The white camel is a special sort of beast. You’ve seen pictures of camels. and they were probably brown. Every so often, a white camel appears, and camelherders consider them to be extra special and more valuable. The Perl community has its own valuable members who go far beyond their own personal interest to make the community a better place for everyone.
The White Camel Awards recognize non-technical contributions and acheivements in the Perl community. Started in 1999 by Perl Mongers and now awarded by The Perl Foundation, the triangular crystal with the Camel etching has had many imitators, including the Google Open Source Awards this year, whose award looked like a skewed White Camel.
At the 2006 O’Reilly Open Source Convention, also known as the Tenth Perl Conference, Dave Adler (2001 White Camel recipient for his work with the first ever Perl users group, the New York Perl Mongers) and Sarah Burcham (oranizer of the 2002 Yet Another Perl Conference in St. Louis) presented three awards.
Josh McAdams, the host of Perlcast and the organizer of the 2006 Yet Another Perl Conference in Chicago, has made quite the name for himself since he exploded into Perl community about two years ago when he was in Arkansas and started Perlcast, the first regular podcast about Perl. Since then, he’s interviewed Perl luminaries as well as people connected to the Perl community, re-vitalized the Chicago Perl Mongers, and has been an all-around nice guy.
Jay Hannah, keeps Perl Mongers user groups running. Perl Mongers started by providing free web hosting, domain names, mailing lists, and other central services to make it as easy as possible for new user groups to start and to attract Perl hackers in their area. The maintenance of these services has always been a thankless job, and the Perl community is fortunate that Jay Hannah keeps it working.
Randal L. Schwartz has been involved with Perl since its early days, and the perl5porters picture David Adler displayed on the large screen next to the stage showed a much younger Randal alongside younger versions of Jarkko Hietaniemi, Gurusamy Sarathy, and Larry Wall (although some did not look much younger, prompting someone to loudly shout “Pudge looks the same!”). Randal has been a tireless advocate of Perl and the community of Perl, and his philosophy of giving back to the community is the epitome of the White Camel.