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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I think it is the right moment to start asking fundamental questions about the fundamental design of the whole thing. The fundamental question is: How TPF board, the ultimate authority in the organization that controls copyright on intellectual property being created by entire Perl Community, is representative of Perl Community? Is it possible for Board of 4 members to adequately represent Perl Community? Is it possible for self-appointed narrow group of people to be the ultimate authority over the work don
    • The Perl Foundation Steering Committee [perlfoundation.org] is far more than the four members listed in the press release:

      • Steering Committee Chair - Bill Odom
      • Perl.org - Ask Bjorn Hansen and Robert Spier
      • Conferences - Jim Brandt
      • PerlFoundation.org - Kirsten Jones
      • Public Relations - Andy Lester
      • Donor Relations - Larry Hixson
      • Perl Mongers - Dave Cross
      • Grants - Curtis "Ovid" Poe
      • CPAN - Graham Barr
      • "At Large" committee members:
        • David Adler (Awards)
        • Uri Guttman (Social Events)
        • Paul Blair (PR)
        • Kevin Meltzer
      • Ex officio:
        • Nathan Torkingon (Secretary)
        • Allison Randal (President)
        • Kurt DeMaagd (Treasurer)

      Most of those names are of people who are extremely well-known in the Perl community. To that extent, it's quite representative. However, as you point out, we're not a democracy. I'm quite happy with that. We're a meritocracy. The people sitting on the steering committee today have demonstrated both a willingness and an ability to positively contribute to the Perl community.

      Taking myself as an example, long before I was a member of the Perl Foundation, I released a number of modules on the CPAN, contributed patches to the Perl core and went out of my way to help new programmers learn Perl. I volunteered for the Perl Foundation as a grant manager and for two years showed the ability to manage grants, communicate effectively with the committee and generally Get Things Done. The final straw, if you will, was stepping in to organize the Google Summer of Code projects for TPF.

      Regrettably, we've learned over the years that many folks dive into this sort of volunteer work with the best intentions and do a lot of good things. After a while (often a very short while), they burn out and stop doing things. This is why we have a meritocracy. For those put in the most trusted roles of the Perl Foundation, we really need folks who have proven themselves over the long haul. Frankly, I don't blame folks for burning out. The work is tough and it's frequently thankless. I doubt anyone has any idea how hard or diligently Allison has labored for us. We owe her a huge debt. Be sure to let her know how much you appreciate her dedication the next time you run across her in real life on online.

      And [the steering committee] happens to hold ULTIMATE authority over work done by Perl Community.

      With all due respect, this is not the case. We have very little control over the work done by the Perl community and, in any event, we would not wish to exercise this control. We organize conferences. We handle PR for the Perl community. We manage donor relations, help to stimulate interest in Perl Monger's groups and award grants to folks for doing something that we feel will be beneficial for Perl and the community at large. The vast majority of work done by and for the Perl community is done by volunteers who have no association with the Perl Foundation and who decide, amongst themselves, what they want in the Perl language and community. That's the Programming Republic of Perl. We do the scut work that they don't want to do. As Jello Biafra might say "someone has to clean the sewers".

      The steering committee didn't veto the autoboxing patch for Perl. TPF did not decide to deprecate pseudohashes. No TPF committee decided that Parrot should support continuations. That's not what we do.

      This is the most fundamental change that is required for further development of Perl Community as it will make for true and transparent leadership of Perl Community, which is vital for Community success. I think it is the most important fundamental change that needs to be done now, and it is up to current members of TPF board, and new President, to initiate and do this change...

      Actually, if that had been worded a bit differently, I would agree 100%. The most fundamental change required for the Perl Foundation (I speak for myself but I know other members are in agreement on this) is to improve our transparency. In fact, Bill Odom took it upon himself to direct us in that and changes are already underway to facilitate that and they should be unveiled soon. I think most folks will be pleased.

      I realize that what I've written may not be the response you are hoping for. Healthy communities will almost always have those who disagree and this disagreement is important for us to consider new ways of looking at things, growing and adapting. Thus, I really appreciate your comments though I do not entirely agree with them. However, you're more than welcome to submit your views to the board. Perhaps they will agree with you.

