Allison Randal is chief architect and lead developer of the open source project Parrot. In over 25 years as a programmer, she has developed everything from games to linguistic analysis tools, e-commerce websites, shipping fulfillment, compilers, and database replication systems, worked as a language designer, project manager, conference organizer, editor, and consultant, been president of an open source software foundation, written two books, and founded a tech publishing company.

Perl 6 and Parrot Essentials Perl 6 and Parrot Essentials
by Allison Randal, Dan Sugalski, Leopold Tötsch
Second Edition June 2004
Print: $39.99

Perl 6 Essentials Perl 6 Essentials
by Allison Randal, Dan Sugalski, Leopold Tötsch
June 2003

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GPLv3, User Products Clause

I'll split my comments on the third draft of version 3 of the GPL over a series of posts, each focused on one aspect of the license. The User Products clause has appeared in every draft of the GPLv3, in... read more

Distributed Hosting

I just got back from a round-the-world trip, researching trends for Radar. In Melbourne, Australia, I met with Pete Yandell and Matthew Walker from Alien Camel (the creators of, 9cays, and Monkey On Your Back). One interesting data point... read more

Grassroots Marketing, Singing Labels, Free TV, and more

ETech is just around the corner. These are a few sessions I'm particularly looking forward to: Community Marketing: Your Customers in Charge: Web 2.0 wunderkinders Tara Hunt and Chris Messina walk through the fundamentals of grassroots community development and how... read more

Ubuntu Live Registration Open

If you have a few moments while you download Feisty Fawn, wander over to the Ubuntu Live conference site. Registration is now open, together with a full listing of the sessions and tutorials for the conference. Ubuntu Live is co-presented... read more

Ubuntu 7.04 Released

Ubuntu's 7.04 release, code-named "Feisty Fawn" went out today. Downloads are slow from the main site, but the Ubuntu mirrors are rapidly updating. The release is joined by an announcement from Sun and Canonical that Feisty includes Sun's Java core... read more

Open Source Alternative Energy

This comment, on Red Hat's new venture promoting the open source philosophy outside traditional software arenas, hits a point that has bothered me since O'Reilly started to enter the alternative energy space last year. Take alternative energy inventions and open... read more

GPLv3, Linux and GPLv2 Compatibility

The Linux kernel—the core piece of source code on which all distributions of Linux are based—is released under the GPLv2 license. Not the "GPL version 2, or any later version", but explicitly GPL version 2. This may seem like an... read more

GPLv3, Committee A Meeting

Committee A met in a conference call today for the first time since the release of the third draft of the GPLv3. In the interests of privacy and confidentiality, I won't report specific details of the call. I will talk... read more

GPLv3, Apache License Compatibility

In the early days of the GPLv3 revision process, compatibility with the Apache License 2.0 was given as one of many motivations for the update. At the 5th GPLv3 conference, Richard Stallman was recorded saying: GPL version 3 is designed... read more

Mark Radcliffe on GPLv3

Mark Radcliffe, outside counsel for the Open Source Initiative, has posted an insightful summary of the changes in the third draft of the GPLv3.... read more


Digium, the company behind Asterisk, is in the final testing phase on a complete software VOIP solution called AsteriskNOW. In addition to the Asterisk software, it includes a simple GUI configuration tool and a custom distribution of Linux slimmed down... read more

OASIS Symposium on OpenDocument Format

The OASIS Symposium on open standards is hosting a workshop April 18th in San Diego on the OpenDocument format (ODF). It'll include sessions by Michael Brauer from Sun, Pete Brunet and Rob Weir from IBM, and others, on accessibility, programmability,... read more

GPLv3, Microsoft/Novell language

In November of last year Microsoft and Novell announced a collaboration deal between the two companies. The exact terms of the deal haven't been released yet, so it's difficult to evaluate it in any substantial way. The two companies report... read more

OSCON 2009 Highlights

June 05 2009

OSCON 2009 is just around the corner, this year in San Jose, California. When I spoke at the Silicon Valley Linux Users Group last night, they asked me for a few highlights. It's tough to pick from over 200 sessions, all the best-of-the-best out of 800 submissions (and there were… read more

Nominations For Google-O'Reilly Open Source Awards 2009

April 17 2009

The 5th annual Google-O'Reilly Open Source Awards will be hosted at OSCON 2009 in San Jose, CA. The awards recognize individual contributors who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, creativity, and collaboration in the development of Open Source Software. Past recipients for 2005-2008 include Angela Byron, Karl Fogel, Pamela Jones, Gerv Markham,… read more

