This actually raises what is to me an interesting question. What to do when your work uses an open source module whose author is either not able or willing to make the modifications you would like, or disappears completely so cannot make any patches at all?
Well, in my case it happened with Radius::Packet and Radius::Dictionary. I added support for vendor-specific attributes but was unable to make the author update the code. Finally, I decided to steal the module while maintaining full credits to the original author. My revised distribution now lives in Net::Radius. I hope my work is doing justice to the excellent work of the original author...
For other things, we just keep a collection of patches around. I always try to let the author know about the patches and in almost all cases, I've had luck. Sometimes the problem lies in contacting the author, for which the CPAN addresses are very useful. In fact I just got a nice hint a couple of posts above.
-lem, but some call me fokat