CPAN could definitely be more user-friendly. I came to it as a complete newbie to programming and was overwhelmed at first, it was absolutely imperative for me to glean as much wisdom from perlmonks as possible. But is that the best way to go about things if you're trying to attract users? I still have to dig through perlmonks to find the appropriate module for some specific task X, and then test out a bunch before I settle on one I can manage fairly easily.
I have read from someone here before that CPAN shouldn't be changed to accommodate users like myself since that would favor the older, popular, and (perhaps, perhaps not) more inferior modules. But why is this such a Bad Thing? It seems the Perl community is deathly afraid of any action that may stifle innovation. But to me there's obvious parallels elsewhere in the open source world, and I think Firefox's extensions is one such thing (see here). You have a compact front page with links to search and popular extensions as well as major categories. Individual extension pages have short snippets explaining the major functions of the extension. I install with a mouse-click on a big green button. Extensive documentation is several clicks away. The rating system is widely used (let's be honest - CPAN's is somewhat worthless). With this setup I don't have to go mucking about tech blogs to find extensions that I like and use on a daily basis.
Aside from being ignorant, my other problem is being a Windows user (a fatal combination, I know). Installing modules is can be somewhat of a pain for me if I can't use ppm, and then ActiveState's repository is rather poor on updating (even with widely-used modules) so I have to go fishing for repositories that do update if I want to be able to install an updated module easily. Otherwise I have to go get some Microsoft executable and change something else (obviously I haven't figured that one out).
All that whining aside, I love Perl and the ease with which I can do any number of things with little effort. It has been a joy to learn and the community is really what keeps it viable. It would be nice, even from my perspective, if it didn't have to rely on it so much though.
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