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News & Views

September featured two hot-topic discussions regarding CPAN Testers. 

The first was started by brian d foy, in a post about the effects of the development version of Test::More, which due to ongoing comment issues, were followed up separately. I see both sides of the argument, but I tend to side with brian. Testers need to take some responsibility when they are testing, particularly when it means testing releases, which may be experimental. However, it's tricky as there is no guarantee way of spotting the dependecy that is at fault. It could be the development release, but equally it could be another regular release. In fact this question has cropped up before where no development release was involved. To understand what is at fault requires human intervention. Programmatically we could try and guess, but it is likely we would get it wrong, just as much as we do now. As such I am looking at changing the Admin site to allow authors and testers to reallocate reports to another distribution. 

During the discussion ribasushi suggested expanding the report grades to handle these sorts of scenario. However, this doesn't get away from the fact that reports are attributed to the wrong distribution. It also confuses the issue for users and authors. The current system is very defined. It may be wrong on occasions, but that's something we can look at fixing. Expanding the grades is more likely going to detract the value of CPAN Testers. If we can improve the current analysis this is a much better result for all.

The second discussion, which started from a thread from August, was prompted by Philippe 'BooK' Bruhat around providing CPAN Testers machines available to test distributions on less popular OSes, so that we can ensure a decent amount of coverage for these OSes. The problem is that the CPAN Testers Fund doesn't currently have the funds available to support this. Its a great idea, and possibly something we can think about for the future, should funds ever be sufficient, but not right now.

If you have some free cycles on a less popular OS, and are willing to run a CPAN Testers client, please do so. As mentioned in the last post, there are several OSes we would love to see getting more test reports attributed to them. The OSes themselves are still widely used, and if you are having any problems setting up a client, please join the mailing list and ask for help and advice.

It was quite timely for BooK to mention the CPAN Testers Fund, as this year is the last year Birmingham Perl Mongers can fund the CPAN Testers server. After 8 years Birmingham Perl Mongers no longer have funds too cover the yearly costs of the reports server, and we will be completely reliant on the CPAN Testers Fund or gracious support from hosting companies to continue the service after September 2015.

I would like to take this moment to say thank you to the Birmingham Perl Mongers for the allowing me to support CPAN Testers for this long with their donations. Without their support, CPAN Testers would not have grown into the dynamic resource it is today. Thank you.

However, what happens next? As it currently stands the CPAN Testers will not be able to pay for the server next year. We could try and raise funds via crowdfunding sources, such as gratipay, but this very time consuming and realistically longer term we really need the support of major companies. Does your company use Perl, CPAN and/or CPAN Testers? Would they be willing to fund in part or full, the servers used to run the systems? If so, please get in touch. If you are a hosting company and would be willing to provide a server of our current spec or better, please get in touch and I can give you the specs for the current server and/or current costs to maintain the existing servers.

It would be a great shame to lose CPAN Testers, so if your company could help, please speak to your marketing department, owners or directors to see whether they are willing to donate. As a thank you, we do provide logos and links on all the primary CPAN Testers sites on the main servers, back to our sponsors websites and they will get thank yous in press releases on social media. Please get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions and hopefully we can keep CPAN Testers alive for many more years to come.

Apologies for posting this late, my laptop has sadly blown up, and I've had to rewrite my original post. More news next month.

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