CPAN Testers needs our help

CPAN Testers needs recurring funding to cover its hosting costs. If you, or your company, rely on CPAN, then please seriously consider setting up a standing order to donate £50 (or some multiple thereof) to CPAN Testers every year. We encourage companies to use a multiple of the base £50 that reflects their reliance on CPAN and thus CPAN Testers.

CPAN Testers is an invaluable resource for all of us: it tests CPAN releases across a wide range of operating systems, versions and build configurations of Perl. This benefits the Perl community in two ways: (1) improving quality and (2) avoiding problems. If you use CPAN modules, then CPAN Testers is making those modules more reliable for you.

If you're an author, your releases will be tested on operating systems and versions of Perl that you may not have access to, and you'll be told if there are any failures. Addressing these failures makes your module more dependable. If you're going to use other modules from CPAN in your distribution, then CPAN Testers gives a good indication of how likely it is that they'll break your installation. If there are multiple modules for a given task, you can pick the one with fewest CPAN Testers failures.

The CPAN Testers service is free for all of us to use. CPAN Testers and the Metabase service it relies on were developed, and continue to be maintained, using volunteer effort. They run on serious hardware, hosted in commercial data centres, and these resources cost money, every year. Birmingham (UK) Perl Mongers have stumped up a lot of cash over the years; David Golden, Barbie and others have dipped into their own pockets. The Enlightened Perl Organisation (the good kind of EPO) has been covering the gaps. When things go wrong, they're often left scrambling for funds.

Personally, I'd rather the people working on it could focus on improving the service for all of us. This means that we need a source of recurring funding. So, as a community, I propose that we each commit what we can, every year. To make life simple, I'm suggesting that individuals, small companies, and Perl Mongers groups sign up for £50. Larger companies can hopefully sign up for £100 or some higher multiple of £50, but hopefully enough of us can sign up for at least £50 per year to provide stability, and maybe even growth. Our goal is £5000/year; any extra will go into CPAN Testers, or other parts of the CPAN ecosystem or QA activities such as the QA Hackathon.

These figures are just suggestions — the CPAN Testers team will be grateful for any and all donations, especially recurring ones.

You can set up recurring payments using PayPal at the EPO page for CPAN Testers:

http://bit.ly/epo-cpantesters

If you want to discuss some other method of payment, please get in touch with Mark Keating.

When you've done that, please get in touch with me (neil at bowers dot com), so you / your company can be acknowledged in all the right places, such as the CPAN Testers sponsors page (which we're going to be reworking soon).

I'm not part of the CPAN Testers team, I'm just a satisfied beneficiary who wants to help them out.

The first three companies have already signed up — see below. Full disclosure: one of them is the small company that I started with a friend.

MaxMind

MaxMind provides services and software for IP Geolocation (GeoIP) as well as fraud detection (minFraud). Perl is a major part of their toolbox, and they support all of the developers contributing to relevant open source communities. You may recognise some of their development team: Dave Rolsky (DROLSKY), Olaf Alder (OALDERS), Florian Ragwitz (FLORA), Mateu Hunter (MATEU), Ran Eilam (EILARA), Andy Jack (ANDYJACK), Mark Fowler (MARKF), TJ Mather (TJMATHER), William Stevenson (WDS), and Gregory Oschwald (OSCHWALD).

www.maxmind.com

Cogendo

Cogendo helps your company and everyone in it perform at their best. We provide online performance management software that companies can use to manage their employees' objectives and performance reviews. The back end is built in Perl, and hosted with Bytemark, another company that has supported CPAN Testers over the years. Our development team also regularly contributes to CPAN: Neil Bowers (NEILB). We're only a small company, but we're happy to do our bit for such a key part of the CPAN ecosystem.

www.cogendo.com

Eligo

Eligo is a UK-based recruitment agency that specialises in a number of areas, including software development. Their Perl recruiter is Rick Deller, who has presented at a number of Perl events around Europe. They love the Perl community, and leapt at the chance to support CPAN Testers in this way.

eligo.co.uk

6 Comments

We are delighted to support this idea

I might irritate some people, but ...

I like this idea, but it violates the idea of "make it easy". Payments must be in multiples of £50 when many people can't even type the "£" character? So I'd be paying in convenient multiples of €67.91 at today's exchange rate but by the time the transfer clears, the rate will likely be different. For people in the US, they're being asked to pay in multiples of $76.60 — again at today's exchange rate. In fact, later in the post, you specifically state "I'm suggesting ... £50 (not fifty of your currency)"

Not fifty in my currency? CPAN Testers doesn't want my money unless it's easily countable units of British Pounds? I know that's probably not what was intended, but that's what was said.

What is the rationale for this? Why not just let companies contribute as they can or will? I remember in the US when I would often try to convince an employer to donate to some Perl cause and they'd be skeptical. The more barriers that were raised, the more likely the answer would be "no."

Surely if you want to encourage corporate sponsorship you need to offer the kind of things that usually come with corporate sponsorship.

The three companies above get a write-up, logo and links, but why isn't there a page on cpantesters.org/sponsors or whatever listing all these companies/people that are willing to continuously support it?

Metacpan do this and it seems to work for them: https://metacpan.org/about/sponsors

It's not a big ask and makes it a much easier to convince the higher-ups within a business.

One thing that I'd suggest to do as soon as possible is to add the link to the EPO page inside the CPAN Testers page. Anyone hitting there has absolutely no clue on how to do a donation, and it should be a quick, easy thing to do.

Leave a comment

About Neil Bowers

user-pic Perl hacker since 1992.