Monks, I have yet to lose my temper on this site. But this post is perhaps one of the most infuriating things I have ever read on this site.
This kind of thinking is what destroys the quality of software. Software developers like me hesitate to write and distribute software because of users like you. Users, for some reason or other, feel that they are entitled to some kind of support.
Well, for commercial software, thats true, but only under the terms of the software you (dont) read when you buy it. Microsoft, Apple, and IBM (the three big vendors my clients use) all sell not only the hardware and (closed source) software, but they sell support contracts for it.
ugh! This really makes me angry! Your inferrance is that because somebody has written modules that have become core modules in perl that it is their responsibility to maintain them? What then, is my motivation for distributing any software? The responsibility you are ascribing Graham means that there will always be some user sucking at the teat of free time and support. Let me show you some examples of why this reasoning sucks.
When I needed a device driver for a PCMCIA Ethernet Card and CDROM for my laptop, I WROTE ONE. When I needed a package manager for OpenBSD so that my girlfriend could manage software on her laptop, i WROTE ONE. I wrote these pieces of software so that my life would be easier, not to increase global harmony, not to make your perl more functional, not to make anyone but myself and my girlfriend happy. I distribute software I write because I know other people can use it. I dont charge anyone for it because that is against my morals and ethics. I'm willing to support users (read: you) when I have the time and when I am so inclined. If my software becomes a core piece of somebody's software distribution (as my package manager may become for OpenBSD), it is still not my responsibility to support or update it. It is my option!
That having been said, let me move on to an additional subject which is deeply relevant here. The above examples (the drivers and package managers) could only have been written with extensive documentation and opensource. To make a product proprietary and closed source prevents development. Prevents updating. To make perl 'shareware' or 'limited support' is to kill not only its community, but its future development. To completely cripple any chance it has to evolve and progress as a language. Think how many people use EMACS. Emacs is on something like version 21 right now. How far do you think it would get if emacs went 'shareware' or 'limited support' tomorrow? I'll tell you exactly what would happen. A clone would appear in two weeks called "freemacs". Users would support it as rabidly as they had been supporting emacs, and it would get many new features from eager users. See the progress of awk through berkeley and gnu systems. If you watch the evolution of software, you often see that when something becomes opensource, it rapidly gains features (and sadly bugs too) and changes rapidly immediately, and then it settles down and becomes more consistent. Then all these new user-contributed changes become part of the core standard by which that utility is judged. gmake and gnu-ld are other examples of this.
Your thinking is backward. Its also harmful to perl. Its harmful to software development on a whole. And I really dont like it!
Software development has finally come to the hands of the people. No more big brother forcing us to use their tools and their software and their languages. Please dont try to get rid of the magic. Learn to code. Learn to understand code. And if you have problems that you can fix -- fix them and help others. But dont tell me I am required to be generous. I am generous because of who i am. Maybe that should be another programmer virtue, generosity.
I'll finish ranting, I think ive said my piece.