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Request for Comment: TPF to engage Richard Dice on 6 month contract for Perl community development

posted by cbrandtbuffalo on 2009.04.30 12:07   Printer-friendly

Earlier this past week I submitted a proposal to the TPF Board of Directors; the PDF of this proposal is attached here. The plan includes a long list of projects, most of which have been discussed within TPF for a while but have been on indefinite hold due mainly to lack of available effort to address them properly. Some are for TPF process improvement and others are in more direct support of the Perl community. The essence of plan is that I be employed on contract by TPF for the next 6 months working on this list.

The funding for this plan comes from the Ian Hague donation. The proposal I gave Mr. Hague last year featured a division of it into two halves of $100k each: one for p6 development, the other for TPF organization building, which explicitly included the option to fund paid TPF staff. So, we have the money and the blessing of the funder for it to be used in this way. The requested amount in my proposal to TPF is US$5k/month * 6 months = US$30k. This monthly amount is the same as is provided for Hague grants.

As a volunteer myself for the past few years I've been able to allocate maybe 2 hours in an average week to TPF business. Very rarely I've been able to invest significant chunks of time, and it seems the bigger things I've accomplished have come from those periods of exceptional effort (e.g. Forrester Survey @ 40 hours over 2 weeks, Ian Hague donation @ 80 hours over 1 month). This suggests to me that we'll get some really good results out of this plan: TPF has never had on the order of 1000 focussed hours invested into it before, especially for the kinds of things I list in the proposal document.

I think this is a unique opportunity: the right combination of TPF having funding plus the mandate to use the funds in this way, TPF having significant needs, and the right candidate to address those needs being available at the right time to be used in this way. The situation has some similarities with what's going on in some other places in the Perl world, like pmichaud being supported to be the Rakudo architect, and Dave Mitchell working on the 5.10.1 release: support is being used to to let exceptional people spend large amounts of time on big, gnarly problems which advance important community projects, while at the same time these people can enable the volunteer communities also working on those projects be more successful and productive. This is a chance for TPF to improve itself by using some of that same good foo.

Later this week the TPF Board will make a decision whether to approve this proposal. In order to help them with that they want your input -- so, please post any comments you have here. (No anonymous postings please. Use real names and email addresses; pseudonyms are okay only when they're well known through the Perl community and can be correctly connected to email addresses for any needed follow-up.) I am happy to participate, answer questions, clarify my thoughts, etc. here, in email and also over on #tpf on if you'd rather chat with me real-time there.

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  • Having worked with Richard for many years in Toronto Perl Mongers, including his spearheading (not to mention bullet-catching) of YAPC::NA::2005 in Toronto, I can say with authority that any project which receives his attention benefits tremendously from the experience.

    John Macdonald

  • Sounds like a very good idea to me.