Linux Kernel Worth $1.4 Billion

October 21 2008

The Linux Foundation has released a report estimating the Linux kernel to be worth $1.4 billion, and the Fedora 9 distribution to be worth just over $10 billion. The report is an update of a 2002 report estimating the worth of Red Hat Linux 7.1 (Fedora is the community edition… read more

OSCON moves to San Jose

October 01 2008

The official word is out, OSCON 2009 will be moving from Portland, Oregon to San Jose, California. We've received significant positive feedback on the move, and messages of welcome from Bay Area open source contacts, but also some messages of disappointment from the local Portland open source community, and from… read more

RailsConf Europe Early Registration

July 10 2008

The schedule for RailsConf Europe just went up last week. It's shaping up to be another great conference. A few sessions and tutorials that particularly catch my eye are David Heinemeier Hansson's keynote on Wednesday morning, "Meta-programming Ruby for Fun & Profit" by Neal Ford, "Offline Rails Applications with Google… read more

Popular OSCON Sessions

May 29 2008

One great feature of the new conference website software O'Reilly is using this year (developed by my co-chair Edd Dumbill) is the "Personal Schedule". When you're surfing the schedule or any list of talks you can click the star beside it to add it to a private list. During the… read more

Popular OSCON Sessions

May 29 2008

One great feature of the new conference website software O'Reilly is using this year (developed by my co-chair Edd Dumbill) is the "Personal Schedule". When you're surfing the schedule or any list of talks you can click the star beside it to add it to a private list. During the… read more

Boycotting Amazon

May 21 2008

In light of Amazon's attempts to lock print-on-demand publishers into their own printing services, I've made a personal decision not to buy from Amazon any more. Since the site first launched over a decade ago, I've spent thousands and thousands of dollars on Amazon feeding my addiction to tech books… read more

Call For Open Source Awards 2008 Nominations

April 15 2008

For the 4th year running, Google and O'Reilly will present a set of Open Source Awards at OSCON 2008. The awards recognize individual contributors who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, creativity, and collaboration in the development of Open Source Software. Past recipients for 2005-2007 include Doc Searls, Jeff Waugh, Gerv Markham,… read more

The "New Privacy"

March 21 2008

There was a great session on Online Privacy on NPR's Science Friday today, including a guest spot by Emily Vander Veer, the author of O'Reilly's Facebook: The Missing Manual. You can subscribe to the podcast or download today's episode directly.... read more

Concurrency Summit in Mountain View

February 29 2008

Next Friday, March 7th, O'Reilly is holding a summit on concurrency at Google's Mountain View campus. We've invited a number of people from the Foo network ("friends of O'Reilly") to talk about their work and research in concurrent/parallel development, in... read more

Free Computers for Local Schools

February 28 2008

If you're located in the Bay Area, take a bit of time out this weekend to help the community and the environment. On Saturday, March 1st, the Alameda County Computer Resource Center together with Untangle, are hosting an installfest in... read more

Interview with Linus Torvalds

February 04 2008

The second half of the Linux Foundation interview with Linus Torvalds went up today. Several interesting perspectives on patents, competition, innovation, community building, target markets, and the future of Linux. If you're looking for hope that Linux will focus more... read more

Linux and GPLv3

January 09 2008

The Linux Foundation published a podcast interview with Linus Torvalds this week, the first in a new series. The interview covers a broad range of topics related to Linux, but towards the end spotlights the subject of licensing. As I... read more

OSCON 2008 Call for Participation

January 07 2008

The call for participation for the 2008 O'Reilly Open Source Convention is out. This year marks the 10th anniversary of OSCON, of the Open Source Initiative, of Mozilla, and of the term "Open Source", so a huge celebration is in... read more

Phone Monopoly Redux

December 12 2007

The economics of hardware subsidization aren't as significant in mobile phone contracts as you might think. The mobile phone companies could sell you a $20 phone that would work just fine. They do in other countries, and they used to... read more

Open Source and Microsoft

October 31 2007

At OSCON this summer, I was interviewed by Sam Ramji from Microsoft on the subject of open source and Microsoft's participation in the community. The video is live now on their open source labs site, Port 25.... read more

Design Thinking

July 19 2007

At OSCON next Tuesday evening, Michael Tiemann will lead a training session on Design Thinking. In a nutshell, Design Thinking is an approach to planning and problem solving that extends a familiar metaphor of "design" (as in graphic design, or... read more

Publishing Renaissance

July 16 2007

I just got a stack of copies of Gravitas, the first book published by my company (Onyx Neon Press). I was amused to see it tagged as "Chick Lit" on Amazon, since it's written by a guy, and entirely from... read more

