Obfuscated Perl Contest

The Obfuscated Perl Contest was a competition for programmers of Perl which was held annually between 1996 and 2000. Entrants to the competition aimed to write "devious, inhuman, disgusting, amusing, amazing, and bizarre Perl code".[1] It was run by The Perl Journal and took its name from the International Obfuscated C Code Contest.[2]


The entries were judged on aesthetics, output and incomprehensibility. One entrant per year received the Best of Show award. Entrants were advised to try and demonstrate a range of Perl knowledge, while being humorous, surprising and deceitful. Code which purposely crashed the judges' machines was discouraged.

The competition was typically divided into four categories, which, in the last contest, included:

  • Create a Diversion (limit of 2048 bytes if using Perl/Tk, 512 bytes otherwise)
  • World Wide Wasteland (limit of 512 bytes)
  • Inner Beauty (limit of 512 bytes)
  • Best The Perl Journal (code which generated the words The Perl Journal, limit of 256 bytes)

See also


  1. The 3rd Annual Obfuscated Perl Contest Felix Gallo - Perl Journal (You may need to subscribe to the Perl Journal to be able to view this link, which is the source of the quote given.)
  2. Simon Cozens (2005). Advanced Perl Programming. O'Reilly. p. 256. ISBN 9780596004569.

Further reading

  • Jon Orwant (2003). "Obfuscated Perl". Games, Diversions, and Perl Culture. O'Reilly. pp. 487–521. ISBN 9780596003128. reprints of the announcements, made in The Perl Journal by Felix S. Gallo, of the Zeroth, First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth contests
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