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Saturday April 01, 2006
07:09 AM

[JOB] The Perl Foundation seeks Windows Developer

[ #29174 ]

I couldn't resist the title given the date, but this isn't actually a joke :)

Yesterday Ovid put out a call for grant applications, and ideas for things that could be sponsored.

I wrote in mentioning a project that needs to be done, but which I don't have the time or qualifications to handle. The grant committee is interested, and so I've been asked to put out a call for anyone interested in spending a month or so on TPF's dime.

In response to my CPAN-capable Windows Installer challenge in January, Carl Franks responded with Vanilla Perl, which is an installer containing MinGW, dmake, and core Perl compiled with them.

Vanilla could be classed as a research distribution. It allows people working on the Perl toolchain itself to work on Win32 compatibility, it provides a way to examine how the Perl core interacts with Win32.

But it isn't really useful to anyone doing development, and is still loaded with bugs, although both David Golden and myself have been working in bits and pieces to slowly squash the bugs in it.

What would be much more useful would be a different flavour of Perl, a distribution tentatively code-named Strawberry Perl.

The purpose of Strawberry Perl is to expand on Vanilla, bundling in all of Bundle::CPAN, as well as bundling some strategic upgrades of some dual CPAN/core modules that have had Win32-related upgrades since 5.8.8 was released.

The aim is to provide CPAN authors a Win32 Perl platform that is similar in use and style to the Unix Perls, to make it easier for them to port to Win32, and to provide a suitable basic Perl platform for experienced Perl developers that prefer to install from CPAN, instead of using binary packages.

Because nobody currently working on Vanilla can contribute very much time, the grant would involve the TPF paying someone to take responsibility for the creation of delivery of the first production release of Strawberry Perl.

This means tracking and keeping an eye on ALL of the bugs that are preventing the release, hunting down and diagnosing bugs, creating patches to fix them when the module's author isn't very Win32 savvy or doesn't have time to fix them, taking co-maint bits to release new versions of modules where the author is awol or doesn't have time to do releases, and generally dealing with any bits and pieces holding up Strawberry Perl.

This is the direction Vanilla is moving anyway, but currently it's moving in dribs and drabs, and it would be great to have someone push it through to completion.

Interested parties should have experience with both Win32 and Perl, and given the nature of the task, will need to play well with others.

So how about it, want to be funded to work on a Perl distribution for a while?

Note this is a grant, not a job, and so the rules of the grant process still apply. But the grants committee would look highly favourably on anyone interested in this project.

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
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  • I'm interested. I have a lot of Perl programming experience (been programming Perl since 1996 and have over 20 modules on CPAN and many other Perl projects), and also programmed for Win32. I also have a lot of experience in C Programming.

    I'm not too familiar with the perl5 internals/XS/API, though, but I'm a smart guy and can learn them.

    If you're interested in giving me the grant, you can contact me [] and we'll discuss it further.

  • I contact the guy that did the PXPerl distro. It is really good already but he is a student looking for money. Hopefully he will apply and be accepted. []
    • Hi, I am the author of PXPerl. I'm indeed interested in this. I am going to (re-)write a proposal to TPF. Perhaps I'll be more successful this time :)
      • If I could vote I would vote for yours.
      • Are you planning on resubmitting for PXPerl, or attacking this by starting from Vanilla and going from there.

        Because in trying to work on PXPerl's build stuff, before we had to abandon it and look for fresh approachs, I was getting comments that some of it was doing some very crazy and evil thing.

        One of the key points of my challenge to find a replacement for PXPerl was that it had to be reproducable. Someone else needed to be able to come along and keep maintaining it, so that we didn't suffer from the ris
        • I am completely aware of what PXPerl is lacking: everything is made by hand and that's definitely not convenient nor contributable nor reproducable. But when I started PXPerl, I just didn't want to start another more ambitious project that I would forsake 2 months later, unfinished.
          The current drawback is that, justly, practically no one can contribute to it, and anyway I don't want to because it's way too crafty (and I am curious about your "evil" thing... I haven't had such feedback).

          Given that, I started
          • I believe some of the comments I got mentioned some really ugly hardcoded build paths, that might it very difficult to even reverse engineer the improvements to it.

            I wouldn't be too surprised that you didn't hear, the rule of complaints is that you only ever hear 1 out of 10 in any case, and I don't know of more than 3 or 4 people that looked at the internals.

            PXPerl certainly helped I think, there's nothing like having a prize laid out before you, almost completed, and then have it snatched away, to drive p
  • That CamelPack makes Perl on Windows easy [].

    I tried the windows installer and it failed to install, but I was going to try it on another machine before I told anyone that it didn't work for me. It also looks like there's enough information on the CamelPack [] site to try and install manually in case it's just some odd Installer problem.
    • And indeed the CamelPack is almost the ideal short term solution.

      For anyone currently wanting to do Windows developer, for now you should be using that.

      Vanilla -> Strawberry is more of a "CamelPack done right", without taking all the shortcuts. Better for the long term, even if it doesn't work now.
  • Hey- I'm a fairly novice perl user, and my work schedule is crazy, so I can't do any sort of heavy-lifting but, I've got an itch I need scratched (perl on win32) so, if there was anything specific you needed bug tested, I'd like to help. I'm just not really sure about how to start. Anyway, thanks-
    • Hi there!

      And thanks for the offer.

      I'm hoping to sort out a wiki shortly, and I expect we'll have some sort of bug tracking page there.