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Penguin Greetings News

June 06, 2005
It's official! There were no issues with Penguin Greetings 0.9.9, so that is now the 1.0.0 release. Nothing has been changed but the version numbers. Penguin Greetings is now considered stable for production use.

May 09, 2005
Penguin Greetings 0.9.9 is released. This is a release candidate for the 1.0 release. The most important enhancement is support for the embedded Perl environment HTML::Mason in addition to Embperl. Other enhancements include: Localization using Perl's Locale::Maketext, a collection of general use templates to simplify site building, and scheduling when card categories are displayed during the calendar year.

The older ecard sites have received a face-lift, as has the Penguin Greetings information website. To demonstrate the Penguin Greetings Mason environment, a new secondary ecard site has been created: Savoring the sights of Seattle. The total number of cards in the collection is now 240.

April 10, 2004
Just in time for Easter, the default (main) ecard site for Penguin Greetings has been updated on <> in preparation for the official 1.0 release of this software. This is work in progress, but it appears to be stable and perfectly usable as of now.

Unfortunately, since there is no mirror site of Penguin Greetings running the actual 0.9.8 release, there is no place to see what Penguin Greetings looks like "out of the box." So unless some nice person offers to provide a new mirror site for Penguin Greetings, the only way to see the existing look of Penguin Greetings is to install it or wait for the 1.0 release when the new look will become the default.

March 30, 2004
Penguin Greetings 0.9.8 is released.  This update features a new secondary ecard site The Penguin Greetings Four Seasons Collection which demonstrates the power of Embperl for developing elaborate ecard sites on top of the existing Penguin Greetings ecard engine. The 24 new images in the Four Seasons site can be placed in customizable card templates where type-style, frame, color, and other properties can be changed by the card site user. No changes where necessary to the Penguin Greetings ecard engine to implement the Four Seasons site.

One modest but useful enhancement was added to Penguin Greetings error handling. There is now an error 40 defined in case a user tries to access a card removed from the site. In addition to the totally new Four Seasons site, There are 8 new cards and 9 other revised cards in the general collection. All the holy image cards have been reworked to appear more natural and human. There are even two new Easter cards for the season.

March 13, 2004
Unfortunately, I have been unable to contact the folks running the Penguin Greetings mirror site to have them update to the newest version. So until further notice, the only place to see the current version of Penguin Greetings is the development site: See the demonstration pages for more details.

March 06, 2004
Penguin Greetings 0.9.7 is released.  This major update includes support object-oriented ecard sites via Embperl::Object.  A new demonstration web site using this technology has been provided in English and French: The Penguin Greetings California Poppy Collection.  Other important changes include:
  • Caching of all configuration file information for greatly improved performance for the SpeedyCGI version of  Configuration files are now periodically reloaded and can be reloaded via SIGHUP for both the SpeedyCGI application and the daemon.
  • Application daemon now handles purging of ecards older than a user-specified number of days.  Daemon has been streamlined to improve responsiveness and simplify configuration.  All database files are now backed up daily.
  • Added a new database maintenance tool PgreetDButil.
  • Application daemon log file format has been cleaned up to greatly improve readability.
  • Updated PgTemplateTest to test object-oriented templates and purge old test files via a -x option.
  • Replaced all of the early cards which were not based on photos of some sort with far more artistic equivalents.
Included are nine new or updated cards including new cards for Saint Patrick's day!

Note that there was no public release of Penguin Greetings 0.9.6, only of the Perl module Pgreet and it had a minor but annoying bug which was fixed in Pgreet 0.9.7.

January 15, 2004
Penguin Greetings 0.9.5 is released. This release adds support for Localization/Internationalization by interpreting the browser HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE environment variable. Two example secondary sites have been translated into French to demonstrate this capability: The Holy ecard site - PgSaint and a (now dated) Christmas card site - PgXmas.

In addition to the usual updates, the Love and Romance card section has been expanded for for Valentine's day.

December 18, 2003
Christmas ecard secondary sites have been added in English and French to the Penguin Greetings demonstration site area.. These sites are part of the development for multiple language support that is under way for the Penguin Greetings software. However, they are fully functional now (you simply must "manually" select your preferred language at this time.) The Christmas card site in English is:!en-us

and the French site (cartes de voeux de Noël) is:!fr-fr

. . . Happy Holidays!