Perl in a Nutshell

July 12 2007

I've always appreciated the humor and creativity of the Perl community, and the Zen-like devotion to not taking life (or anything) too seriously. This snippet on YouTube was inspired by an O'Reilly book: Perl in a Nutshell.... read more

Beyond the Browser

May 28 2007

At OSBC last week I gave a Radar talk on current technology trends. The trend of moving traditional desktop applications to massively networked, Web 2.0 online applications like Google Docs is well-known. The problem is, a web browser is a... read more

Boeing and Linux

May 15 2007

An Intel employee on a recent flight across the Atlantic discovered that the Boeing 777 entertainment system is running Linux.... read more

GPLv3, Clarity and Simplicity

May 14 2007

The first I heard about plans for a GPLv3 revision was from Bradley Kuhn early in 2005 at a meeting I organized for The Perl Foundation (a public review of the Artistic License 2.0). My first thought was "Great! We... read more

New Open Source Projects at OSBC

April 27 2007

At OSBC next month, Matt Asay has asked me to run a session titled "The Best Open Source Apps You've Never Heard Of". I have space for one more project left, so if you have a little-known, business-relevant open source... read more

Ubuntu: Word on the street

April 21 2007

I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Redmond, Washington (Microsoft HQ) and one of the customers just approached the guy emptying the trash and started explaining a problem he was having with his upgrade to Feisty Fawn. The guy set aside... read more

GPLv3, Third Draft

March 29 2007

The FSF released the third draft of the GNU General Public License version 3, today. The third draft was originally scheduled to be released in August of last year, but they delayed the draft in order to add some language... read more

Software in Your Language

March 29 2007

In Johannesburg I met with Dwayne Bailey of, a non-profit organization that creates and distributes versions of Firefox, Thunderbird, and in the 11 official languages of South Africa. They're also involved in the development of WordForge projects like... read more

Temple of the Sun

March 29 2007

Sun released an online game called "Temple of the Sun" today. It's a harmless marketing gimic for their Sun Studio 11, but it's actually fun to play. Your Indiana Jones-like character wanders through corridors, collecting coins, dodging spears, whipping glowing... read more

South African Government Favors Open Source

February 28 2007

Last week the South African government announced an initiative to move all government departments over to open source software. In a statement from the Cabinet: ...all new software developed for or by the government will be based on open standards... read more

Open Source at Carnegie Mellon

February 28 2007

Carnegie Mellon West has just launched a "Software Management" Masters degree that integrates open source technology throughout the program and includes a more detailed "Introduction to Open Source" elective. From a recent article on LinuxInsider: the program's product-oriented courses,... read more

Ubuntu Live 2007 - Call for Participation

February 11 2007

The call for participation for the Ubuntu Live conference will close next Wednesday the 14th at 11:59pm PST (Thursday the 15th at 7:59am GMT). If you're deploying or using Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, or Xubuntu in business, non-profit or NGO work,... read more

Open Source and Hardware Support

February 11 2007

A thoughtful post by chromatic on the problems and potential solutions around proprietary hardware and drivers with open source software: However, it’s clear that the normal approach-that is, complaining in small groups and rewarding vendors with your business anyway-is not... read more

Open Graphics Cards

January 24 2007

The Open Graphics Project and co-company Traversal Technology are not only producing open source drivers for their graphics cards, but are also releasing specifications for the cards. Unfortunately this doesn't go all they way to a full open hardware... read more

Call for Energy Technology Makers and Thinkers

January 24 2007

We've just launched the call for participation for the Energy Innovation Conference. It's a new conference we're putting on this year in the clean tech/alternative energy space. I'll be co-chairing the conference together with Alec Proudfoot from Google. This all... read more

2007 Open Source Catalogue

January 24 2007

If you have the time to spare, it's definitely worth picking up a copy of Optaros' Open Source Catalogue 2007 (it's free). Most valuable is their perspective on current trends in the top-ranked projects: which are on the rise,... read more

Campcaster - Open Source Radio

January 12 2007

In the department of open source software with a significant social impact, Campcaster is a radio broadcasting software package. It's released under the GPL and developed only for Linux. Douglas Arellanes, one of the developers of Campcaster, was recently interviewed... read more

Building Second Life

January 12 2007

Following up on my earlier post on the open source release of Second Life, I've now successfully built Second Life from source on both Mac OS X and Ubuntu. The Mac OS X build in Xcode went smoothly. The build... read more

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