44 UTC

      How about a programmer (with a laptop) standing on the shoulders of a giant wearing a CPAN t-shirt?


    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by sri (Vicar) on May 14, 2004 at 11:06 UTC
    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by jepri (Parson) on May 14, 2004 at 16:50 UTC
      Whenever I think about logos for Perl, I think of our favourite sayings and how to illustrate them. For most of them it is pretty hard to think of a good picture:

      Just Another Perl Hacker - No picture comes to mind
      There's More Than One Way To Do It - Obscene
      use strict; - Obscene
      Perl is my bitch - Very Obscene
      Python sucks - wrong in every possible way

      If your concern is with the trademark, let's wait until O'Reilly gets nasty before we change it. If you want to improve its aesth.. azte.. esthet... prettiness, I do have a suggestion:


      Ninjas improve everything. At least, that's the hypothesis.

      I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

        heh... a ninja - fighting w/ duct tape? doh!

        decnartne ~ entranced

    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by PodMaster (Abbot) on May 14, 2004 at 06:30 UTC


      update: beep

      MJD says "you can't just make shit up and expect the computer to know what you mean, retardo!"
      I run a Win32 PPM repository for perl 5.6.x and 5.8.x -- I take requests (README).
      ** The third rule of perl club is a statement of fact: pod is sexy.

    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by Anonymous Monk on May 14, 2004 at 00:21 UTC
      <americanism> Me walks up to a dead horse, kicks it and moves on. </americanism>
    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by perlinux (Deacon) on May 14, 2004 at 11:40 UTC
      And what about a PEaRL within an oyster? It remembers a treasure hidden in a shell...(my favourite and maybe your) :-)
    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by zentara (Archbishop) on May 14, 2004 at 15:28 UTC
      You know it has to have something related to a "parrot". An intelligent and long-lived bird. We might as well think "future". How about a Camel with wings and a parrot-head.... a 2-hump Pegasus. :-)

      Or how about this.....quite attractive perl-guardian-angel

      I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. flash japh
    mod_perl a mile ahead about logos
    by dont_you (Hermit) on May 15, 2004 at 00:33 UTC
      I really like very much these mod_perl logos (the gear ones). I suppose that mod_perl people dont't mind if we strip the 'mod' part...
      I will add some of yellow also (maybe the background, or the internal hole of the gear...)
      And take a look at this animated gear version (cute!).
    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by pelagic (Priest) on May 14, 2004 at 06:56 UTC
    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by Eimi Metamorphoumai (Deacon) on May 14, 2004 at 19:23 UTC
      I think a Swiss Army Chainsaw could probably be drawn pretty easily, possibly with an assortment of other unlikely blades. Honestly, though, I think I like Abigail's suggestion of a platypus the best.
        Yeah, a platypus would be good, now someone just needs to draw it....

        print "Just another iconoclastic Perl hacker";
          Agreed. Preferably a little cartoony, so not to be confused with other famous O'Reilly platypuses [sic].
    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by jacques (Priest) on May 14, 2004 at 03:44 UTC
      How about that famous image of Bill Gates getting pie in the face?
    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by wolfi (Scribe) on May 14, 2004 at 07:19 UTC

      a monk mink?
      a monk skunk?
      (just kidding)

      actually, i think, a raccoon in a cloak would look pretty cool :-)

        See Redwall

        print "Just another iconoclastic Perl hacker";
    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by flyingmoose (Priest) on May 14, 2004 at 14:52 UTC
      Not that I want change, but O'Reilly doesn't have a copyright on a three hump camel, now, do they?

      The idea is flawless, because, you know, it's not a camel. Or maybe if it had three eyes, or was green, or maybe both. Or if wore glasses, because camels don't wear glasses. Or if it was exactly like a camel, but native to Sweeden. After all, if it was from Sweeden, it wouldn't be a camel.

      Failing that, balucherithiums (sp) are oft neglected on book covers.

        How about a three-humped flying moose from Sweden?

        Heck, it could even have a background sound, Børk! Børk! Børk Utschji-budie ...., associated where applicable. Like Perl powered webpages.

        Thank god it's friday and now I'm off!