December 14, 2003
Penguin Greetings 0.9.4 is released. This is an interim release to provide the remainder of the Christmas cards for the 2003 holiday season and New Year cards for 2004. There are no substantive changes to the software.

November 26, 2003
The mirror demonstration site is now back up and running but at a new location (same server - different virtual domain.) You can access Penguin Greetings at Unfortunately, the server ran into some connectivity problems - like a broken ethernet driver!!

November 18, 2003
Penguin Greetings 0.9.3 is released. This release is a code cleanup and minor bug fix release. There are no new features in the application itself and upgrading from previous versions is straightforward if you have the installer.cache file from the previous release.

There are 14 new cards bringing the total in the collection to over 120. This release includes cards for Thanksgiving and the Christmas Holiday Season.

October 2, 2003:
There is now a new mirror site for seeing a demonstration of Penguin Greetings courtesy of the nice folks at Their server has much better connectivity than, and it will always run the current release (while has the development release.) See the demonstration page for more details or head over to try out the demo at:

September 29, 2003:
Penguin Greetings 0.9.2 is released. It provides a new framework to allow developers to implement "back" buttons using CGI, instead of JavaScript. It also corrects entries in the email header to reduce the risk of a Penguin Greeting ecard being incorrectly identified as SPAM. Three new ecards for Halloween have been added to the collection.

August 31, 2003:
Penguin Greetings 0.9.1 is released. It includes a new testing framework for application configuration variables and a new application to test the main configuration file: PgreetConfTest. It also fixes a bug that caused the pgreet UID and GID to be installed as a string instead of a number. This caused the Penguin Greetings daemon pgreetd to send cards out as root instead of user pgreet.

Also included are 6 new ecards for Grandparents in general and Grandparents Day in particular.

August 25, 2003:
Penguin Greetings 0.9.0 is released. At last, the installation procedure is MUCH improved!! The installer Install.PL now takes over the task of: installing the required Perl modules, localizing the application and configuration files, and copying everything where it belongs. You still need to create a pgreet user and make some directories, but the installer takes care of the rest.

The core of the application remains the same as 0.8.8 (as promised,) but there are some bug fixes and code cleanups. There are also over 15 new cards bringing the total in the default collection to over 100!!

July 22, 2003:
Penguin Greetings 0.8.8 is released. This release candidate for the 0.9.x series is an extensive rewrite of core functionality and includes Perl modules for shared code and support for an unlimited number of secondary ecard sites running the same server and same CGI-Application/daemon pair.

Other important changes include: SMTP client service, so that ecard can be sent via another SMTP gateway than the local computer, improvements to PgTemplateTest (formerly TemplateTest,) a new Database initialization tool: PgreetDBinit, Email messages with the user's own subject lines, 2 secondary demonstration ecard sites (one featuring camels - the other saints,) and 20 new cards all quite varied!

Perl fans who take the camel as the Perl mascot will especially enjoy the secondary ecard site: Penguin Greetings - Camel Collection. Send your Camel card today!

June 17, 2003:
OOPS! I learned the hard way not to add a file to a SourceForge release before it has finished uploading from your local server. Both the .gz and .bz2 archives in the 0.8.3 were cut short and therefore useless. I have replaced the files in the release and they uncompress just fine now.

So if you tried to get hold of Penguin Greetings 0.8.3 before today, please accept my apologies and hop on over to the download page and get the complete McCoy!

June 15, 2003:
Penguin Greetings 0.8.3 is released. This release features user-interface improvements to the default web-site that "ships" with Penguin Greetings, a new Standby mode, and a greatly enhanced template tool:

There are (count'em) 18 new cards for this release including new cards in the birthday, love and romance, sympathy and encouragement, religious, and general interest categories. Of course there are additional cards for the American Independence Day! You can see all the new cards in the "recently added cards" on the Demonstration page.

June 08, 2003:
I've added a new card category: "recently added cards". This will contain the cards in development for the next release and when a release happens will contain a list of all the new cards from the previous release. I've added 5 new cards in preparation for the 0.8.3 release. You may preview them on the Demonstration page.

