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News & Views

Posted by Barbie
on 26th May 2014

If you haven't already been aware of Gittip, it started as way to proviably tip your hat to those whose work you admire, with the idea of buying someone a beer to say thank you to some cool people for their efforts. It's also been another way to generate funds for Open Source projects.

It was suggested a while ago that CPAN Testers should get on the site with a CPAN Testers Team identity, to help add funds to the CPAN Testers Fund. While our main funding is through donations to the CPAN Testers Fund, managed on our behalf by the Enlightened Perl Organisation, having other ways for people to contribute, no matter how big or small, is certainly something worth considering. At the moment Gittip is proving to be a popular way to say thank you, so it makes sense to have a profile.

One of the problems that first faced us was getting a a suitable account from one of the other code/social sites that Gittip uses to enable anyone to create an account. We overcame that recently, when Daisuke Murase kindly gave us the keys to the @cpantesters account on Twitter. Although many projects seem to just have communities, the CPAN Testers Team account will hopefully give a more direct benefit to the CPAN Testers project, rather than individual members of the CPAN Testers community. However, if you want to thank specific testers, that's cool too.

David Golden and myself are the CPAN Testers Team account managers, so we'll make sure all contributions go into the CPAN Testers Fund. In the meantime, feel free to add yourself to the CPAN Testers Community too.

David Cantrell posted a note to let everyone know that both CPANdeps and cpXXXan will be unavailable during of the evening of the 28th of May (UK time). This is due to a data centre move where the servers are hosted.

File Under: server
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Posted by Barbie
on 22nd May 2014

A little while ago I asked whether anyone knew who owned the @cpantesters account on Twitter. I had some plans for it, and wanted to see if the current owner would be agreeable to me using it. I did a bit of digging myself, but didn't get anywhere. Asking again more recently, Both Larry Moore (@larryjasmoore) and Kevin Mulholland (@27escape) stated something obvious that I'd just not spotted, that @typester was the only follower. A quick email and Daisuke Murase did indeed confirm he held the keys to the account.

My thanks to Daisuke Murase for having the forethought to create the account, so it wasn't lost to someone trying to use it for something other than CPAN Testers or Perl. Daisuke was hoping to use it to post reports to, in the same way Chris Williams posts to one of our IRC channels, except Twitter doesn't like such frequent posting, so he had to abandon the project. He has very kindly stepped aside to let me set up a new account to post quick snippets about CPAN Testers.

Feel free to follow us on Twitter at @cpantesters for all the latest CPAN Testers news.

There is another ulterior motive to using the account, and more news about that shortly.

The following is reproduced with the kind permission of Neil Bowers, who posted a thank you to Chris, and said everything I would have liked to say. 

 

"With relatively little fanfare Chris Williams, aka BINGOS, today announced that he's passed 20 million reports submitted to CPAN Testers. I think we should all pause to thank Chris for his contribution to one of the key resources for CPAN authors.

To put that into perspective, the second place tester is Andreas König, on 3.9 million reports. In fact, if you look at the testers leaderboard you can see that Chris has submitted more test reports than the rest of the top 30 testers added together! As I write this, they add up to just under 19.6 million!

Not only does he win the numbers game, but he's quick on the draw too, as I noted in a previous post: his smoke testers generally start submitting reports within minutes
of you uploading a release.

If you want to thank Chris, his email is bingos at cpan dot org. And if you're so inclined, here's BINGOS's gittip page.

Thank you, Chris."

 

Chris' contribution to CPAN Testers is not only limited to his report submissions. He took over CPAN::YACSmoke and turned it into CPANPLUS::YACSmoke, and took over CPANPLUS as a consequence. He has created metabase-relayd, smokebrew, minismokebox and several other CPAN Testers related distributions. He has even helped to present talks about CPAN Testers at YAPCs and Perl Workshops. Credit where credit is due, CPAN Testers is a better place thanks to Chris' efforts. Thanks Chris.

