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Larry Wall interview

posted Jul 17, 2014, 3:47 PM by Tim Isbell   [ updated Aug 10, 2014, 3:34 PM ]

I'd like to introduce you to a well-known software developer: Larry Wall. 

But first, the back-story:

I have lived and worked in the heart of Silicon Valley since 1971. For 20 years I worked in integrated circuit and software development. Then I changed careers to become a Christian pastor and served for 18 years as the pastor of New Life Nazarene Church in Cupertino, CA. After retiring in 2010, my wife and I remain there as parishioners. So I've met and worked closely with many very competent and interesting people. 

One of the most interesting is Larry Wall. He is widely known as the author of the PERL computer language, which he long-ago released as an open-source product. Larry remains fully engaged in the life of PERL, and just as engaged as an authentic Christian around New Life Church. He was there in 1992 when I arrived, and we still worship together there today. It's impossible to list all the ways in which he helps out around the church.

Several years ago Jonathan Schiefer arrived in the Cupertino area and began attending New Life Church. From the time I first met him,  Jon had a deep interest in the high tech culture, the trade-offs between open-source and conventional for-profit software, and the ethics of the high tech industry. Jon himself is not a software developer; he is a thoughtful story-teller, committed to writing and making movies. Now he lives in southern California.

Jon met and came to know Larry in the church. A few months ago he produced an extremely interesting YouTube video interview of Larry, especially his involvement in the development of PERL. But as is common when talking with Larry, the conversation expanded. You can watch the interview by clicking Hacker Interviews: Larry Wall. It's so worth watching that I'm posting a permalink in the Story Corner section of this site.

One last comment on Larry: For one example of his impact around New Life Church, check out Larry Wall on Marriage.

By the way, Jonathan Shiefer is right now releasing his first movie. For details on its development, release schedule, and how to see it go to Algorithm: the Hacker Movie website.

All the best,