CPAN Spelunking

PAUSECPAN Sat 8 August 2020

My current PAUSE tidy-up project is to resolve inconsistent first-come permissions on indexed distributions. In working on this I've created several scripts, and updated some modules. In this post I'll go through the most recent things I've done.

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In the past, if multiple people released the same distribution, and each of them added new modules to the distribution, then you'd end up with different people having ownership of modules making up a single distribution. That's a pain if you want to give co-maint to someone. PAUSE has been fixed now, to ensure consistent permissions, but there are historical inconsistencies. I'll describe the problem, and how we're fixing it.

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Every release you do to CPAN stays in your author directory until you choose to delete it. Sometimes you might want your old releases to stay available, but most of the time you could happily delete them (they're always available on BackPAN). Space is getting short on the CPAN Master, so please tidy up your author directory. I've written a script to identify the biggest hoarders, and have started emailing the top of the list, asking them to free up some space. You can use the script to see (roughly) how much space you could free up.

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If the first release of your CPAN module has version 0.01, then when should you release version 1.00, and what does that signify? For a good while now I've kinda of read 0.x as "I'm still kicking things around", and you go to 1.x when things have settled down. I recently realised that others don't think the same as me (I know, amazing huh?), so I thought I'd see what others (that's you) think.

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Some modules on CPAN were created by the same person who has always released it. But there are plenty which have been through many different hands, and which perhaps are released by a number of different project / team members. How should those different people be acknowledged? This post was prompted by IRC discussion with RJBS and GENEHACK, and Rik's blog post where he proposed that MetaCPAN should show the owner of a dist rather than the person who last released it.

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I sometimes ponder on how we can encourage people to become more active in the Perl communities. Following feedback from participants in the Pull Request Challenge, it's clear we could make many of our CPAN distributions more contribution-friendly. A recent blog post and some discussion with Sawyer prompted some specific ideas.

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This is the start of a catalogue of the different files and directories you might come across in CPAN distributions: what they're for and how they're used. During the PRC I've had emails from a few people who didn't know what to do with the distribution they'd been assigned, which prompted this.

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Following on from my previous post on CPAN terminology, this one focusses on the model and terminology related to dependencies: the modules that your dist uses, and the other CPAN distributions that use yours.

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This is a collection of terms related to CPAN and CPAN distributions. I've often looked for such a thing, wanting to link from it in blog posts and the like, or somewhere to direct people to (such as PRC participants).

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There are some distributions on CPAN that were last released 20 years or so ago. Understandably many of them don't follow many of the conventions that we expect today, and some of them fail all their tests, and have for a while. I think we should do something about these dists: either update them to be well-behaved modern distributions, or remove them from CPAN. They'll continue to be available on BackPAN. Here I'll go through a batch of the oldest.

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