CPAN Testers Reports had a quiet month in April. Much the work to upgrade the Generator code has brought the Metabase feed back into line, and the site builder has been coping much better. The Generator code changes have meant an upgrade to the lastest Metabase API, which has improved the throughput, but also the gaps between search times has reduced, meaning that the blocks we get back from SimpleDB are much more likely to be the ones we want. Also the logic to track back and find the gaps has been improved. All in all, its meant we haven't been missing reports.

There were two discussion on the mailing list, that highlighting two problems CPAN Testers currently has. In the first Sisyphus asked about a problem he'd spotted with failure reports being created, where prerequisites were unmet. The first cause for confusion is when two version of the same distribution (including the version number) are uploaded to CPAN. This can only happen when the author is different. Sisyphus, who maintains the official version of the module, had uploaded a development version, unaware that an unauthorized version had been uploaded. Technically the unauthorised version shouldn't really be tested, but there isn't anything in any of the CPAN Testers clients to prevent this, or at least issue a warning. As a consequence it was initially unclear which distribution the reports related to. As it turned out they were for the official version, which helped to further understand the problem originally raised, and which was eventually resolved by uploading a fixed META.yml file.

In the second discussion, Karen Etheridge asked about unmet 'configure_requires' prerequisites. The problem was due to old installer tools being used, which raise the interesting question of what should be an acceptable minimum version of the smoker tools used to smoke CPAN? This is a complex question to answer, as not only should we consider the perl version, but also the platform version. I have suggested we capture this on the CPAN Testers Wiki, so we can improve it over time. Ron Savage made an interesting suggestion of a new meta key of 'smoking_requires'. Although a nice idea, it would mean a significant change to all the installers, and I suspect that is unlikely to happen soon, if at all, as it would still require upgrading the installers to a minimum version first. Sometimes it can be useful to see how older installers cope with installing a recent upload, and in many cases there may be no problem at all. However, having a set of suggestion minimum requirements for smoking, would at least highlight what versions to upgrade to, should smokers hit problems where they frequent submit erroneous reports. It will be something we will be looking at more in thr future, but if anyone has some suggestions as a starting point, please feel free to start a wiki page or two.

This question also highlighted why it can be very useful to look at the CPAN Testers Analysis site, run by Andreas, which analyses a number of reports to see where differences and similarities are. Looking at a single report may not be enough to pin-point the fault, but understanding a broader range of reports, particularly across perls and platforms, may give a better picture to help dig deeper.

A. Sinan Unur posted about a slight change to the tests he'd made for Crypt::SSLeay. It highlighted that potentially some smokers had machines running smoke tests that could be vulnerable to the Heartbleed Bug. Although it was acknowledged that the test were incomplete, it did re-iterate the need for smokers to ensure their machines were appropriately upgraded if they were using OpenSSL. As a side note, all the CPAN Testers servers were upgrade within a day or two of the original bug being announced.

Bruce from NebCon Inc, posted about a situation I'd already flagged up with Chris Williams. On one of Chris' smokers reported a strange fault was happening that produced 'Argument "2.07_02" isn't numeric in subroutine entry'. It was an odd one because the error was related to File::Temp, which requested a minimum version of File::Path, but one that wasn't a developer version, '2.06'. David Golden suspected the way the version is evaluated may be the problem in UNIVERSAL::VERSION, which could be cured by installing a more recent of version.pm. A newer version of File::Path is available, so in te short term it may also be just as simple to require that.

David Golden has asked everyone to upgrade CPAN::Reporter, if you smoke with CPAN+CPAN::Reporter. CPAN 2.05 now reports optional prerequisites and David has updated CPAN::Reporter to be able to deal with these. This in turn raised a note from Reni Urban, where he had notice differences between Task and Bundle installs. His particular use case does show a difference in the way installers handle the Bundles, as opposed to Tasks, but for the particular Task::CPAN::Reporter suggested for this upgrade, it shouldn't be an issue.

We do have some more news in the pipeline, and have a few things to annouce before the end of May, so look out for those.

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