Random contributors are great

One morning I wake up and see a pull request from a person I don't know on a project I haven't touched in years. Yup, it's a random contributor!

I wrote Test::Ping a long time ago. The first version was out in 2009. I'm not even sure why I wrote it. I think I was writing TAP tests for server configurations. We needed to verify some iptables rules. Later on I also wrote Test::DNS, so that fits the bill.

My first reaction when I received a pull request and an email from a person named Steve Bertrand I replied back asking "Is this related to the Pull Request Challenge?" Steve said no. That's odd. I asked Steve how he reached my module and his reply was basically "I honestly don't know how I found it, but I often scour MetaCPAN looking for modules I find interesting (or have or might use), then look for bugs I can fix... this one came across my plate this morning."

Steve forked the module, fixed it while cleaning up some of my silly hacks, cleaned up the testing suite, added more tests, and improved the test coverage and the documentation. Why? Because he felt like it.

Steve is not new to Perl or to contributing. He wrote several modules and uploaded them to CPAN. He was also very open to feedback which made the process more than just "here's my contribution - take it or leave it". Thus, with his help, Test::Ping received a face-lift and a new release that fixed a bunch of stuff.

You might not use Test::Ping (I know I don't), but if you do, thanks to Steve, it's now working again, and is also working better.

It made me think of communities. Sometimes the community is people you met at conferences, or know on IRC, or maybe interacted with before. But sometimes it's a person who just seems random because you never met them before. And then you realize, a community is more than just that. A community is far and wide and contains many a people we don't yet know. And that thought is exciting to me and it fills me with a good feeling.

Thank you Steve, for making free software a fun place, and for allowing me to share this with others. :)

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About Sawyer X

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