    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by jbrugger (Parson) on Feb 08, 2005 at 06:10 UTC
      Obvious? doesn't perl say it alreaddy? a perl?
    Re: New mascot for Perl
    by logan (Curate) on May 17, 2004 at 20:46 UTC
      Assuming there's no way we can use the Camel, we need to think about what a logo is and what it's used for. A logo should be instantly recognizable at any scale. A poorly designed logo may look cool at 80x80 but resemble a thumbprint at 25x25. It should be easy to draw, suggesting sparse design and little fine detail. A perl logo would be placed on web pages, so it will need to work as a 25x25 icon and as part of a 640x40 banner. A logo should not rely on color. A red version should carry the same base information as a blue version. This will allow for greater flexibility in use.

      A mascot for perl would have to emphasize its strengths: Portability, flexibility, and power. Perl is available for almost every platform in use today. Perl, in conjunction with CPAN allows you to address most problems. It may not be the best solution, but it'll help you produce a great temporary fix lickity-split. Finally, perl's text parsing features make jobs that would be monsters in C or Java easy.

      The best ideas I've heard so far are the Swiss Army Knife and Duct Tape. One of my favorite lines ever is "Perl is the duct tape that holds the web together". The problems with depiction are numerous:

      I'm pretty sure that Victorinox owns the copyright to the familiar red knife image, although they may be amenible to licensing. Copyright not withstanding, a Swiss Army Knife with all the blades extended and a Camel on the case would be pretty cool.

      Duct Tape is less strongly copyrighted, but difficult to depict in a meaningful way. It's a roll of grey tape. How do you make that exciting and eye-catching? How do you distinguish it from a zero, a tire, or a doughnut?

      Seems to me that the model to look to is Tux. He's instantly recognizable, easy to draw, and there are dozens if not hundreds of remixes that still scream "Linux!" Linus himself laid down some good guidelines in the above link. They're worth examining.

      All that said, the Camel is already strongly associated with Perl. If there's a way to formalize that relationship without losing anything, why change?

      "What do I want? I'm an American. I want more."

        Portability, flexibility, and power. Perl is available for almost every platform in use today.

        Ah, so you wish for a rat mascot? "Available" everywhere. Can chew through most anything. Not quite the prettiest or faster runner but extremely practical and effective.

        Or perhaps the mold mascot? (:

        - tye        

        The camel is easy to draw too ;-)


        All code is usually tested, but rarely trusted.
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    Re[0]: New mascot for Perl
    by Intrepid (Deacon) on May 15, 2004 at 08:24 UTC

      To tell the truth, I am not enamored of the notion of any other animal representing Perl. For me it just doesn't feel right. It's not merely that the Camel is so familiar, but rather that no animal suits the topic.

      I vote for a new symbolic logo for perl to be the familiar image from the (IINM) Sistine Chapel ceiling, that of God's hand extended (I always assumed that was God, I think there's a typical grand old man with robust curly beard and regal attire attached to the hand) to touch Man's (Adam's?). The greatest strengths of Perl are really things that pertain to the Human realm, not to the animal kingdom. There's the "natural (human) language" quality of Perl, and the great emphasis on the Virtue of Code Reuse (which implies sharing, and thus Community); and there's a strong tradition of "Learn one, teach one" in the (admittedly nebulous if not cantankerous at times ;-) Perl community, as exemplified by what we do here at Perl Monks at our best (when we are not being seduced by fixation on XP and such trivia).

      {thinking ...} make a modification to the suggestion: make the hand coming from the superior position be a woman's hand (yes, intimations of this durned pesky Goddess thing), and also, make at the contact point of the fingers a gap filled by a luminous, shiny, really lusciously spherical pearl (of course).

      Now THAT's a logo ... says it all. Power, Divine inspiration, connection, illumination. ... We just need an actual artist to emerge now. Or at worst, a really talented GIMP wielder. ;-)


        I vote for a new symbolic logo for perl to be the familiar image from the (IINM) Sistine Chapel ceiling, that of God's hand extended (I always assumed that was God, I think there's a typical grand old man with robust curly beard and regal attire attached to the hand) to touch Man's (Adam's?).
        Ah, you mean the image from the cover of Nigel Chapman's book, Perl: The Programmers Companion? I'd second that, as it's one of the better Perl learning books - unfortunally, it's a bit outdated, being from 1997. But it wouldn't surprise me if the association of the image with Perl was already trademarked....
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