Leader of Birmingham.pm [pm.org] and a CPAN author [cpan.org]. Co-organised YAPC::Europe in 2006 and the 2009 QA Hackathon, responsible for the YAPC Conference Surveys [yapc-surveys.org] and the QA Hackathon [qa-hackathon.org] websites. Also the current caretaker for the CPAN Testers websites and data stores.
If you really want to find out more, buy me a Guinness
In my last journal entry, I was faced with the problem of figuring out why a dependency on 5.8.x was there. In the example of a 5.6.1 fix to Catalyst that jk2addict posted, it highlights the fact that core module changes in the main only get made to the core distribution and nothing else. In the case of Class::Struct, and from what I found File::Path too, nothing is 5.8.x specific, and there is no reason why they wouldn't work with 5.6.1.
Unfortunately some of us are stuck with working on 5.6.1 for a variety of reasons. This now means that we are largely stuck with working with broken and old versions of modules that we have no real reason to. We could hack a distribution together for the upgraded modules and make our own SDK, but that dilutes the process to my mind. If there are fixes to a core module, then there should be a simple way to get access to them from CPAN. There are other modules that have their own life outside of the core (e.g. ExtUtils::MakeMaker), so why not these?
It's become increasingly frustrating to find more and more distributions dependent on 5.8.x. The Perl community, at least those fairly vocal with in it, are just the tip of the iceberg of users. I can understand people not wanting to cpan-test on 5.6.1 (or earlier), but there is a large number of users out there who now have no idea whether a CPAN distribution works on their system, unless they try it themselves, as all the cpan-testers run varieties of 5.8.x. Otherwise there would be a distinct increase in the number of NA reports being produced, and would hopefully prompt authors to look at whether their modules work on earlier versions (hint: Perl::MinimumVersion). I have no idea what kind of distribution there is for the perl interpreter versions out in the wild, but I expect there is a significant number running 5.6.1 and probably earlier too.
At the Perl 5 Day in August, there was some discussion surrounding the SDK idea. I would be happy with that, providing there was a version independent release, which could run on any version of the interpreter, or an SDK of the core modules that work with a specific version. This would likely mean a lot of work for the maintainers to ensure that a module only went into the SDKs for which is applicable, but I think that could be automated once they got the hang of it. It would make life easier for those of not able to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of the interpreter every few months. Perhaps once CPAN::YACSmoke is stable and there isn't much more to develop on it, I can look at some automated SDK build process, but for now I guess I'll have to wait for others to have the tuits to work on the idea.