The Perl QA Hackathon 2015

The Perl Quality Assurance Hackathon (hereafter QAH) is an annual 4-day gathering of the people who work on the core CPAN toolchain and associated systems & services. This gives them dedicated time to work on these systems together, solving hard problems and working out how to move everything forward.

Like pretty much everything in the Perl world, these are all volunteers, so our approach is to get sponsorship to cover expenses (travel, accommodation, working space, meals) for as much of the gathering as possible. If your company relies on Perl, ask yourself how much you rely on the toolchain working smoothly? Perhaps you could persuade someone to sponsor the QAH this year?

The CPAN toolchain isn't glamorous, so generally doesn't get much press, but it's an essential part of our world. So over the next few weeks we'll be posting some short articles to raise awareness and hopefully encourage some sponsorship.

More details on the CPAN Pull Request Challenge

The CPAN Pull Request challenge has had way more signups than I was expecting: 343 so far! Some are very experienced Perl programmers and CPAN contributors; some are long-term Perl programmers using this as a way to "give back"; a few are new to everything.

I wouldn't have predicted 300 pull requests in the entire year. Now we might get that in January alone! I know some people are concerned of the effect that this wave of locusts enthusiastic contributors might have, particularly if authors have to start dealing with pull requests that don't really add much value.

As a result I think it's probably helpful to give some more details on the challenge, give CPAN authors a chance to comment, and even to opt out.

Bring out yer distributions!

In January more than 50 perl hackers will be starting the CPAN pull request challenge. They'll be randomly assigned a CPAN distribution and will have a month to submit at least one pull request.

Here I'll outline some things you can do to help the process, if you have distributions on CPAN, and are so inclined. Many of the particpants are relatively new to Perl, open source, and git(hub), so this is a way to help them "join in".

It's not too late to join in yourself — you can join at any time. Just email me: neil at bowers dot com.

Take the 2015 CPAN Pull Request Challenge

If you join the CPAN pull request challenge, then at the start of each month in 2015 you'll be emailed a (somewhat) randomly selected CPAN distribution. You'll have one month to submit at least one pull request. You don't have to be an experienced Perl programmer, CPAN author, or githubber. The goal is to help others, possibly learn something, and hopefully have a bit of fun.

If you want to sign up, email me (neil at bowers dot com), letting me know your github username and your PAUSE id, if you have one.

The Silver Camel goes to ... Mark Keating

At the end of the London Perl Workshop this year, we presented Mark Keating with a Silver Camel, to acknowledge everything he has done, and continues to do, for the Perl community, and particularly the UK Perl community.

Here's Mark shortly after being presented with his Silver Camel:

Photo by Wendy G.A. van Dijk

In case you're not familiar with Mark:

  • He has been chief organiser of the London Perl Workshop since 2008
  • He is co-founder and co-leader of North-West England Perl Mongers
  • He's been involved in the Google Summer of Code
  • He's director and secretary of the enlightened perl organisation
  • He's chair of The Perl Foundation's marketing committee
  • He's been a key player in the scheme to send newbies to conferences
  • He's talked about Perl at non-Perl conferences
  • His and Matt's company (Shadowcat) are long-term supporters of Perl