Last Chance to Support Damian Conway

$16,500 pledged, another $11,000 needed to liberate Damian Conway.

As reported earlier, the Yet Another Society (YAS) is putting together a grant to Monash University, Australia. The grant will fund Damian Conway's full-time work on Perl for a year. YAS founder Kevin Lenzo said, "The response from the Perl community has been just overwhelming."

Damian Conway, the author of many award-winning Perl Conference papers as well as the Quantum::Superpositions and Parse::RecDescent modules, is a professor in Monash's Computer Science department. His day job involves administrating a degree course, teaching undergraduates, and assisting postgraduate students with research. It doesn't include Perl. The Perl work he has done so far has been in his spare time, wedged around his >60-hour Monash weeks.

The wider Perl community has pledged over US$16,000 so far. That only US$11,000 to be raised before a matching pledge from BlackStar, a UK-based video-retail company, takes it up to the US$55,000 needed. Kevin Lenzo said "Blackstar stepped up quite early to help out. Their business benefits from Perl in innumerable ways, and they're really being good citizens by contibuting back this way, in a real and substantial way that will help everyone."

Unlike the previous kinds of corporate sponsorship of Perl developers, where O'Reilly (which runs this site) employs Larry Wall and ActiveState employed Gurusamy Sarathy (the last pumpking), Damian would merely be funded to work on Perl. Said Damian, "I'd be working on projects of my own devising: Perl modules, the development of perl6, and making presentations to any Perl Monger groups I pass on my travels, with no other demands on my time."

However, time is running out. Damian must let Monash know by the end of this week whether he'll be teaching next year. Says Kevin Lenzo, "This is a new kind of community patronage -- community-funded open source development. If this works well, we may have more ability to fund people for core work on Perl and other projects."

To pledge money towards the grant, go to registration.yapc.org. Any sized pledge is accepted. YAS has applied for non-profit status with the IRS, so contributions may be tax-deductible.

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