I've been thinking about this letter for a while now.
There was a time (an eternity in IT age) where you did a lot for Perl and I thank you so much for this 🙏
But time passed and Perl has lost its value to your eyes.
Thanks to you ❤️ Perl inherited a logo: the camel
But because of you, Perl actually never had a logo at all 😢
Over the years, you never ever made the Perl camel open enough for us (Perl community) to freely use or modify.
Consequently, we are in a very uncomfortable position.
Let's just use a new logo, what's the point?
No, it's not that simple and we were never able to achieve this.
As of today, we are torn between:
- Your camel 🐪 that we are not allowed to use
- A shadowed camel 🐪 derived from your camel, still problematic even if it's de facto used everywhere
- An onion 🧅 that is not Perl but foundation logo (and not even free to use/modify)
- A raptor 🌋 that some people don't like or don't recognize well the association
- Various other attempts
It's a long standing problem with numerous discussions, attempts and continuous frustrations for us.
Now, the thing is, only YOU can fix this 🎯
And it's time.
So I'm asking solemnly, free the Perl camel! 🆓
And do it with a nice and clear license.
Notes: it was sent to
The association of Perl and camel originally comes from Programming Perl book. Since then, O'Reilly always protected it with (too much) restrictions and Perl was never able nor wanted to break association.
We talk about this guy:
As far as I know, O'Reilly never enforced restrictions and kept friendly to Perl along all these years.
- Perl camel usage (webarchive)
We will license the camel image widely for open source products and non-commercial sites related to Perl, requiring only an acknowledgement of its trademark status and a link to www.perl.com. To request the camel artwork, please send email to email@example.com, indicating where, how, and for what purpose you plan to use the image. Please note that we generally do not allow alterations of the Perl camel artwork.
It sounds free at first but it's not at all 😞
Also note the following sentence (at the beginning) which sounds particularly rude:
After all, the only reason that people think of camels in association with Perl is because we used a camel on the cover of Programming Perl.
Ouch! The last edition of Programming Perl was 11 years ago.
- Some clarification in Perl camel FAQ (webarchive)
Q: I want to design a T-shirt with the Perl camel on it. Do I need to get your permission?
A: Yes. But we're willing to make allowances for those of you who have creative ideas and want to do something fun for your friends. So, if the lifetime print run of the T-shirt design is less than 100, you may consider permission automatically granted. For larger print runs, please ask first. We promise to answer quickly!
Q: Why isn't your trademark just restricted to books?
A: We also do conferences, software, research, and online publishing in Perl, and we use the camel image for those things as well. We may want to camel-brand other Perl-related products in the future.
Q: I want to place a picture of a camel on my Perl web page. Am I allowed to do that? Do I have to use your camel?
A: Yes, as long as your page is non-commercial, and the context in which the camel is placed portrays Perl in a positive light. You will need to include the following language in small text somewhere on the page where the camel appears:
"The Perl camel image is a trademark of O'Reilly Media, Inc. Used with permission."
Please make the "O'Reilly Media, Inc." part of the statement a link to our home page (http://www.oreilly.com).
This FAQ sounds terrible to me. It's "yes but no", unclear, restrictive...
At least O'Reilly has some sense of humor:
Q: I want to use $camel as a variable name in a Perl program. Do I need to acknowledge the trademark?
Thank you sir, now let's move one step forward and Free The Perl Camel 😉
- From Perl and Camels, Tim O'Reilly answered questions from Neil Bowers (Perl figure and former perl maintainer). Here's what we can (not) do now:
It's even worse 😠
And what is allowed for shadowed camel?
(It's a derivative of "specific image of the camel that appears on the cover of the Programming Perl book")
- White camel award 2007 - Tim O'Reilly recognized for major contribution to Perl
- The complex topic of Perl logos - Perl logos and licenses (same author)
- Perl and Camels - Neil Bowers clarified recent O'Reilly position
- Ticket to change icon in Ubuntu - Living between tastes and licenses
- Tim O'Reilly Open Letter to Jeff Bezos (2000) - "[...] other attempts to limit the use of web technology for private advantage have put the whole software development and standards process into a precarious state."
- Tim O'Reilly Open Letter to Microsoft (1998) - "[...] you should follow the lead of companies like O'Reilly [...] who are supporting various Open Source communities while finding ways to build commercial added-value products on the open platforms these communities provide."
- Perl raptor - Another Perl logo
- Programming Perl - Great book
- List of Perl books - List books including a lot of O'Reilly references
- Perl camel usage - Old trademark notice
- Perl camel FAQ - Old trademark notice FAQ
- Perl new mascott?
- Official icon?
- Logos [...] are legally restricted
- Perl has no official logo
- A logo for Perl
- Who bestowed the camel to perl?
- Notes about the ongoing Perl logo discussion
- 06/07/2023 - Sent email "A letter to Tim O'Reilly to ask to free the Perl camel" to
- 07/07/2023 - Published blog post
- 08/07/2023 - Sent another email to
- 08/07/2023 - I posted on Hacker News and it has hit the front page with 170 votes and 50 comments 🔥 - Open Letter to Tim O’Reilly to Free the Perl Camel
- 10/07/2023 - Sent email to
- 14/07/2023 - Got answer by email from O'Reilly