A FOSS Ecosystem Checklist for the Benefit of Maintainer Sustainability

  1. Maintainers and authors are found everywhere throughout our dependency trees. This includes the authors of the tooling others use for maintaining, building, testing, writing and running the infrastructure they depend on. Even maintainers depend on other maintainers.
  2. Maintainers’ mental health and well-being is also a dependency.
  3. So is their outlook on the sustainability of their projects, both in personal, technical, systemic and economic respects.

This means that personal, technical, systemic and economic well-being in the end are all actual and real dependencies for the businesses that rely on these people and their projects.

What can an ecosystem provide to make the lives of these maintainers easier in this regard?


A FIXIT-dive into an old CPAN module

Let’s have a thought experiment. Assume there is an Open Source-licensed Perl module published on CPAN that you care about, and that hasn’t had any updates in a very long time - what are your options?

In this blog post, I’ll take a dive into this problem, and use the Geo::Postcodes::NO module as an example. As of this writing, the module version is 0.31, and it’s most recent release was in September 2006.

Initial assumptions

Before we begin, let’s lay bare the most important assumptions I’m having. Your case may differ, but I think the following ones are pretty safe.

  • There is a long-term need for this module, and we need it to be up-to-date and bug-free.
  • We would like the module to be usable in an environment where recent or modern styles of developing Perl are preferred and used.
  • We have the time, competence and calories to have the necessary conversations with the authors and their upstream peers.
  • The author is available and approachable. If he or she isn’t responsive, then there are options for taking over as maintainer of the module after due diligence. This is a last resort though, so we won’t cover this here. If you need to do a lot, a good option is to ask to become a co-maintainer.
  • Creating a new module from scratch is undesirable, either because it’s too expensive or because your business has decided not to spend time on writing basic software infrastructure.

Read the rest on code.foo.no!

A Perl Toolchain Summit 2018 organiser's report

The 2018 edition of the Perl Toolchain Summit is over! I’ve posted my report from it on my own blog.

Perl Toolchain Summit 2018: Oslo, Norway

Every year we bring together the lead developers of the Perl and CPAN toolchain! This event was previously known as the QA Hackathon, but in 2016 it became the Perl Toolchain Summit (PTS) to more accurately reflect the scope and purpose.

This is an event where pressing issues around Perl’s toolchain, CPAN, testing infrastructure and much more are hacked on, fixed and improved, and where important issues are discussed and decided on. The focus is the continued support and development of the tools used every day by individuals, organisations, and companies that rely on Perl in Production.

Many improvements in the CPAN ecosystem can trace their roots to this event, including Test2 improvements, the “River of CPAN” analogy, numerous MetaCPAN additions, improvements to the Perl Authors Upload Server (PAUSE), policies on how to handle CPAN distribution adoption and takeover, work on the CPAN Testers service, several consensus documents and much, much, much, more!

This year’s summit will be in Oslo, Norway running from Thursday 19th April 2018 through Sunday 22nd April. Attendees be staying at the Smarthotel Oslo, with the event itself at Teknologihuset, a short tram-ride away.

10 year anniversary!

The first QA hackathon was held 10 years ago in Oslo, so to celebrate ten years of productive gatherings, we’re returning to where it all started. The format has evolved, but the ethos is still the same: bring the right people together for dedicated time working on things that benefit everyone who relies on Perl.

How does the PTS affect me?

The PTS is primarily an invite-only event, but the organizers make an effort to invite anyone who has a proven record for producing useful work on the CPAN ecosystem. If you’d like to be invited, just make sure to commit useful code! Don’t worry - the organizers will notice.

If you’re still curious, feel free to drop by the #pts channel on irc.perl.org and ask around. If you’re only a regular Perl developer or user, then you’ll get the benefits from the PTS without doing anything! - After all, we’re an Open Source community that cares. :)

How is the PTS organized?

The PTS is typically organised by people who have attended past events. The core toolchain developers nominate additional people who are working on the CPAN ecosystem, and they in turn suggest additional people to invite. In this way each year we invite the people who are currently having the most impact on our ecosystem.

There are four people in the organising team this year. Salve J. Nilsen (SJN) is the host, and will handle local matters (venue and accommodation) from Oslo, and be the public face of the event. Philippe Bruhat (BOOK) will be leading the sponsorship drive, from his base in Lyon, France. Neil Bowers (NEILB) will be taking care of attendees before the event. Laurent Boivin (ELBEHO) will be handling the money, both inwards (getting it from the sponsors) and outwards (covering expenses and refunding attendees).

I want to help the PTS succeed!

Thank you for considering helping us organize this event! Details on how to become a sponsoring partner can be found on the PTS sponsorship page. If you want to know more, please contact Philippe: book at cpan dot org. We appreciate any and all help!

Tell me more!

Pictures of the venue have been posted on SJN’s blog. More info will be posted on blogs.perl.org and the pts2018 event site as we go!

CPAN Day 2014 in Oslo

Oslo Perl Mongers are organizing a CPAN Day event! \o/

Tomorrow (Saturday August 16th 2014), we’ll be hanging out at the Hackeriet (Norwegian for “The Hackery”) hackerspace, helping anyone dropping by with CPAN and Perl issues they may have!

We can help with…

  • Getting your modules published
  • Sign up for PAUSE
  • Answering your Perl quesions, of any difficulty!
  • Telling about Perl and CPAN best practices
  • Show how to create a CPAN distribution
  • Help toubleshooting module deployment and installation issues
  • Offer therapy, constructive criticism or Real Help for anyone struggling with Perl or CPAN
  • Hang out and have fun!

We’ll have Club Mate in the fridge (unless it’s sold out) and even a short presentation about CPAN and Perl module basics, courtesy Arne Sommer.

Feel free to sign up at meetup.com, and drop by! :-D