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Alias (5735)

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Journal of Alias (5735)

Wednesday August 19, 2009
12:27 AM

What was the fate of Fotango?

[ #39488 ]

This morning I received a request from a former employee of Fotango to take over the FOTANGO CPAN account. Of course, I can't give it to him. I also can't give him control of his own code that he wrote while at the company to maintain.

This sort of thing is exactly the reason that we strongly try to discourage the creation of "company" CPAN authors. A company is a short-lived entity, and most will die or be shut down or be bought out or merge or otherwise change during the time it exists. Companies also rarely die outright, they liquidate. Their property becomes the property of some other company, endless recycled between various legal entities that might have no idea about the original.

When a company vanishes or gets bought out, any ability to control those modules as a primary author vanish as well.

This CPAN author is now going to have to apply for co-maintainer rights to his own code in order to keep maintaining it, and demonstrate in the usual way that he has attempted to make contact with the original author (the legal remains of Fotango, wherever they exist).

Of course, if someone knows what the ultimate fate of the Fotango corporate entity is, and can arrange for someone representing the current state of that entity to inform me of who I should reissue a password to for the FOTANGO login, I'd prefer to do that.


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  • I am that fateful ex-employee that Alias is describing. For the record, I didn't ask to take over FOTANGO, but said that I'd like to take over the modules, and I'm up for whatever's the easiest way to do that, giving me access back to the fotango account, changing the email address, or just giving me co-maint on the modules.

    To quote Gross Pointe Blank (mainly because I like quoting Gross Pointe Blank, rather than for any real reason)

    Martin: Whole grain pancakes and an egg-white omelette, please.
    Waitress: W
    • My apologies.

      I didn't suggest to imply it was some kind of surreptitious takeover

    • My apologies.

      I didn't suggest to imply it was some kind of surreptitious takeover.

      For smaller companies, the way we recommend you set up shared release is to identify one person as a responsible headline/lead developer.

      In this scenario we're talking the likes of Matt Sergeant, Brad Fitzpatrick, Jesse Vincent. People with a more public profile, people who won't just vanish, and ideally people that are part owners.

      When an employee uploads a package, you transfer all of the primary namespace rights to this hea

      • Making me personally the maintainer for all the modules released by staff at my company is...very not right. Often, I have nothing to do with the modules other than that I pay the wonderful perl hackers who produce them. I've been procrastinating getting a 'BPS' or 'BESTPRACTICAL' PAUSE account for the company, but it (or some other affordance) that allows collective maintainership by me and my coworkers really needs to happen.
        • If we were to start allowing company logins in numbers, I suspect we'd really need to look at some kind of function to say what to do on the death of the company.

  • According to Companies House (the keeper of records for UK companies), Fotango Limited is in liquidation. Strictly speaking the account is an asset of the company and you would need to contact the liquidator to get permission to re-assign it (unless the PAUSE T&Cs allow you to re-assign stale accounts) but the code has been released to the public domain (within the bounds of the perl licence) so adding a co-maintainer shouldn't be a problem.

    • Since PAUSE (and to a lesser extend CPAN) were created and being run by volunteers that provide a free service, I very much doubt that anybody has any legal handle on PAUSE accounts. The reason why us PAUSE admins are treading very carefully is because we're simply trying to "do the right thing" and accommodate everyone. That's not entirely unselfish: It would be a disaster if users (both owners of PAUSE accounts and "ordinary" CPAN users) lost trust in PAUSE and CPAN.

      In the end, I believe, it comes down to

  • So, just to keep people updated:

    After getting suggestions from people on who to contact, I've sent emails to people in Fotango's parent company. They've responded positively, but said that people needed to make the final decision are on holiday until at least the end of the month.

    Given that prompt response it seems the prudent thing to do now is wait for them to get back, thus sidestepping the need for any further debate over the right course of action.

    Thanks again for everyone's help in this matter.