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Re: The CPAN Covenant

Bill Ward
November 17, 2011 10:38
Re: The CPAN Covenant
Message ID:
Sounds good to me ... I hereby accept this covenant for the modules I
maintain, present and future, until such time as I indicate otherwise in
email to

On Thu, Nov 17, 2011 at 12:13 AM, Neil Bowers <> wrote:

> A week ago I posted a proposal for a voluntary pledge, which CPAN
> module authors could sign up to. With Bill Ward's tweak to the wording,
> the discussion on per-distribution stating, and generalising the RT point:
>   I hereby give permission to grant co-maintainership
>   to [% distribution %], if all the following conditions are met:
>   (1) I haven't released the module for a year or more
>   (2) There are outstanding issues in the module's public bug tracker
>   (3) Email to my CPAN email address hasn't been answered after a month
>   (4) The requester wants to make worthwhile changes that will benefit CPAN
>   In the event of my death, then the time-limits in (1) and (3) do not
> apply.
> In the discussion on module-authors, and talking to people at the London
> Perl Workshop (LPW): about 60% thought it was a good idea, 20% a bad idea,
> and
> 20% indifferent. Most of the 'bad' being "it works that way already".
> Talking to people at LPW, a number commented (paraphrasing):
>    Just email the author, wait a month,
>    then push for a handover
> Which to me doesn't quite match the spirit of the PAUSE "taking over"
> process
> described at
> I recently took over a module after 2 months, during which I tried a number
> of ways to track down the author, mailed various other people, and posted
> to module-authors. That seemed appropriate, because the author had clearly
> put a lot of thought and effort into this, and his other modules.
> So, I went to Andreas Koenig, since he has more experience of module
> handovers
> than most of us! The group behind have to balance two
> sides:
> respecting individual authors, and helping the continued development of
> If none of the group know the current author, they have to err on
> the author's side, not CPAN:
>    "I've heard too many upset developers going berserk because they felt
>     [their module was expropriated]"
> Asked whether he thought an explicit pledge would be useful, Andreas said:
>    "An explicit statement in a distribution like the one in your picture
>     would make our lives a lot easier"
> As a number of others commented, Andreas feels it should be stated on
> a per-distribution basis, and not per-author.
> In a side-discussion, it was pointed out that sometimes an author would
> be happy for someone else to take over the module.
> In this case the covenant would become:
>   I hereby give permission to grant lead authorship
>   to [% distribution %], if the following conditions are met:
>   (1) There are outstanding issues in the module's public bug tracker
>   (2) The requester wants to make worthwhile changes that will benefit CPAN
> There are at least three ways this could be provided:
>    (a) a file included in the distribution. Eg Covenant.txt
>    (b) text in the README
>    (c) a feature on PAUSE, where you can select the "ownership status"
>        or similar
> The problem with (c), is that it's not very public; the information needs
> to be closely associated with the distribution itself. To make things
> easy for all involved, I think (a) is probably the best. The downside with
> this is that having lost interest in one of your distributions, you now
> have to do a release to let the (Perl) world know. The alternative would
> be to email the covenant to that's publicly archived,
> so your covenant could be found, especially once a convention
> has been established.

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