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News & Views

Posted by Barbie
on 10th September 2009

Next week on Saturday 19th September, in Dublin, OSS BarCamp will be taking place at DIT Kevin Street Campus, which is very near St. Stephen's Green in the centre of Dublin. It's a one day event and to attend all you need do is add your name to the list.

So why am I mentioning this? Well Tim Bunce will be there talking about Perl. One of the talks he will be presenting is an updated version of his Perl Myths talk. This time around Tim is using some new and improved graphs from my The Statistics Of CPAN talk, and generally putting Perl in a much better light, with some hard facts and figures.

If you're likely to be in or near Dublin next Saturday, I strongly urge you to book a ticket to the event, as it is going to be a very worthwhile day of talks and people. Just wish I could be there myself :)

Posted by Barbie
on 2nd September 2009

This post is a bit of a celebration (you'll have to imagine the fireworks and associated oohs and ahhs), as last month we hit a few very notable milestones.

The 5 Millionth Post

Firstly, Chris Williams posted the 5 millionth post on 13th August. While very notable, many posts to the cpan-testers mailing list are CPAN Upload messages and in the early years included discussions when the submission of reports was fairly low. So it doesn't equate to the 5 millionth report. However, ....

The 5 Millionth Report

For our second milestone, Oliver Paukstadt posted the 5 millionth report on 25th August. Considering we only had our 4 millionth post in June, it's been an incredibly short period of time to post 1 million reports. Over 300,000 of those reports came from Dan Collins and Chris Williams who both topped over 196,000 reports and 107,000 report respectively for July and August.

The sheer volume of processing was noted on the CPAN Testers server, as the page builder was put under load to consume the reports as quickly as possible. Thankfully it has been coping rather well and while some page requests have been delayed by up to 3 days at times (it takes over 5 days to rebuild the site from scratch!), the number of pages outstanding has been very manageable. This has largely been a good thing as I was on holiday last week, without any internet access, and I wouldn't have been able to do anything had something gone wrong. A testament to stability of the server these days.

CPAN Testers is Ten Years Old

Thirdly, yes we hit another milestone last month, and perhaps the biggest cause for celebration. CPAN Testers has been running now for TEN YEARS! On August 28th 1999, at 7:08am Pacific Standard Time, the very first post to the cpan-testers mailing was recorded, it was a CPAN Upload mail announcing Bundle-ABH had been released to CPAN. A few hours later, at 12:14pm Pacific Standard Time, the very first report was posted to the mailing list by Paul Schinder, an UNKNOWN report for FCGI-0.48 running on a Solaris box under Perl 5.5.3.

The idea of CPAN Testers was started by Chris Nandor and Graham Barr all those years ago, and has had many contributors to the eco-system since. Having said that notable mentions go to Robert Spier, Ask Bjørn Hansen, Andreas König, Jos Bormans, Léon Brocard, Audrey Tang, Adam Foxson, David Golden, Chris Williams, David Cantrell, Slaven Rezić, Adam Kennedy and I suppose it doesn't to hurt to mention myself (Barbie) too ;)

My thanks to all the CPAN Testers who have contributed reports over the years, whether they have submitted several thousand or just the one, it has all helped.

YAPC::Europe 2009

At the beginning of last month several CPAN testers attended YAPC::Europe in Lisbon. We had a BOF and discussed ideas, and hopefully recruited some new testers to our humble community. One potential tester may have access to some very under tested platforms, so here's hoping we can add those to our regularly tested platforms each month.

We also discussed statistics, following on from my lightning talk about the state of CPAN. The talk had been previously given in Pittsburgh for YAPC::NA 2009, but had largely been overlooked. It seems giving it as a lightning talk provided a much greater impact and left a much longer lastring impression for European attendees.

Many of the statistics mentioned are now available on the CPAN Testers Statistics site, and I'm always happy to hear of more suggestions to include on there. The one overwhelm message taken from the talk is that CPAN contributions, both in terms of distributions and authors have been increasing consistently ever since CPAN was instigated back in 1995. New authors are signing up and contributing every month, and the existing contributors are not letting up either. Perl and CPAN have probably never been healthier. Which all goes to show just how important CPAN testers can be in helping authors maintain good quality and reliable code for the benefit of all.

Promoting CPAN Testers

It was an incredible month last month for CPAN Testers, with all the potential for announcements. Sadly, I was without an internet connection last week to be able to make announcements for the last two events at the time, as it would have been nice to have spread a bit of good karma around to everyone who has been involved.

Which raises a point about CPAN Testers that I have been asked several times over the last year. Why don't we shout out more about CPAN Testers, as according to some, it is one of the Perl Community's successful community projects. Sadly I'm only one person, and I don't shout very loud. I used to give talks about becoming a CPAN Testers regularly at YAPCs in North America and Europe, but these days look more to the BOF sessions to encourage interest. Chris Williams has started to continue the CPAN Tester howto style talks in Europe, but we could do with others around the world.

So if you're thinking of what talk to do at a forthcoming YAPC, OSDC, Workshop or local technical meeting, or even at a technical conference, workshop or local user group meeting that isn't focused on Perl, please consider whether you could help promote CPAN Testers. I'll gladly feature links to you, your slides and the event in a dedicated post on the CPAN Testers Blog to help out. Likewise if you have written an article for a printed or online magazine or even in your own blog, please let me know and I'll mention it in a future post.

And Finally

Last month we had a total of 166 testers submitting reports. The mappings this month included 23 total addresses mapped, of which 13 were for newly identified testers.

Once again many thanks to all the several thousand CPAN Testers who have contributed reports, and here's to the next ten years :)

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