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Open Letter To Tim O'Reilly To Free The Perl Camel

Dear Tim,

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 πŸ™

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 πŸͺ that we are not allowed to use
  • A shadowed camel πŸͺ derived from your camel, still problematic even if it's de facto used everywhere
  • An onion πŸ§… that is not Perl but foundation logo (and not even free to use/modify)
  • A raptor πŸŒ‹ 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! πŸ†“
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:

The non-free Perl camel

...and derivatives!

As far as I know, O'Reilly never enforced restrictions and kept friendly to Perl along all these years.

Past O'Reilly position on Camel

Non-commercial use

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 To request the camel artwork, please send email to, 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.

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 (

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?

A: No.

Thank you sir, now let's move one step forward and Free The Perl Camel πŸ˜‰

Recent position

  • 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: Perl Camel usage recent

It's even worse 😠

And what is allowed for shadowed camel?

Shadowed camel is a derivative

(It's a derivative of "specific image of the camel that appears on the cover of the Programming Perl book")


Example of discussions


  • 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 on Saturday
  • 08/07/2023 - I posted on Hacker News and it has hit the front page with 170 votes and 50 comments πŸ”₯ - 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

Top comments (4)

randalschwartz profile image
Randal L. Schwartz

I'd be happy to have O'Reilly fight for any improper or derogative use of the Camel with respect to Perl. But I also suspect that if you have good intentions, it'd not be in O'Reilly's interest to try to shut you down, as it would have a bad community backlash. This is not official endorsement, but I'd say you probably already have nearly everything you are looking for.

matthewpersico profile image
Matthew O. Persico

I just sent an email to asking him to free the camel. If you are going to be in Toronto, this would be a great lightning talk.

bmeneg profile image
Bruno Meneguele

There will be a talk by Olaf Alders on third day ( that might be a good place for deeper discussion. I won't be there, unfortunately, but please, make a good use of it for me :)

gdo profile image
Guido Brugnara

Why don't we simply use a dromedary?
In fact the two humps represent Perl and Raku.
The logo would still be recognized by keeping the graphic style that was not invented by the author of the camel but is used by all graphic designers representing animals in scientific publications, as well as the pose is typical of those species.