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Open Source

Helping Perl Packagers Package Perl 130

jamie writes "chromatic has a great post today on the conflict between OS distributions and CPAN's installations of perl modules, along with some suggestions for how to start resolving this maddening problem: '[Though Debian has] made plenty of CPAN distributions available as .debs, I have to configure my CPAN client myself, and it does not work with the system package manager. There's no reason it couldn't. Imagine that the system Perl 5 included in the default package... had a CPAN client configured appropriately. It has selected an appropriate mirror (or uses the redirector). It knows about installation paths. It understands how to use LWP...' The idea of providing guidelines to distros for how to safely package modules is a great one. Could modules request (a modified?) test suite be run after distro-installation? Could Module::Build help module authors and distro maintainers establish the rules somehow?"
Perl

Larry Wall Talks Perl, Culture, and Community 123

LostDiver writes "Computerworld Australia caught up recently with Larry Wall of Patch and Perl fame. He talks about the development of Perl as 'scratching an itch,' a release date for Perl 6 (Christmas day, year unknown) and beauty versus practicality. Computerworld also has some more information on the upcoming Perl 6. A while back they interviewed Bjarne Stroustrup of C++ fame as well." jamie pointed out a interesting, related video of a presentation by Clay Shirky from last year's Supernova conference in which he discusses why the Perl community (or any web community) drives progress and innovation.
Education

Best Introduction To Programming For Bright 11-14-Year-Olds? 962

firthisaword writes "I will be teaching an enrichment programming course to 11-14 year old gifted children in the Spring. It is meant as an introduction to very basic programming paradigms (conditions, variables, loops, etc.), but the kids will invariably have a mix of experience in dealing with computers and programming. The question: Which programming language would be best for starting these kids off on? I am tempted by QBasic which I remember from my early days — it is straightforward and fast, if antiquated and barely supported under XP. Others have suggested Pascal which was conceived as an instructional pseudocode language. Does anyone have experience in that age range? Anything you would recommend? And as a P.S: Out of the innumerable little puzzles/programs/tasks that novice programmers get introduced to such as Fibonacci numbers, primes or binary calculators, which was the most fun and which one taught you the most?" A few years ago, a reader asked a similar but more general question, and several questions have focused on how to introduce kids to programming. Would you do anything different in teaching kids identified as academically advanced?
Education

Best Paradigm For a First Programming Course? 592

Keyper7 writes "The first programming course I had during my computer science schooling, aptly named 'Introduction to Programming,' was given in C because its emphasis was on imperative programming. A little before I graduated, though, it was decided that the focus would change to object-oriented programming with Java. (I must emphasize that the change was not made because of any hype about Java or to dumb down the course; back then and still, it's presented by good Java programmers who try to teach good practices and do not encourage excessive reliance on libraries.) But the practices taught are not paradigm-independent, and this sparked a discussion that continues to this day: which paradigm is most appropriate to introduce programming? Besides imperative and object-oriented, I know teachers who firmly believe that functional programming is the best choice. I'm interested in language-independent opinions that Slashdotters might have on this matter. Which paradigm is good to introduce programming while keeping a freshman's mind free enough for him/her to learn other paradigms afterwards?"
Perl

Free Resources for Windows Perl Development 117

jamie pointed out an important announcement in the Perl community. Adam Kennedy, known as Alias, developed Strawberry Perl to "make Win32 a truly first class citizen of the Perl platform world." Over the last year, major CPAN modules have used Strawberry Perl to get to releases that work trouble-free on Windows. But the tens of thousands of smaller modules on CPAN are lagging, in many cases because of lack of access to a Windows environment for development and testing. Now Alias has worked with Microsoft's Open Source Software Lab to provide for every CPAN author free access to a centrally-hosted virtual machine environment containing every major version of Windows. "More information (and press releases) will follow, the entire program under which this partnership will be run is so new it's only just been given a name, so some of the organisational details will ironed out as we go. But for now, to all the CPAN authors, all I have to add is... Merry Christmas. P.S. Or your appropriate equivalent religious or non-religious event, if any, occurring during the month of December, etc., etc."

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