Editor’s note: There was no Second Annual Obfuscated Perl Contest; we skipped it in order to shake off the zero-based indexing when the Zeroth Contest began in 1996.
Oh, you shameless, malign bastards.
Coming so soon after Orwant’s cortex reconstruction therapy and my own first hesitant touch of a keyboard in months, the new brace of Obfuscated Perl Contest entries can only be taken as an unprovoked attack by a band of malicious sociopaths.
And it gets worse—most of the entries were submitted by new entrants. While this meant that some of the new players made first-timer mistakes, it also raises the spectre of an unending flow of new Obfuscated Perl programmers. As a result, we have gone into hiding from the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal. Humanity, we pray forgiveness!
But! We must judge on; we are, after all, professionals. Drawing on the lessons of the past, the judging team came up with brand new software for this round. Combined with the hard-won experience of the judges, this made this contest the most difficult and incisively-analyzed match in its history. And also the most brutal; when a Russian software munition formatted lovingly in the shape of a leaping dolphin doesn’t place, it’s a sign that the competition is fierce.
Many entries fell immediately to critical study and our gleaming machine. Here are the ones ...