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Re^6: Fixing broken CPAN modules without author cooperation

by BrowserUk (Pope)
on Apr 27, 2012 at 12:56 UTC ( #967625=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^5: Fixing broken CPAN modules without author cooperation
in thread Fixing broken CPAN modules without author cooperation

That sounds like you are saying that if someone offers you a patch for one of your modules that you no longer care about, you aren't going to make any effort to apply the patch, but you're still going to get upset if they upload an unauthorised version.

Why?

  • They've made the effort to develop a fix that they need, without bothering you for it.
  • They've gone to the trouble to make that fix available to anyone else who wants it.

Why should it bother you? You don't care about the module. Any bugs arising from the unauthorised version are going to go to them not you, and you can still ignore any bugs that arise from your version.

You are effectively saying: You cannot fix any of my abandoned modules unless you are prepared to take of full responsibility for it. That's just silly.


With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
"Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

The start of some sanity?


Comment on Re^6: Fixing broken CPAN modules without author cooperation
Re^7: Fixing broken CPAN modules without author cooperation
by salva (Monsignor) on Apr 27, 2012 at 13:32 UTC
    No, maybe it sounded that way but it is not what I had in mind.

    What I am trying to say is that before releasing an unauthorized version, he should tell me because I am going to give him access to my git repository and comaintainer status on PAUSE and also give advice and check his changes (nicely) to ensure that he is solving the problem in the right way. He can then release the new version as an official one, and for there choose to keep maintaining the module or completely forget about it.

    What I mean is that by contacting me first, we will end with a better official module release everybody can use and also probably solving his own issue in a better way, everybody wins. Compare that with the mess created by unauthorized releases.

      EEEP! Why don't you volunteer him for military service while you're at it :P

      What I mean is that by contacting me first,

      Please re-read the OP.

      Noone is suggesting that unauthorised upload should be a first resort. Only when attempts at communication have either failed or broken down.


      With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
      Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
      "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
      In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

      The start of some sanity?

        Noone is suggesting that unauthorised upload should be a first resort. Only when attempts at communication have either failed or broken down.

        Actually I am.

        If you've gone through the trouble of patching the dist, and you've got a CPAN account, go ahead and release it to cpan, then drop a bug report in the RT cue, and then you're done

        Sure beats the heck out of submitting a bug report, a patch, then waiting for the author to reject your patch, or try to recruit you ...

        And a tarball is installable directly from cpan, available to everyone, no need for scores of people to go through the trouble of locating/applying the patch

      So, to be clear, salva, the most likely scenario seems to me to be: Bob sends you a bug report, either with a patch attached or, after you completely fail to respond in any way, a patch comes in as a follow-up to the bug report. After you (perhaps for the second time) completely fail to respond (for a few weeks) and you haven't gotten around to your queue of bugs for that module for "years" (as you said), Bob uploads an "unauthorized" version of the module with his patch applied.

      I can't tell, even after all of the back-and-forth, whether that would leave you "very upset" (well, you said "very impolite and upsetting" so maybe the "very" wasn't meant to distribute across the "and" there).

      Note that I don't consider any of the steps in my first paragraph to be particularly problematic. Quite the contrary, I find them to be the most likely results in general, not just for salva's modules. All salva has done is admit to being quite ordinary when it comes to interest in and level of involvement in a bit of software.

      But I do consider responding to the above scenario with an actual display of being upset to be childish, counter-productive, and self-indulgent.

      The correct response (IMHO) to the above scenario is to finally respond to the bug report(s) and to politely ask that the new volunteer/contributor consider taking advantage of their current level of interest in the module. The response would mention the git repo (why isn't that just in the module documentation?) and the backlog (that'd be good to put someplace public) and would offer to give the volunteer co-maintainer (at least) access, of course. The response or a follow-up would mention any suggestions about how to improve the patch.

      Now, I can admit to the point that a polite action would be a 2nd (or 3rd) e-mail announcing (politely) that Bob (given that lack of response and years since the last release and at least implying that neither of those facts is surprising nor a bad reflection upon you) will soon be uploading a patched version of the module (and offering to seriously consider any concerns you might have and asking you to consider granting co-maintainer status so the upload won't remain "unofficial").

      But I also consider that step rather optional. And my biggest concern with that step is that it stretches the time span from patch construction to publication of a patched release to the range where I find people are likely to loose their interest / motivation and then we'll just have two people with backlogs for the module and no fix published until "years" pass and one of you gets excessively bored or otherwise unusually motivated.

      An obvious middle ground is for Bob to mention, when sending the patch, his intent to upload a patched version. That makes more sense if the patch comes after a bug report with no response. But I wonder if that would also be "impolite and upsetting" to you.

      I think my balance point would settle upon two e-mails. If I sent a (full) patch in the initial bug report, then I'd not initially mention my intent to upload a patched release. If I got no response after a week, then I'd follow-up with an e-mail describing my intent to upload.

      But I think it would be more likely that my first bug report would not contain a full patch (more likely just a patch that fixes the problem w/o incrementing the module version, adding a test to cover the fix, and updating the documentation). But, after no response, if I actually still had the motivation to produce a full patch, then I think I'd just forward the full patch and, as politely as I could, note that I plan to upload a patched version.

      And I seriously wish that I could declare that my CPAN modules are officially open for such contribution. I would really like to know that, if I got hit by a bus, my modules on CPAN could actually receive contributions that would (eventually) be fully indexed without requiring somebody find the motivation to stalk my non-existence for 6 months and then beg for manual intervention from the admins.

      - tye        

        I do not care whether the originally author of a module feels like.

        But I do care about myself. I would never release an unauthorized version of a module under the same name. I don't find it not more than decent to use a different name. An author may be associated with a module. It may even bring him some benefits. Who am I to tarnish this, or piggyback on it.

        It actually saddest me that there are people who think this ought to be normal.

        You know, I am not a machine with a hard coded set of rules, I am a person, am so my thinking and feeling are fuzzy...

        If somebody releases an unauthorized version of my modules without first trying to communice with me in any way, yes, I probably would get upset.

        If somebody releases an unauthorized version of my modules after I have failed to reply to several mails from him, I would probably feel more guilty than upset.

        But nevertheless, I still think that in that later case, he should had written me an email volunteering to take over the module (even if for a single release) because even if I had failed to reply to his bug reports and patches, I still would be willing to collaborate with him to take out that new release and, this is the important thing, everybody will win.

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