About Perl Grants

The following is my view on the subject (and also first, hopefully not last, blog post here), a comment to About the Grants Committee.

Whenever someone is about to submit a grant proposal, that proposal goes through one's "internal review" first. And in that internal review one asks yourself: "Why should I ask to be paid for what countless of others just CONTRIBUTE to Perl community? The Perl itself and tens of thousands of modules are literally millions of hours, hundreds of years of work just contributed. Why should I ask for pay?". This is the perfectly right question to ask. And this makes the one's internal review quite picky, and the result is what we see - no proposals. And, though surprisingly it may sound, this is the right thing.

To be financed with grant there must really be a tangible, important benefit to community at large that cannot be achieved without grant. And this criteria leaves VERY FEW things appropriate to be financed with grant.

And most important such thing is a highly skilled work of core development (in light of recent development that interpreters of other languages have underwent, e.g. that spectacular JavaScript performance race, Perl 5 still has a room for improvement), but there is already Perl 5 maintenance fund dedicated to this end. Apart from that there are very few things worth financing with grants that will be the right use of scarce contributed funds, and people understand that, so probably that is why there are very few or no proposals.

And that is how it really should be. Only the best use of funds will motivate people to contribute money in the first place. If funds are spent on minor projects away from core needs of the community, we soon end up with no monetary contributions, as contributors will see no results that their money are worth of. So the general principle is that grants should be spend on something that contributors of most funds would approve.

This is perfectly OK to support development with funds raised from Perl community contributions. The only requirement is spending those funds to make (or foster) real technological advances of Perl (since we all depend on it), not just spend money on Perl projects.


Welcome and great post Metadoo. I have to warn you though some of the louder voices will complain there is no meta to identify Metadoo.

My concern with the grant process is that it seems to be stuck in an antiquated engine. TPF wants to receive public funding but then through committee(elected) privately votes/approves grant requests for what is presumably a public community. It is as if TPF can't decide if it wants to a public or private non-profit. Yes, I understand the entire purpose of electing representatives. Couple this with an extremely long feedback voting loop(possibly up to 90 days depending on application) and we are living essentially in an offline world. Why not take up what is popular such as a grant process similar to a kickstarter method? Rather than leaving a committee to decide what is best for Perl in their own use-cases why not let corporations and individuals donate specifically for what improves Perl for their local use? Grants that are not popular are not funded but those meeting the grant request amount are initiated in 30 days. In summary, the committee hosts the grant proposal and the community votes publicly(or anonymous) by donation on specific grants.

I assume metadoo is the same metadoo as this metadoo - there can't be that many metadoos, can there?

>I assume metadoo is the same metadoo as this metadoo - there can't be that many metadoos, can there?

Good search. Thank you! So...what do think about the Perl grants?

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About metadoo

user-pic I program Perl.