History of PerlMonks' Perl News

Originally, the Perl News section of the site was not a place where ordinary monks could post. Rather, it was designed to be a local "feed" of Perl-related news extracted from another site. That other site was called Perl News, at news.perl.org.

Posts to the section were created in the name of a 'bot' account, perlnewsbot. (Presumably, perlnewsbot was the actual name of the automated background process. In all likelihood, it was vroom who created and ran the perlnewsbot.

vroom announced New Perl News Section on 2000-07-21, and perlnewsbot made its first post that same day.

news.perl.org was, of course, already in operation by then. the earliest snapshot in the Wayback Machine is dated 2000-01-05.

*Confusingly, the perlnewsbot user account has a creation date of 2000-07-26 — several days after its first few posts. One possible explanation is as follows: Initially, posts were being inserted in the Perl News section by a different bot user or by some process outside of the perlmonks user-level framework. After the perlnewsbot user was created, the ownership of the prior existing posts was transferred to him. However, this is conjectural.

perlnewsbot's run only lasted a few months, however.

Its last post was on 2001-02-16, apparently having been halted even before news.perl.org went dark.

The last post on news.perl.org was on 2001-03-18, with the following item:

See use Perl;

Perl News is going away soon (one might argue it already has :). use Perl is this site's sister site, having all the same news, plus reviews, articles, discussions, and more. The coincidence of the technical difficulties of this site and the imminent migration of use Perl to its new home makes now a good time to finalize the closing of Perl News.
Indeed, barely a month later news.perl.org was gone.

Even though use.perl.org - the site called use Perl; - was the ostensible replacement for news.perl.org, at least as a source of news, the perlnewsbot was never updated to pull news from use.perl.org.

(Interestingly, use.perl.org met a similar fate a few years later. The last post there, announcing its imminent shutdown, was on 2010-09-08.)

vroom opened up the Perl News section for posting by ordinary users in late May of 2002. Prior to that time, only perlnewsbot was able to post there. (vroom posted there himself once or twice before that, using his godly powers. The couple other posts you now see in that section prior to that date were originally posted in other sections and later moved to Perl News.)

A noteworthy figure in all of this is Chris "pudge" Nandor. He was the man behind news.perl.org and use.perl.org. He was one of the lead developers of Slash, the perl-based engine which powered both Slashdot and use.perl.org. Of course, Slash was also the predecessor of the Everything Engine, upon which PerlMonks is built. Both are products of the tiny outfit called Blockstackers Intergalactic (BSI). Sound familiar? That is where vroom, nate, and other early creators of PerlMonks were working at the time. However, pudge says that he didn't really know those guys, even though he was in the same place at about the same time. Different projects. Here's what he told me in a private correspondence:

I wasn’t involved in perlmonks much, but I did news.perl and use.perl. IIRC perlmonks was based on Everything, which was a separate project from Blockstackers, which also created Slash, from which Slashdot and use Perl resulted.


Relevant chronology: