|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
Re^5: JETTERO tries to take over Net::IMAP::Simple on PAUSE (FUD)by tye (Sage)
|on May 19, 2009 at 04:05 UTC||Need Help??|
CPAN is already a mess. What we have now is 10 bugs not fixed and not reported because 10 people know darn well that the 80% of the time the only way to get a bug fixed is to take on the role of "stalker" in hopes of getting the lovely prize of "now you get to be the one that people are supposed to stalk", 4 different versions of each module with slightly different names and significantly different implementations and feature sets, none of which are getting improvements applied particularly well (most of the time) and none of which is the clear best choice just in terms of features. Short spurts of one person having the time to work on a module and then their life taking a turn and the module sitting untouched for years until somebody is actually perverse enough to jump through the hoop of "play stalker to the last person who touched it" for 6 months in order to be allowed to contribute to it (meanwhile, the module has been "forked" 3 times by people just starting over with a slightly different name).
Freedom and encouraging collaboration is scary until you do it. I'm a bit shocked that so many in the Perl community haven't overcome that fear. So CPAN will continue with its mini-empire building while a bunch of us put our modules on github and encourage collaboration and make it free for people to do the work of getting a module into shape for a new release and then releasing it. Eventually, freedom and collaboration will produce such better results that most of the CPAN mini-empires will just look sad.
There is no point in trying to explain this to the powers that run CPAN. They will just take it as a personal attack anyway. Instead, just act like the internet and "route around roadblocks" ("censorship" in the original quote).
Those who are invested in the closed-ownership and "we must have roadblocks to prevent chaos" will be scared and predict failure and may even be so close-minded as to feel threatened. Meanwhile, open collaboration will increase the pace of innovation such that it will stumble here and there but in the end will produce much better results.
I want to have the modules that I created and put onto CPAN in a "anybody can contribute" mode, but CPAN won't even allow me to do that. They don't support such "anarchy". Because we know that the concept of wikis were a passing fad that was simply doomed to a chaotic failure.
So don't waste your time trying to explain the better way. Just do it the better way and those who can deal will see the better way and use it. Those who fear contributions from others will cling to keeping their "ownership" (until they inevitably lose interest and their contribution withers and fades from memory).
Most open-source projects spend much of their lifespan being driven by a single developer. How well an open source project can support an orderly transition to the next community of contributors is a major factor in how long the project remains viable and useful. Allowing more Perl modules to much more seamlessly accept new contributors and transition to new owners will allow such modules to become mature (something that the vast majority of even useful modules on CPAN can't achieve). It will be a great benefit to Perl developers.
The policies of the CPAN services mean that CPAN is a huge collection of mostly just individual contributions where collaboration is the exception. We can do so, so much better. And we will!