      If you're interested in helping out, let me know. We can always use volunteers. I think I still need another grant manager.

      • Please, do not confuse things. The steering committee is OK, and it is not the issue. The issue is the most important top level of organization that holds ultimate authority and is the source of ultimate authority that is mostly delegated to (not directly held by) steering committee. The source of ultimate authority is a FUNDAMENTAL THING that shapes entire organization and, consequently, affects entire Community via assumed TPFs leadership role. Despite board is not directly in control of daily operation (

        • I don't see any reason why TPF board cannot be extended to wider constituency representing many key and recognized members of the community.

          Perhaps many key and recognized members of the community don't want to be on the board. I wouldn't either, even if I had time.

          • Perhaps many key and recognized members of the community don't want to be on the board. I wouldn't either, even if I had time.

            Still many would accept board membership if invited to. Most members of extended board are not supposed to be involved in running TPF's every day activities, their job mostly is voting on strategic decisions on board meetings (or by e-mail) for those decisions to reflect interests of the Community at large. Currently organization that calls itself The Perl Foundation receives unp

            • What are you smoking, son? The only reason you think you want to be on that board or in any way involved is that you have a romantic notion of what TPF is rather than a bit more realistic one. It's a PO Box with an occasionally updated web page. There's no smoking man, no star chamber and no conspiracy. And, as the wise old rabbi once said, "Trust is knowing exactly what someone will do."
              • What are you smoking, son? The only reason you think you want to be on that board or in any way involved is...

                That was funny, I was smiling:) Thanks for creativity. Let me clear things up. I am personally do not want "on that board", because my presence there is unlikely to solve problem that I want to be solved. "Be involved" is another matter - I think it is not bad for community members, like me and you, to be involved in community affairs - I would even say it is good, if you don't mind.

                ...that you

                • ...a legal entity with only huge intangible assets of community's intellectual property...

                  No, only the right to manage the compilation of code contributed by the few members of the community who contribute the code. Your code is your own. The code of CPAN contributors is their own. The TPF does not manage it unless you give them the right to do so.

                  This will be clearer when the new license and contributor agreements are available.

                  • ...a legal entity with only huge intangible assets of community's intellectual property...

                    No, only the right to manage the compilation of code contributed by the few members of the community who contribute the code. Your code is your own. The code of CPAN contributors is their own. The TPF does not manage it unless you give them the right to do so.

                    Yes, I mean what you call "the right to manage the compilation of code contributed by the few" -  huge intangible assets o

        • You keep saying "the source of ultimate authority". Can you define that for me? Who is it or what is it?

          I see the TPF as an organization to help evangelize Perl and all that implies.

          I am curious to know why you think "fundamental issues should be decided in community-wide discussion"? I was never under the impression that Perl or the Perl community was a democracy.

          Inquiring minds want to know. : )

          • You keep saying "the source of ultimate authority". Can you define that for me? Who is it or what is it?

            It's a simple question. Read this: BYLAWS OF YET ANOTHER SOCIETY (http://www.perlfoundation.org/legal/bylaws.html [perlfoundation.org]), ARTICLE III BOARD, "3.01 General Powers. The business, property, and affairs of the corporation shall be managed by the board of directors." That simple.

            For those who is unaware, Yet Another Society is actually what "The Perl Foundation" is alias for.

            I am curious to know why you think

            • Well let's see. Python is decided by one man (Guido), Ruby is decided by one man (Matz), Tcl does have a TCT panel but that was spelled out when Ousterhout handed it over to them. I always thought Perl was decided by one man (with input from the community), Larry Wall.

              I read the bylaws you linked. There is nothing in there about "controlling Perl" and so they would not be "the source of ultimate authority". I think you are making them out to be far more than they are.

              • Well let's see. Python is decided by one man (Guido), Ruby is decided by one man (Matz), Tcl does have a TCT panel but that was spelled out when Ousterhout handed it over to them. I always thought Perl was decided by one man (with input from the community), Larry Wall.

                Yes, Larry was the ultimate authority and it was the right way, but now this is (expectedly) changing, and what I am arguing here is to have this change the right way. Tcl got it. Python and Ruby not yet, but they will eventual