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Sunday September 03, 2006
07:07 PM

CPAN module author awakiness

[ #30870 ]

The YAPC talk about Plagger was very interesting so I tried installing it.

The talk said installing Plagger was a challenge and so it proved. A couple of dozen dozen modules were required from CPAN, to make things worse I decided to install all the optional modules and tried to install on a machine I do not have root on. Things went kinda bad,lots of stuff needed paths for libs I did not have installed and header files that were no where to be seen,tests failed and due to some recent changes on redbrick cpan ended up mixing sparc and intel shared libs up together. I'll try again tomorrow on a machine I have root on, where the directories are used only by one architecture and choose less optional modules. Things can only get better.

Since my local install area was all messed up I cleaned it out, fixed my cpan config so it doesn't mix different arch shared libs up and started installing the modules I need for some local programs and a few small webaps of mine that other people use on a daily basis. This is where stuff gets a little annoying, applying tiny but important fixes to modules or ignoring failing tests and hoping they do not matter. Some of these have already had fixes accepted by the author but no subsequent cpan release have ever taken place, some the author has fallen off the side of the internet and no one has jumped in to take their place. If only there was some way we could quantify author awakiness, perform some loving restoration on important/unique/very useful modules that need it or bias search away from dead ends that have better more alive alternatives. The first half probably exists informally but the second sounds tough without some quantitative support infrastructure.

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  • Procedures exist for what you want.

    But they all require that YOU are personally willing to step up and look after the module.

    If the author is available but doesn't have time to do your fixes, ask them if you can do a small release to ONLY fix the bugs. Often they will say yes and give you a maint bit.

    If the author isn't around, try again over a couple of weeks, and also using any other methods you can find (phone etc). If the author is currently AWOL, write to and outline what you did to fi
    • I should note that the REAL problem is where the author is available, but won't do a release, or says they don't have the time to do it. But then they won't let anyone else do so either.

      That is the only case we don't have a solution for at the moment.
      • I'm not sure which of those I'm stuck in right now.

        There are 2 RT reports for FormValidator::Simple from others (it destroys profiles), and 1 from me. None of them have been replied to, or put in status. It doesn't appear that anyone has heard form the author since the last release. I've submitted patches for the issues, and all of the original tests pass w/ them applied.

        At this point, I'm hoping for the best. I really don't want to maint another dist, but I guess I'll have to if the author doesn't fall bac
    • As I said I am aware you can take over a module if you can convince the cpan gods to let you. The problem with that is that based on domms CPAN talk at YAPC::EU and the description of the module list on CPAN [] it sounds like the module list is dead or dying. Still plenty of posts however.

      The main point is that lots of modules on CPAN do much the same as other modules. It would be nice if it was easy to tell which modules were short of a maintainer and be able to suggest modules that do much the same thing or
      • Poppycock.

        The module list is staffed by volunteers, but it is active most of the time. It does go through the occasional quiet period when Brian is in Iraq or I'm overcomitted, but it's no worse now than it has ever been, and it's probably better that it has been in a long time.

        And "If you can convince..." makes it sound hard.

        It's not hard at all.

        You just explain what you did you try to contact the author, and if it's reasonable (as in you tried a few times, and looked for alternative contact points), you g