Randal L. Schwartz

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Randal L. Schwartz
Born (1961-11-22) November 22, 1961 (age 62)
Other namesmerlyn (internet handle)
Occupation(s)Programmer, Author, Instructor
Employer(s)Stonehenge Consulting Services, Inc.
Known forSchwartzian transform

Randal L. Schwartz (born November 22, 1961), also known as merlyn, is an American author, system administrator and programming consultant. He has written several books on the Perl programming language, and plays a promotional role within the Perl community. He was a co-host of FLOSS Weekly.

In 1995, while working as a consultant for Intel, he cracked a number of passwords on the company's systems. He was convicted of hacking, sentenced to five years probation, and fined. The conviction was expunged in 2007.


Schwartz is the co-author of several widely used books about Perl, a programming language, and has written regular columns about Perl for several computer magazines, including UNIX Review, Web Techniques, and the Perl Journal. He popularized the Just another Perl hacker signature programs. He is a founding board member of the Perl Mongers, the worldwide Perl grassroots advocacy organization. He was a member of the Squeak Oversight Board,[1] which oversees the Squeak programming language.

He has owned and operated Stonehenge Consulting Services, Inc. since 1985. After joining as co-host of FLOSS Weekly, a free software/open source (FLOSS) themed podcast in 2007, he assumed the role of host in 2010 until May 2020. He has done voice work for StarShipSofa, a science-fiction podcast.

Schwartz's name is also associated with the Schwartzian transform, an algorithm to efficiently sort a list according to a computation, without repeating the computation many times for each element of the list. He also coined the name spaceship operator for use in his teaching, because it reminded him of the spaceship in an HP BASIC Star Trek game.[2]

Schwartz is a member of the F/OSS community, and has been named a "Perl Expert" and interviewed by numerous outlets – to discuss his views on Perl, Ruby, Smalltalk and other topics – including Dr. Dobb's,[3] Paul dot Com Security TV,[4] The Command Line,[5] PerlCast,[6] FLOSS Weekly,[7] ONLamp.com,[8] and InfoQ.[9] Schwartz was also a speaker at the 2011 OSCON conference[10] and a keynote speaker at the 2010 Texas LinuxFest conference.[11]

His various books have been met with positive reviews.[12][13]

Schwartz giving a talk at FISL 16

Intel case[edit]

In July 1995, Schwartz was prosecuted in the case of State of Oregon vs. Randal Schwartz, which dealt with compromised computer security during his time as a system administrator for Intel. In the process of performing penetration testing, he cracked a number of passwords on Intel's systems.[14][15] Schwartz was originally convicted on three felony counts, with one reduced to a misdemeanor, but on February 1, 2007, his arrest and conviction records were sealed through an official expungement, and he is legally no longer a felon.[16][17]


  • Programming Perl, ISBN 0-937175-64-1; ISBN 1-56592-149-6 (2ed)
  • Learning Perl, ISBN 1-56592-042-2; ISBN 1-56592-284-0 (2ed); ISBN 0-596-00132-0 (3ed); ISBN 0-596-10105-8 (4ed); ISBN 0-596-52010-7 (5ed); ISBN 1-4493-0358-7 (6ed)[18] (2011); ISBN 1-4919-5432-9 (7ed)[19] (2016)
  • Intermediate Perl, ISBN 0-596-10206-2 (2006); ISBN 1-4493-9309-8 (2ed, 2012)
  • Learning Perl on Win32 Systems, ISBN 1-56592-324-3
  • Learning Perl Objects, References & Modules[20] (2003), ISBN 0-596-00478-8
  • Effective Perl Programming, ISBN 0-201-41975-0
  • Preface for Object Oriented Perl, ISBN 1-884777-79-1
  • Collected columns in Randal Schwartz's Perls of Wisdom, ISBN 1-59059-323-5


  1. ^ "Squeak Oversight Board Election 2011". Wiki.squeak.org. April 10, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  2. ^ "Spaceship history (was Re: [dart-misc] DEP meeting notes)".
  3. ^ Riley, Mike (June 7, 2007). "Randal Schwartz on Perl 6 and Ruby | Dr Dobb's Journal". Drdobbs.com. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  4. ^ "Randal Schwartz Interview | PaulDotCom Security Weekly TV on". Blip.tv. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  5. ^ "TCLP 2009-10-21 Interview: Randal Schwartz – The Command Line". Thecommandline.net. October 21, 2009. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  6. ^ "Perlcast Interview 13 – Interview with Randal Schwartz". Rblasch.org. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  7. ^ "The TWiT Netcast Network with Leo Laporte". Twit.tv. Archived from the original on July 18, 2006. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  8. ^ "An Interview with Randal Schwartz and Tom Phoenix: Authors of "Learning Perl, 3rd Edition" – O'Reilly Media". Oreillynet.com. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  9. ^ "Ruby's Roots: Smalltalk Comeback and Randal Schwartz on Smalltalk". InfoQ. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  10. ^ "Randal L. Schwartz: OSCON 2011 – O'Reilly Conferences, July 25 – 29, 2011, Portland, OR". Oscon.com. July 25, 2011. Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  11. ^ "Texas Linuxfest 2010". April 12, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  12. ^ Brown, Martin (November 3, 2005). "Book review: Randal Schwartz's Perls of Wisdom by Randal L Schwartz". Free Software Magazine (8).
  13. ^ Turner, Brian (June 22, 2006). "Book review: Learning Perl by Randal L Schwartz, Tom Phoenix, and brian d foy". Free Software Magazine.
  14. ^ Lewis, Peter H. (November 27, 1995). "Technology: On the net; An Intel computer security expert runs afoul of the law. So much for the 'hacker ethic'?". New York Times.
  15. ^ Pacenka, Steve (April 15, 1996)."Report of Detective P. Lazenby" (archive) Archived 17 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine (Case main Archived 31 August 2018 at the Wayback Machine).
  16. ^ Leyden, John (March 5, 2007). "Intel 'hacker' clears his name: 12-year fight ends in victory for 'white hat' password cracker". The Register. UK.
  17. ^ Pacenka, Steve (April 15, 1996). State of Oregon vs. Randal Schwartz case summary (archive). LightLink.com. (Case main Archived 31 August 2018 at the Wayback Machine).
  18. ^ Learning Perl, Sixth Edition – O'Reilly Media. Oreilly.com. June 23, 2011. ISBN 9781449303587. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  19. ^ "Learning Perl, Seventh Edition - O'Reilly Media". Oreilly.com. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  20. ^ Learning Perl Objects, References, and Modules – O'Reilly Media. Oreilly.com. June 9, 2003. ISBN 9780596004781. Retrieved August 22, 2011.

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