RFC: Perl software of the year award

Earlier I wrote this blog post, which in summary says value of a Perl software project, as opposed to a Perl infrastructure project, is difficult to quantify until the software is written and used. And it often does not work nicely with our grant program where grant value has to be determined before the software exists.

For instance, if I request a $2000 grant to improve a popular Perl module's performance by 1000 times, I imagine I'll get the money provided I can demonstrate the performance improvement with some proof-of-concept code.

What if I propose to write face recognition software in Perl which finds your doppelgänger from images on the web? And if I request $5000? It's not hard to imagine your reaction will be "an interesting idea but how does it help the Perl community?"

The problem is that, while I believe this unwritten software will get attention and my website will get one million hits per day, which will help Perl reputation, I have no way to prove my website's future popularity upfront.

I'd like to propose a way to tackle with this dilemma - "Perl software of the year". By awarding successful/impactful Perl projects, we will add visibility to Perl and it'll give incentive to people to write more software in Perl. It doesn't have to be a Perl module. It can be software written in Perl or a website with Perl backend. Unlike the grant program where we have to determine the value before delivery, we can give an award after the fact without risk.

The prize depends on the TPF budget, but it won't be a showstopper. Its initial monetary value could be as small as the White Camel award.

Request for your comments!

P.S. I am not trying to alter the existing grant program, which has its own value.

(P.S. I see some people can't comment at blogs.perl.org. If you have an issue, feel free to email to me so I can publish your comments here)

7 Comments

I like it, particularly as it would make it easy to highlight a single project as an example of a project done well. Working on these sorts of things can be a thankless job, so actively selecting a project to show some appreciation seems like a very nice idea to me.

I think it would probably be best if the software in question was NOT just a CPAN module. I.e. it should be a complete program, not only a library (or a set of libraries). That restriction (program versus library) does not prevent it to be distributed on CPAN (notable examples, exiftool, ack).

I imagine there could be several categories: command-line, GUI, web application...
Then I suppose (contradicting my first paragraph) that there could be a "library" category. :-)

One example of CPAN library getting Application of the year award (outside of Perl community) is MySQL::Sandbox (work of GMAX - MySQL expert and long time Perl programmer).
It got "Application of the year 2013" in the MySQL community (datacharmer.blogspot.com).
Why: MySQL Sandbox is a flexible tool that helps to install, test, and dispose of MySQL versions quickly and painlessly. It has been available since 2005, and it is kept up-to-date with support for MariaDB, Percona Server, and MySQL 5.6 (and unreleased MySQL 5.7).

And if the award needs a name, I think we can forget camels and butterflies for a moment, and call it the Onion Clock, or maybe the Clockwork Onion.

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About Makoto Nozaki

user-pic Grants Committee Secretary @ The Perl Foundation. Feel free to email me at tpf-grants-secretary at perl-foundation.org