I THINK IN PERL by ntz11397


									                                                                Perlmeister Michael Schilli                      COMMUNITY

Perlmeister Mike Schilli celebrates 10 years

“One or two years in the USA would be great,” Mike Schilli thought                            Perl creator Larry Wall. Later, Mike
                                                                                              posted a question on Usenet and got an
back in 1996. The “Perlmeister” has lived in San Francisco for 11 years                       answer from Larry Wall, so he decided
                                                                                              to delve deeper into the language, some-
now, and he’s been writing the regular Perl column for almost as long.                        thing he has been doing ever since.

BY ULRICH BANTLE                                                                              C by Day, Perl by Night
                                                                                              During the day, Mike coded login sys-

            hen Mike Schilli, a.k.a. the        Online became entangled in the browser        tems in C to help AOL cope with the ex-
            Perlmeister [1], leaves his         wars after acquiring Netscape and re-         plosive growth of the Internet, and at
            apartment and walks down            duced staff levels in Mountain View, Cal-     night he developed Perl modules. “Perl
the lively 24th Street in San Francisco’s       ifornia, from 2000 to 200. Mike turned        is a way of thinking,” Mike says. “When-
Noe Valley, he regularly meets acquain-         his Perl hobby into his profession.           ever I face a computer problem, I start
tances and stops to visit. The green-card          Of course, Yahoo! (Figure 1) isn’t a       thinking in Perl.”
holder is still fascinated with the unique      Perl-only corporation. Mike describes            Mike soon started to write about Perl.
atmosphere in the City on the Bay. “San         the developers’ approach to problem-          “I had nothing to do one weekend,” he
Francisco is close, like a village, but it      solving as agnostic – developers just use     says, so he wrote an article about Perl’s
still leaves you enough freedom for ec-         the best language or programming tech-        object system and offered it to Heise for
centricities,” he says. And this “village”      nique available for the job.                  publishing. Mike later contacted Tom
is the perfect harbor for Mike in another          Interestingly, the prospects of a career   Schwaller, former editor of Linux Maga-
sense: “Everybody’s a foreigner here.           in the U.S. didn’t look promising when        zine’s German edition, to propose a reg-
More or less nobody who lives here was          Mike finished his degree in electro-tech-     ular column on Perl programming.
actually born in San Francisco.” This has       nology at Munich’s technical university          That was back in 1996 and the timing
really helped Mike, who is from Augs-           in 1991. “Nobody needed electrical engi-      was perfect. Mike had been planning his
burg, Germany, to get acclimatized.             neers at the time,” he says. His first job    marriage to his girlfriend and was work-
   Since the first Perl column back in          with Oldenbourg Data Systems (ODS)            ing for Softlab (a BMW Group com-
1996, Mike has worked for several com-          was in software development. Mike first       pany). Mike turned down a job friends
panies. After his first job with a startup      felt the urge to move to Silicon Valley       offered him in Munich, but their offer of
called Blaxxun Interactive, Mike moved          and join software development’s major         a job in the company’s San Francisco of-
to AOL before the dotcom bubble burst.          league while working with a guru flown        fice changed his mind. Mike accepted,
Mike moved to Yahoo! when America               in from the birthplace of Unix: Berkeley.     got married, and then moved.
                                                                     Mike had a sound            Mike’s favorite writing subject, Perl,
                                                                   programming back-          has competition from newcomers such
                                                                   ground. As a tutor at      as Ruby, Python, and PHP, and he knows
                                                                   the technical university   that Perl’s complexity can be intimidat-
                                                                   in Munich, Mike was        ing. But a new language can only be as
                                                                   responsible for Fortran.   good as the existing infrastructure and
                                                                   He worked early in the     will need to develop the modules that al-
                                                                   mornings and had extra     ready exist for Perl. Mike Schilli has
                                                                   time to do battle with     been a major contributor to these re-
                                                                   the university’s sys       sources and wrote about 30 modules. It
                                                                   admin on the Unix ma-      looks like Perl, and the Perlmeister, will
                                                                   chines. Along the way,     be around a while longer. ■
                                                                   Mike mastered Unix.
                                                                     Then Mike attended a                      INFO
                                                                   lecture on Perl and was     [1] Perlmeister website:
                                                                   immediately captivated          http://www.perlmeister.com
                                                                   by the newly discov-        [2] Viennese schnitzel:
                                                                   ered potential of the           http://video.google.com/videoplay?do
                                                                   programming language,           cid=92574570497260796
                                                                   so he bought the Pro-       [3] USA letters:
Figure 1: A hard-working programmer in his cubicle at Yahoo!       gramming Perl book by           http://www.usarundbrief.com

                                                                         DECEMBER 2007                              ISSUE 85       93

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