Re-affirming the benefits of shared "Open Repository" development, I woke up yesterday morning to discover a new member of the Vanilla Perl family in my svn update.
"Glutamate" is Steffen Muller's experimental "flavour enhancing" Strawberry sub-class.
This excites me mostly because Steffen is both an experienced C++ programmer and simultaneously one of Perl's two binary packaging gurus, and this should mean great things for getting around problems integrating C libraries and tricky/third-party Perl module builds.
After only a small amount of experimental hacking, Steffen has managed to come up with a working Perl::Dist::Asset::PAR (Perl::Dist builds distributions in terms of a sequenced install of "assets").
This means that the distribution build process is now capable of bundling in pre-rolled packages that contain modules, C libraries, or a mix of both.
He's kicked this off with an PAR library for adding libexpat support that is far better than my more-primitive library mechanism based on Perl::Dist::Asset::Library (which isn't allowed to assume that Perl is installed).
The PAR assets should also be much better for any C library that isn't needed before the Perl toolchain bootstrapping.
Even more exciting, because PPM distributions can be transmogrified to PAR distributions, he suggests that a "PPM asset" should be fairly achievable as well.
This would allow us to build all kinds of interesting stuff from the Randy Kobes and ActivePerl repositories into a Perl::Dist-based distribution, which could mean things like database drivers become much easier to bundle with Strawberry/Chocolate.
P.S. I apologize for the continuing delays in releasing an "offical" Perl::Dist 1.00 release. I've been very time poor in the last month. Documentation is, however, progressing and I'm expecting to do another dev release soon for people interesting in experimenting with sub-classes.