The Perl Foundation Migrates the Perl 5 Development Repository to the Git Version Control System

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The Perl Foundation has migrated Perl 5 to the Git version control system, making it easier than ever for Perl's development team to continue to improve the language that powers many websites.

The Perl Foundation has migrated Perl 5 to the Git version control system, making it easier than ever for Perl's development team to continue to improve the language that powers many websites.

Moving from Perforce to git provides a number of benefits to the Perl community:

  • With a public repository and Git's extensive support for distributed and offline work, working on Perl 5's source becomes easier for everyone involved.
  • Because Git is open source, all developers now have equal access to the tools required to work on Perl's codebase.
  • Core committers have less administrative work to do when integrating contributed changes.
  • Developers outside the core team can more easily work on experimental changes to Perl before proposing them for inclusion in the next release.
  • A vast array of improved repository and change analysis tools are now available to Perl's developers.
  • The new Git repository includes every version of Perl 5 ever released, as well as every revision made during development.

Interested developers can get a copy of the Perl 5 Git repository at at

In true open source style, Sam Vilain converted Perl's history from Perforce to Git. He did the work both in his spare time and in time donated by his employer, Catalyst IT. He spent more than a year building custom tools to transform 21 years of Perl history into the first ever unified repository of every single change to Perl. In addition to changes from Perforce, Sam patched together a comprehensive view of Perl's history incorporating publicly available snapshot releases, changes from historical mailing list archives and patch sets recovered from the hard drives of previous Perl release engineers.

Perl 5 is used by businesses around the world including the BBC,, LiveJournal, Ticketmaster, Craigslist and IMDb. Larry Wall created Perl in 1987 while working as a systems administrator for NASA.

Larry released Perl 1.000 on December 18th 1987. Over the past 21 years, Perl has grown into a high-level, general-purpose, dynamic programming language and is widely used for Web development, Systems Administration, Genomics and in many other disciplines. The most recent major version of Perl 5 (5.10.0) was released one year ago.

Git is an open source version control system designed to handle very large projects with speed and efficiency. Created by Linus Torvalds, the inventor of Linux to handle the vast number of contributions to the Linux Kernel, Git is highly flexible and extensible. Perl's motto, "There's More Than One Way To Do It!" perfectly matches the Git workflow. Nicholas Clark, the manager for Perl 5.8.9 which was released this week, said "I'm looking forward to Git giving me the ability to work either online or offline. Perforce is great when I have a network connection, but until now those times when I've been trying to develop on trains or planes, at stations or airports, I'm back in the 'dark ages' before version control. Git solves this problem and more".

The hardware behind this and the systems administration time to maintain it is donated by has also recently donated $50,000 to The Perl Foundation, to aid in the further development and maintenance of the Perl programming language in general, and Perl 5.10 in particular.

Perl originally used the Revision Control System (RCS) until March 1997 when it switched to the Perforce Software Configuration Management System. The Perforce repository was graciously hosted and maintained, free of charge, by ActiveState. Perforce provided the core developers with powerful tools, but these tools were not available to users outside the core team. The switch to Git removes this barrier.

About The Perl Foundation ( | The Perl Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of the Perl programming language through open discussion, collaboration, design, and code. The Perl Foundation coordinates the efforts of numerous grass-roots Perl-based groups, including: International Yet Another Perl Conferences (YAPC's), Carries the legal responsibility for Perl 5 and Perl 6 and the Artistic and Artistic 2.0 licenses,, Perl Mongers, and PerlMonks.

About ( | is part of (Nasdaq: PCLN). Its website attracts an average of 30 million unique visitors each month. works with more than 57,000 affiliated hotels in 15,000 destinations around the world. Its services are available in 21 languages. currently has 24 offices in Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Cambridge, Cape Town, Dubai, Dublin, London, Loulé (Portugal), Lyon, Madrid, Moscow, Munich, New York, Orlando, Paris, Rome, San Francisco, Sydney, Singapore, Stockholm, Vienna and Warsaw.

About Catalyst IT (NZ) Ltd ( | Catalyst IT is New Zealand's premiere Open Source development house. Catalyst looks after the development requirements for the NZ Electoral Enrolment Centre, manage the .NZ registry, the largest NZ newspaper's online presence, the NZ TAB and many other exciting projects, and are organising the 2010 Australasian Linux Conference to be held in Wellington, New Zealand.


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