May 29, 2003:
Penguin Greetings 0.8.2 is released. Penguin Greetings supports a persistent Perl interpreter via the SpeedyCGI utility. This greatly improves the response of Penguin Greetings while reducing the load it places on the server hardware. All of the SpeedyCGI performance parameters that can be changed during runtime have been added to the Penguin Greetings configuration file.

There are now over 45 ecards included in the distribution including cards for Fathers' day, Thank you cards, and Patriotic cards.

Apr 28, 2003:
Penguin Greetings 0.8.1 is released. Penguin Greetings now does all error handling via HTML templates. So all error messages are completely customizable and the system can be translated into any language that can be represented in HTML. The CGI application does no direct interaction with the user that in not mediated by the HTML template system.

There are now over 30 ecards included in the distribution including cards for Mothers' day, Cards for solace/sympathy, and religious cards.

Apr 27, 2003:
A Penguin Greetings users email list has been created. It exists for users, administrators, and content developers to post questions, make suggestions, and share ideas on how to make more interesting Penguin Greetings ecard sites. The list is called pgreet-users and you can subscribe to it or access the archives from the following link:

Apr 10, 2003:
Penguin Greetings information web site (this web site!) is now converted to use Embperl::Object. What was up for the April 8th release was a "faked" object-oriented Embperl website. I didn't want to delay the release of Penguin Greetings with Easter fast approaching. This is now the real object-oriented McCoy!

Apr 08, 2003:
Penguin Greetings 0.8.0 is released. Penguin Greetings is now two products wrapped into one. Penguin Greetings is engine for handling web "ecards." It is also a collection of 20+ cards that can be installed into any server for an immediate ecards solution. Major enhancements have been made in the way that cards are stored in configuration files and in the DBM databases which make card content much easier to develop - especially using Embperl. Both the demonstration site and information website have been completely overhauled. Penguin Greetings has matured into a very suitable tool for everything from serious content developers to the UNIX hobbyist who simply wants to add ecards to his/her server.

Mar 23, 2003:
Penguin Greetings 0.7.8 is released.  This is basically a release candidate for version 0.8.0 and includes the most important enhancement needed for the 1.0.0 release: HTML templates that use Embperl to embed the Perl variables.  There may be some minor adjustments to the formatting of templates, but now content designers have a solid and stable foundation from which to work on.  Assuming no serious bugs are found, the 0.8.0 release will contain mostly documentation upgrades and revised content to demonstrate the new enhancements.  Bug reports and/or comments on this release are especially appreciated.

Mar 09, 2003:
Penguin Greetings 0.7.1 is released.  After struggling with the existing Perl options to install Penguin Greetings I found that there simply aren't any standard ways to install scripts (in contrast with Perl modules.)  I knew I was trouble when I posted my problem to the Module::Build and the only answer I got was someone saying: "You know, that's why I signed up to this email list too - have you had any luck?!?!!"  So, after wasting far more time than it was worth, I just wrote my own installer.  This release sports the new installer.  It is a little fancier than necessary and is robustly designed.  Comments and suggestions are as always welcome!

Feb 18, 2003:
Sorry for the delay in updates.  I was a victim of the latest respiratory bug that is going around.  I'm looking into the two main deficiencies in Penguin Greetings.  The current plan is to use the new Perl module Module::Build to use as the installer.  According to the   Module::Build article on O'Rielly's by Dave Roisky, Module::Build is being considered to replace the old ExtUtils::MakeMaker module in Perl 5.10.  It seems to have the additional flexibility that will make it possible for me to drop the files for Penguin Greetings in the right places without undue pain.

I'm more or less decided to replace the existing ad-hoc system for incorporating Perl variables in the HTML templates with one based on EmbPerl.  While I like features of Mason, it still doesn't work with Apache 2 while EmbPerl has already made the transition.  I also like the syntax of EmbPerl a little better than that of Mason.  The use of square brackets [ ] I think is less prone to error than reusing angle brackets again.

Feb 6, 2003:
Penguin Greetings 0.7.0 released to the world!  Download your own copy and give it a whirl! Logo

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