On Dec. 18, 1987 -- 25 years ago today -- Larry Wall published Perl 1.0 to the newsgroup comp.sources.misc. It had a shaky beginning because programmers at the time weren't quite sure what to make of it: Unix extension, AWK replacement, sed wannabe? Wall himself billed the langauge as a "replacement" for AWK and sed. A year later, he released version 2, and Perl started to take off. By 1991 -- when the quintessential "Camel" book appeared from O'Reilly -- Perl 4 was firmly entrenched in the hearts and minds and swear stacks of tens of thousands of programmers.