Every once in a while, someone writes an article or rant about how the Perl dev team isn't doing enough. Or somehow isn't living up to the "responsibility to their users". I just leveled a broadside at one of the authors of such an article and felt the need to post it here as a warning to others. Hopefully it being slightly out of context doesn't deaden the effect.
> It is not my reponsibility to make sure the documentation is correct. It's
> like saying a patron who complained about the food in a restaurant is
> responsible for making sure it isn't so (instead of the restaurant owner).
> Bye all means it is something that is the responsibility of the core Perl
> team and especially Larry Wall.
> Now, "Programming Perl" explains the same things as the Perl man pages
> only better, but it is kept hidden from the public. And it was written in
> part by Larry and by Tom Christiansen who is the original author of the
> man pages. I think that's a clash of interests.
I agree with you that the core docs need revamping.
I agree with you that user critiques and complaints are important for any
project to remain healthy.
I am willing to help you through getting your doc patches to survive p5p.
But I *WILL NOT* be told that I have *any* responsibility to *any* of
the users of my software beyond my own personal code of ethics. Unless
you've paid me for support, you have *NO RIGHT* to attempt to guilt me
into doing more work for free.
Let's get a few things straight. Larry, Tom, myself or any p5p maintainer
has absolutely *no* responsibility to you or any user of Perl. You did
not purchase Perl. We did not offer or imply any warranty. We are not
getting paid anything for our efforts.  We do it because we use Perl
and we like helping other people out. It is *EXTREMELY UNGRATEFUL* of
you to whine that we should be doing more and it is *EXTREMELY IRRESPONSIBLE*
for you to state that you, the one who *BENEFITS FREELY FROM OUR WORK*
has no responsibilty to Perl and yet state that those who *DO THE WORK FOR
FREE* should be doing more. Shame on you!
We are not resturaunt owners, we are a soup kitchen and you are receiving
a free meal. You want better food? Get in here and help cook.
*You* are the only one who has a responsbility to fix the problems *you*
are worried about. If you would like guaranteed support, either you
do it yourself or you *pay* someone to support you. ActiveState is one
such business. I would also gladly take payment from you to revamp the
core Perl docs. Otherwise you accept what work people are willing to
do for free.
Larry and Tom make their living from writing. It is foolish and
ungrateful to state that they should not make money off of the YEARS of
effort they have put into Perl for free. It is unrealistic to think that
they would not try to make a living off their areas of expertise, Perl
and literature. Writing a book the size, scope and quality of Programming
Perl takes months and months of effort. Larry has a family to support.
Tom has to make a living. We *all* have to make a living. To berate
us for making some money off Perl is again, ungrateful and workable.
Unless our user base suddenly donates enough money to support all of
p5p, we *must* continue to find ways to earn a living off our skills.
There is no clash of interests. Larry and Tom are allowed to make money
off Perl. They have no resonsibility to give away their work. If people
think they're withholding the best docs for their books then they can
write their own docs. That's how Open Source works.
In short, put up or shut up. Subscribe to p5p. Put up some well-formed,
well-commented, spell-checked doc patches. Put in the time necessary to
respond to p5p's comments and questions. Make the necessary noise to
ensure they're noticed. It takes Time and Effort. A lot of it. Maybe
then you'll get a better idea of how much it takes to make Perl a good,
Do not complain that others are not doing enough to fix Perl. Fix it your
Have I made myself clear?