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Let's eliminate the Module List

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From:
Andy Lester
Date:
August 18, 2004 14:54
Subject:
Let's eliminate the Module List
Message ID:
20040818215432.GA1256@petdance.com
I propose eliminating the Long Module List.  I'm talking about
http://www.cpan.org/modules/00modlist.long.html (2998 modules), not
http://www.cpan.org/modules/01modules.index.html (6800 modules).

=over 4

=item * It's no longer relevant.

Way back when, it was cool to have a single readable source of
information.  With search.cpan.org, it's just not necessary any more.
The list gives two aims:

    * FOR DEVELOPERS: To change duplication of effort into cooperation.
    * FOR USERS: To quickly locate existing software which can be reused.

Both are addressed, and very effectively, by search.cpan.org.

=item * Few people look at it.

Looking at pair.com's mirror logs, I see that since Jan 2003, downloads of
00mod* have averaged fewer than five per month.  Per month, not per day.
Pair is not a lightly-used mirror, either.  They served up 615K distros
for July 2004.  Five out of 615,000 is close enough to zero for me.

=item * Inclusion on the list is effectively arbitrary.

It doesn't mean anything to have a module on that list.  It's certainly
not a stamp of quality.  I don't mean to ignite the debate over whether
there should be some "Perl Approved CPAN module" apparatus should exist;
only that inclusion on the Module List is not it.

=item * The resources used could be better used elsewhere.

There's significant amount of human time and machine resources that go
into maintaining the Long Module List.  For that matter, it's a waste
of developer time proposing inclusion on a list that nobody looks at.

=item * search.cpan.org browsing is misleading

Browsing search.cpan.org gives the user the impression that he or she
is browsing all modules on the CPAN.  This is not the case.  The 26
categories don't make sense any more, anyway.

=back

The one bit of value that I see in this process is where Graham looks
at submissions that people have sent in and, if something seems like
it's duplicate effort, tries to redirect the author to reduce the
duplication. (http://www.nntp.perl.org/group/perl.modules/34207)
Unfortunately, that requires the author to submit a proposal for
inclusion, and since fewer than half of the authors submit the modules,
it's hardly a complete filter.

I welcome your thoughts.  How can we capture the good part of the module
list (the human filtering), and remove the obsoleted infrastructure?

xoxo,
Andy

-- 
Andy Lester => andy@petdance.com => www.petdance.com => AIM:petdance

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