In 2003, when the French Perl Mong(u)e(u)rs began organising their YAPC::Europe in Paris, they thought about the web site and what they wanted to do with it. Starting from Sylvain Lhullier's prototype, Éric Cholet and Philippe Bruhat created a conference web site that was multilingual, template-driven, and able to manage the users, talks, schedule and payment.
The year after, when preparing the first French Perl Workshop, Éric and Philippe worked on a second system, designed from the beginning to support everything the old site could do, with one difference: it had to support multiple conferences. Act (A Conference Toolkit) was born. They wanted to support several French Workshops without having to recode a conference web site engine every year. Laziness is a lot of work... :-)
The YAPC Europe Foundation was created just after YAPC Europe in Paris, to help and support the organisation of Perl conferences in Europe. Since YEF and Act are hosted on the French mongers system, it was only natural that Act became a part of the service provided by YEF.
As of November 6, 2008, Act supports 17 languages: Belarusian, Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Spanish and Ukrainian.
Certainly not, but The Perl Foundation has shown significant interest in Act:
However, becoming the official Perl conference software is on the roadmap of our world domination plan! ;-)
You can see the progress of Act adoption within the Perl community in the following graph (raw data hosted by the YAPC Europe Foundation):
The name of the toolkit is Act, not ACT.
Even if it looks like an acronym (inspired by the one of APL), it is more of an inspirational injunction to conference organizers to forget about hacking the website and organize their conference. In short: "Act!".
Act started as a bilingual tool (French and English), but over time, many new languages have been added: