The selfish CPAN Tester

I was surprised and happy to see that my tweets had some impact and both Damien Learns Perl and Barbie who runs the CPAN Testers infrastructure blogged about it.

Andy Lester had some really good points in response to Barbie so let me give here one of the explanations why it is worth to setup one of the CPAN Testing clients (a 10 minute one time investment) and send in test reports (0 extra time).

I am not talking about a smoker bot. I am talking about a regular person installing a CPAN module using one of the CPAN clients.

There are of course other reasons as well and I am sure others will be able to explain them better but, let me give the

Selfish reason

Let's say I am trying to use a module in an application. Otherwise why would I want to install it? Also let's say for some reason the module, or one of its prerequisites does not install well. What are my choices?

  1. Look for another module.
    This might be easy in some case but difficult in others. Certainly extra effort.
  2. Force install and don't care. Sure I can do it but what if there really is a problem with the module? Will I find it out during development or once it is in production?
  3. I can try to report the problem.
    That probably involves copy-pasting, typing in the e-mail address of the RT queue, (and what if the author uses another bug tracking system?) gathering some information about the environment, etc. A lot of work.
  4. Press ENTER (twice) and get the test report delivered including environmental information.

So which one is the cheapest and which one has the best chance to help the original developer of the module to fix the problem? Clearly the best value I can get if I let the CPAN client automatically send out the test report.

In the meantime I can still force install and start playing with the module. I can still send an e-mail to the author mentioning that the report was also dispatched to the CPAN testers. I can even look for other solutions.

In any case, this way I have a good chance a day or two later I'll be able to install the module without test failures.

I might even get the good feeling that I contributed a bit to the health of the Perl and CPAN ecosystem.


On my Linux machine I am using local::lib and to install modules. I followed the Quick Start and installed CPAN::Reporter and the other tools it needs. The whole process was less than 10 minutes and most of it I spent preparing tea while the modules got installed.

Now that I set everything up, every time I try to install a new module a report is sent out.


On Strawberry Perl on Windows I did the same (without the local::lib part) as it has a real CPAN client. Actually as I am using the newly released Padre on Strawberry Perl package I don't even need to do that (again) as it has has everything installed for sending test reports. I just had to create a Metabase ID and enable the client and I was ready to go. The instructions are here.

If you also want to try this and something is not clear in the instructions, please ask here or on the mailing list.

That alone of course would not get me high on the leader-board but that's not the point anyway.

BTW I am at 70th place with 6654 reports...


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Published on 2011-06-22 by Gabor Szabo