What is a pumpkin? A guy in charge of a major Perl release.
Why pumpkin? Well look what I found in pumpkin.pod:
Chip Salzenberg gets credit for that, with a nod to his cow orker,
David Croy. We had passed around various names (baton, token, hot
potato) but none caught on. Then, Chip asked:
Who has the patch pumpkin?
To explain: David Croy once told me once that at a previous job,
there was one tape drive and multiple systems that used it for backups.
But instead of some high-tech exclusion software, they used a low-tech
method to prevent multiple simultaneous backups: a stuffed pumpkin.
No one was allowed to make backups unless they had the "backup pumpkin".
The name has stuck.
In the room there were a plethora of pumpkins (1 (richardc), 5.005 (me), 5.6 (rafael), 5.8 (nicholas), 5.12 (sky)). It was really quite impressive. I explained that we don't normally have this many pumpkins.
So here began my story. I have quite a few modules on CPAN. Being a good little module maintainer, I wanted to check that they worked under older versions of Perl. However, older versions of Perl didn't compile cleanly out of the box on my up to date systems. This was a problem, so I prodded people about it. And some more. And I tried to get other people to notice this and take care of the releases. It didn't work, so eventually I proposed to do it and I received pumpkinship from Chip.
So what does a pumpkin do? Well, I accept patches and apply them. Oh, ok, I also have to do some work, like testing weird platforms, generating patches, and then applying them. But hey, I've also accepted patches from richardc and nicholas (amongst others), so I'm not doing all the hard work.
So far, patches which cope with recent GCC, DB, FreeBSD, OpenBSD and VOS have made it in. I'm pretty happy with it. I'll release a release candidate for 5.005_04 in a week or two, with a release about a week after. And then, I intend to do nothing. No bug fixes. No more perl hacking. Instead, back to Perl hacking...