From what I can tell, most contributors to Perlmonks are here because they enjoy it. They answer questions for free because they want to and usually they learn a thing or two themselves in the process.

Right now on Usenet in comp.lang.perl.modules, there is a discussion about Graham Barr and his lack of response to bug reports and patch submissions for his libnet suite of modules. There are maybe 3 general viewpoints:

  1. Free software, commercial support contract
  2. Free software, free support
  3. Free software, limited free support then commercial

An interesting point brought up by the author of Tangram is that free is not really free, it is a loss of money and time by the author. Because for every hour he does something for free, he could have been earning an hour's pay.

The situation with Graham is in my eyes a very serious one. Because he has authored several things which are a part of the core distribution.

So this issue becomes should Perl remain a freeware model? Should it have been shareware to begin with? And here is my biggest question: is it only the software that is free and is anything beyond that asking too much?

So, even though the source tree for Perl proper is just like Larry showed at his Atlanta talk on Perl 6, the source tree the libnet modules, which are a core part of Perl, may soon see divergence due to inaction by its author.