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Re: First CPAN Joke Module

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From:
Michael G Schwern
Date:
November 17, 2001 17:46
Subject:
Re: First CPAN Joke Module
Message ID:
20011117204428.B6730@blackrider
On Sun, Nov 18, 2001 at 11:49:35AM +1100, Andrew.Savige@ir.com wrote:
> In the recent www.perl.com article "The Lighter Side of CPAN",
> I was disappointed the author made no attempt to uncover the
> first CPAN joke module.
> 
> Is it possible to search search.cpan.org for all joke modules?
> The earliest I could find is:
>   sh2perl by Randal L Schwartz
> The Changes file says "Wed Mar 25 12:37:51 1998" yet the

sh2perl goes back even further than that, though not as a fully
functioning program.  The mythological sh2perl program was one that
would email your shell program to either comp.lang.perl (back when
there was *only* comp.lang.perl) or Tom Christiansen.

Here is an early reference (sorry for the awful URL)
http://groups.google.com/groups?th=d8f2e19fb2209276&seekm=MERLYN.95Apr4083526%40linda.teleport.com&frame=off


But we can dig even further back than that.  The first usenet April
Fools joke I can find is the old Perl 6 announcement on March 30th,
1997 (a little early)
http://groups.google.com/groups?th=7fa6afdbaf0759c2&rnum=143
This caused some trouble when the REAL Perl 6 was announced.

April 1st, 1998 saw sh2perl officially announced
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=8ciuouv26b.fsf%40gadget.cscaper.com

Semi::Semicolons came out April 1st, 1999 and it was all downhill from
there. :)


But the earilest ever joke module is probably less.pm.  According to
Changes5.002, less.pm goes back to at least May 25, 1995
(perl5.002b1f).  There's mention of a less.pod in Changes5.001, so it
may go back even further.

less also has the distinction of being the only joke module in the
core of Perl.


> Also, can anyone confirm Acme::Bleach as the culprit that
> triggered the recent Acme development frenzy?

Bleach and Morse definiately directly lead to Buffy, Pony, DNA etc,
etc, etc... and then to the Acme:: namespace.

The CPAN cabal doesn't like folks putting new modules into the top
level namespace.  They'd prefer "Category::Name" rather than just
"Name" in the interests of trying to make sort sort of sense out of
the CPAN namespace.  This is a good idea, but authors of joke modules
felt themselves exempt.

The Silly:: namespace was thought up, but never caught on.  Only a
couple modules ever got into it.

So nobody did anything about it because there were only a handful of
really stupid modules on CPAN and they only appeared once a year.

And then Damian comes along with Bleach on April 1, 2001 and in a few
weeks there's about a dozen modules all doing that sort of thing.  So
all these new top-level modules start causing the CPAN cabal some
problems.  Damian and Andreas go lock themselves in a room and come up
with the Acme:: namespace.  Damian sent out a plea to all the authors
of the joke modules in mid-May:

  I think we should make the top-level namespace genuinely
  amusing in its own right...and a source of future opportunities for
  humour too. To that end, I propose that we all migrate our modules to
  the Acme:: namespace.

And thus Acme:: was born.


Of course, I'm a lazy git and haven't moved my stuff there yet.
Besides, Acme::Sex gives me bad imagery of exploding condoms.


-- 

Michael G. Schwern   <schwern@pobox.com>    http://www.pobox.com/~schwern/
Perl Quality Assurance	    <perl-qa@perl.org>	       Kwalitee Is Job One
Don't ask me lady, I live in beer.

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