When is the next release of Perl?

In an open source project - especially one that involves Perl - most of the people just want to write code. Nearly no one wants to do PR. It even has a bad reputation among many open source developers.

In Padre I constantly struggle if I should spend my time adding a new feature or trying to recruit more developers. The former works better in the short term, the latter works better in the long term. Eventually there is a balance I try to keep.

One of the things I really miss from the perl 5 porters - the people who maintain and improve perl itself - is the communication.

In the last couple of weeks we saw lots of blog-posts and mailing lists posts - sometimes not in the nicest way - why there is no regular release of perl 5 and how a speed related bug that was fixed 18 months ago was not released in an intermediate version. In these discussions several of the p5p people got involved but unfortunately this is mostly defensive talk. Not good PR.

I also got fed-up with the lack of release and asked on the p5p list what is stopping them from releasing the next version of perl and what is so hard in the release process that they cannot do it more regularly?

I got several related replies. One of the them on the mailing list others on IRC.

According to those the next perl 5 release is within a small number of weeks. That is certainly good news. I would prefer to see a Release Candidate already that people can take for a ride but in the meantime I can point you at the three major issues around the release that need to be done:

  1. Fix a bunch of outstanding issues.
  2. The release must be stable.
  3. The actual release process should be automatic.

For item no. 1 you need to talk to the perl porters or look at the topic on the #p5p IRC channel where they point you at the list of outstanding issues

Item no. 2 was addressed in an e-mail of David Golden and the thread following it. That should be summarized in a document and the test automation system should be implemented.

For item no. 3 we first need to have a written document of what needs to be done and then we can attempt to automate it. The document can be based on the e-mail of Nicholas Clark. Actually I already created a pod version of that file that I hope soon will be added to the source tree of perl and then it can be fine tuned and implemented.

The interesting issue is that 2. and 3. need to be implemented only once and they can be reused for every future release of perl 5. So if you'd like to see more frequent releases that's where you need to help.

Luckily those, especially no. 2, are issues that any perl hacker can get involved easily. They only need perl coding.

I know I am not a good PR person and I hardly know anything about what's going on in the perl 5 porters but I hope this post helped a bit. At least it might trigger someone to write a better explanation of the situation.

Oh and a last note, if you'd like to get involved, the description on how to deal with the Git repository can be found here

Published on 2009-06-22 by Gabor Szabo
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