[Vienna-pm] Vienna.pm Winter of Code

Nicholas Clark nick at ccl4.org
Fri Nov 2 17:46:51 PDT 2007

On Tue, Oct 30, 2007 at 10:43:57AM +0100, Thomas Klausner wrote:

> 1) Grants und MicroGrants

> Gibts noch andere Ideen, wie wir foerdern koennen? zB ein Travel-Grant, 
> oder Geld fuer Hardware/Bandbreite?

I don't know whether this fits as a "Grant", or is an independent proposal,
but I think that it would be very useful to get summaries of Perl 5 core
development restarted. Regular summaries have been written by volunteers at
various times; most recently David Landgren restarted the regular summaries
in September 2005, but was unable to continue to volunteer the time after
December 2006:  http://dev.perl.org/perl5/list-summaries/2005/20050909.html

This might seem like a somewhat strange or self-centred proposal of limited
scope, but I remember David repeating to me a comment that someone made to
to him:

20:36 < grinder> another datapoint re p5 vs p6: I had a message from someone 
                 the other day, thanking me for the summaries, saying that they
                 had previously considered p5 to be dead, and was happy to 
                 discover that it was in fact very healthy

Despite the delays in getting Perl 5.8.9 and 5.10 out, Perl 5 development is
very much alive - witness the traffic on the commit list:

However, it's not well known outside the circle of people on Perl 5 porters,
and Perl generally would benefit from getting the word out to the world that
Perl 5 is most definitely not dead. The reason I suggest this as a grant,
and quite possibly a grant at (approaching) commercial rates, is that writing
summaries *is* work, and repeatedly writing summaries is hard work,
particularly writing good summaries in a timely fashion. It's not programming,
so it's not "fun", so it's not something that most sane people would offer
to do for free. (The fact that people did offer to do it is because they
felt that that it was a worthwhile task, and that they wanted to give back
to Perl, and they felt strongly enough that they did this bit of less than
pleasant work). But work it is, and I feel strongly that it is work that
we would all benefit from having done, and we can't really afford to sit and
wait for another volunteer to spring up from nowhere, with nothing happening
in the meantime.

It's also work that doesn't need to be done by any existing Perl core
contributor (or even someone who thinks that they are that good a programmer),
providing that they are competent and diligent at understanding mailing list
messages. Hence getting someone "else" to do it won't deplete the time (or
enthusiasm) of the existing volunteer base.

So I think that vienna.pm funding a position of "summary writer" (and seeking
applications) would be an effective way of converting cash into benefits.

(And obviously payment is based on deliverable results, so it's hard for
anyone to take vienna.pm for a ride)

Nicholas Clark

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