Sunday, 1 August 2010

Bringing Worldwide Perl Communities Together

A couple of weeks ago I had this very nice talk with Daisuke Maki, Gábor Szabó and Kenichi Ishigaki about Perl communities worldwide. These days, as once was with french, and german, and latin, if you want to be heard in a wider audience, you have to speak (or, in this case, write) in english.

But what goes around in english doesn't necessarily reflect what's actually happening worldwide. Wikipedia estimates only 400 million people having english as their first language, and something between 500 million to 1.8 billion speakers overall. In a world of little less than 7 billion people, you can see how a lot of information may be lost.

In fact, as Ishigaki-san pointed out, a lot happens where most of the non-speakers don't know. This is true for both the japanese and brazilian communities, and I'm pretty sure it is also true for a lot of other communities where the native language is not english. It's not some bizarre sort of protectionism or xenophobia; there is just too much going on with too few having/taking the time to show them off to the unsuspecting, english-speaking, world.

Not that everyone would care, of course. But some might (I know I do, and Gábor does, too). Besides, as Maki-san mentioned, it might be interesting not to be completely clueless about what happens in other communities, even if some of those things are too regional to be useful outside the local Perl Monger group.

While events such as the imminent YAPC::EU, are an awesome opportunity to hear about what's going on with several different Perl groups, a lot of us can't make it to Europe, and the language barrier still poses an issue.

Some movement is already there to achieve this sort of integration and spread the Perl word across idiom barriers. Fayland wrote and uploaded to CPAN a Perl Book in Chinese, so Perl would easier reach the Chinese Community. I believe Shawn Moore's comment in that module's ratings goes a long way. Speaking of Chinese Community, did you know last year they even made a Perl Advent Calendar?

There's also an ongoing attempt to translate documentation and make perldoc aware of localization. Translations in French, Italian, Lithuan, and Brazilian Portuguese are already on CPAN. And Ishigaki's Acme::CPANAuthors quickly became a huge success - I'm actually proud of being one of the early adopters - offering a way for Japanese, Brazilian, Russian, Ukrainian, British, Icelandic, Norwegian, French, Canadian, Korean, Italian, Taiwanese, Turkish, Portuguese, Israeli, Indonesian, German, Dutch, Chinese, and Austrian authors to know a bit more about each other. And I'm sure more are on their way!

So, just as I often try to make people here in Brazil aware of what's going on in the worldwide Perl community, in the next few posts I'll take some time to go the other way around, and broadcast a little of what's going on in these parts to whomever is listening.

I'd also really like to know more about *your* local Perl Mongers group. After all, we do speak the same language, and that is Perl ;-)

So, what have you guys been up to?