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Journal of nicholas (3034)

Thursday May 01, 2003
08:42 AM

Perl 5.6.2 request form

[ #11945 ]

Perl 5 maintenance, like Perl 5 development, is entirely volunteer based. It relies on people donating their time and labour for free, with the only payback being the satisfaction of getting something done. Unsurprisingly people spend their own free time working on things that interest them. I'm fortunate to be in full time employment, but this has the side effect of drastically reducing the copious free time I have available to work on Perl and other projects. And if instead I have the CFT, where do I find the money to buy coffee?

People ask when there will be a perl 5.6.2 release, a bugfix update in the 5.6.x series. The work required to get any release out of the door is large, time consuming, and generally less rewarding than almost anything else. To the best of my knowledge no-one currently has the spare time or motivation to commit to the task of delivering 5.6.2. Yes, that no-one includes me, but it also includes you; everyone reading this. If you want it, are you volunteering?

Maybe you feel that the "Perl community" (whatever that might mean) should be doing it. But the "Perl community" doesn't get things done, volunteers within it do things, and so far, all the fine words have failed to find a volunteer to do the job. Maybe one will never be found, and the question should not be when, but whether there will be a 5.6.2 release. Do you think that "never" is unacceptable because it makes Perl look bad? Do you think that "never" is unacceptable because your firm is sticking on, or stuck with, 5.6.1 for the foreseeable future? If there is no-one willing to do the job for free, maybe the the Perl community needs to pay someone to do it. We have the organisation to channel money to projects we like, and we have the people who could do it - several core perl developers are un- or under-employed.

If we really want 5.6.2, maybe we should be asking TPF to help sponsor Perl 5 maintenence?

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  • Are there that many really nasty bugs left in 5.6.1? Just curious, I've mostly movd to 5.8.0 myself (and am eagerly anticipating 5.8.1).


    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Informative)

      There may be bugs, but slightly more import for me are the compilation issues [].
    • I guess I'm confused why development on 5.6.X would continue after the release of 5.8.X ... Isn't development always done on the latest stable release? Apart from Schwern's genius [] of course.
      • Re:Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

        It's true that most new development is done on the newer versions, but nonetheless, it's important to fix bugs in the old releases and support them.

        I was just curious as to what needed to be fixed in 5.6.1...


        • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

          what needed to be fixed in 5.6.1...

          Well it plain doesn't compile with gcc 3.1 []. I think that we should fix that for starters

          The patch needed is smalle, and a work around is trivial: perl -ni~ -we 'print unless /: </' x2p/makefile makefile

          Likewise 5.005_03 doesn't compile on FreeBSD, unless you know to Configure it with -Uusenm -Dlddlflags='-shared -L/usr/local/lib' -Dldflags='-Wl,-E -L/usr/local/lib'

          The knowledge exists - what we seem to be bad at is transferring it into releases on CPAN. And wh

          • I still don't really understand why effort should be spent bugfixing perl 5.6.* when stable is 5.8.0 ... Shouldn't people be encouraged to upgrade to 5.8.0 instead of waiting for a newer 5.6.*? I guess this is something I'm not grokking about the Perl development process. If volunteer time is short shouldn't the time people have to give be marshalled around a particular release? Je ne comprends pas.
      • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

        Isn't development always done on the latest stable release?

        Development is always done on the development track, which branches from the latest major stable release. So current development is on 5.9.0, which branched from 5.8.0 at the time of 5.8.0's release. However, bug fixes are also made where possible to the development release, and then merged back into the stable branch(es). So the upcoming 5.8.1 release will fix bugs found in 5.8.0, and this fixes will have first been made to 5.9.0.

        What could happe

        • Currently if people report that they have found a bug in 5.6.1, often we on perl5-porters have to respond that it's a known bug, fixed in 5.8.0, but as there isn't likely to be a 5.6.2 release your only option to see the back of it is to upgrade to 5.8.0. For large organisations, or anyone trying to stabilise on a particular perl version, such as 5.005_0x or 5.6.x, upgrading is not a trivial option.

          I would argue that this is as it should be. I imagine Perl developers have enough work already, and maintai

  • for the record (Score:2, Interesting)

    I tried to find out on p5p how many people were interested in 5.6.2, and what reasons [] they had for their interest.

    The response hasn't been anything to get excited about, unfortunately. I got exactly three messages, two from Tim Bunce and Abigail on p5p, and another one privately from a patch author suggesting his patch for possible inclusion. I don't think this reflects a reasonable amount of interest in 5.6.2, so I have put it on the back-burner for now.

    I'll certainly reevaluate this decision if and