Larry Wall

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Larry Wall (born September 27, 1954) is a programmer and author, most widely known for his creation of the Perl programming language in 1987.



Wall earned his bachelor's degree from Seattle Pacific University in 1976.

While in graduate school at UC Berkeley, Wall and his wife were studying linguistics with the intention afterwards of finding an unwritten language, perhaps in Africa, and creating a writing system for it. They would then use this new writing system to translate various texts into the language, among them the Bible. Due to health reasons these plans were canceled, and they remained in the U.S., where Larry instead joined the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory after he finished graduate school.[1]


Wall is the author of the rn Usenet client and the nearly universally-used patch program. He has won the International Obfuscated C Code Contest twice and was the recipient of the first Free Software Foundation Award for the Advancement of Free Software in 1998.

Beyond his technical skills, Wall has a reputation for his wit and for his often sarcastic sense of humour[2], which he displays in the comments to his source code or on Usenet. For example: "We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise" and:

For example, it's been several decades now since a certain set of Bible translations came out, and you'll notice a pattern: the New English Bible, the New American Standard Bible, and the New International Version, to name a few. It's really funny. I suspect we'll still be calling them “new this” and “new that” a hundred years from now. Much like New College at Oxford. Do you know when New College was founded. Any guesses? New College was new in 1379.[2]

He is the co-author of Programming Perl (often referred to as the Camel Book), which is the definitive resource for Perl programmers; and edited the Perl Cookbook. His books are published by O'Reilly.

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