Programming Perl, 2nd edition, by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, Randal Schwartz and Stephen Potter. This book is considered the most holy and revered gospel of all things related to Perl, and to many is the fountain of geek wisdom.

Book by O'Reilly Publishing, considered by some to be a definitive reference guide to perl programming, it is essentially useful and one of the better Perl books out there, although I'm not sure if I'd consider it definitive, maybe when you companion it up with Learning Perl, The Perl Cookbook and Advanced Perl Programming. It does however contain full explanations of most Perl features.

The 3rd edition is out as of late July 2000. It covers new (and, in some cases, experimental) features in the recently-released Perl 5.6, including multithreading, Unicode support, and compiler back-ends.

The 3rd ed. has increased the camel's girth by about a third. This edition weighs in at over 1000 pages.

If you can, try to get the first edition of the book. The second edition had most of the funny jokes and side comments by Larry Wall removed/edited/censored. Aside from anything else, and especially the first edition, it is a wonderfully entertaining read. Can you imagine a technical book that you can't put down? There are a few, and the first edition of Programming Perl is an example.

Here are some of the humorous quotes (YMMV), and this is just from the glossary, let alone the rest of the book (and yes, I typed them in myself):

Call by reference: Throwing encyclopedias at your kids until they come to dinner.

Call by value: Throwing money at your kids until they come to dinner.

Conditional: Something "iffy".

Curly Braces: Larry and Moe.

Flush: Turning bright red when asked if you could do something crafty "in something other than Perl this time, please".

Indirection: When Randal says, "I don't know the answer ... go ask Larry".

Minimalism: The belief that "small is beautiful." Paradoxically, however, if you say something in a small language, it turns out big and if you say it in a big language, it turns out small. Go figure.

Toolbox approach: The notion that, with a complete set of simple tools that work well together, you can build almost anything you want. Which is fine if you're assembling a tricycle, but if you're building a defranishizing comboflux, you really want your own machine shop to build special tools in. Perl is a sort of machine shop.

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