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48cb5b3a 1=head1 NAME
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3perlpolicy - Various and sundry policies and commitments related to the perl core
4
5=head1 DESCRIPTION
6
7This document is the master document which records all written
8policies about how the Perl 5 Porters collectively develop and maintain
9the Perl core.
10
11
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12=head1 MAINTENANCE BRANCHES
13
14=over
15
16=item *
17
18New releases of maint should contain as few changes as possible.
19If there is any question about whether a given patch might merit
20inclusion in a maint release, then it almost certainly should not
21be included.
22
23=item *
24
25Portability fixes, such as changes to Configure and the files in
26hints/ are acceptable. Ports of Perl to a new platform, architecture
27or OS release that involve changes to the implementation are NOT
28acceptable.
29
30=item *
31
32Documentation updates are acceptable.
33
34=item *
35
36Patches that add new warnings or errors or deprecate features
37are not acceptable.
38
39=item *
40
41Patches that fix crashing bugs that do not otherwise change Perl's
42functionality or negatively impact performance are acceptable.
43
44=item *
45
46Patches that fix CVEs or security issues are acceptable, but should
47be run through the perl5-security-report@perl.org mailing list
48rather than applied directly.
49
50=item *
51
52Updates to dual-life modules should consist of minimal patches to
53fix crashing or security issues (as above).
54
55=item *
56
57New versions of dual-life modules should NOT be imported into maint.
58Those belong in the next stable series.
59
60=item *
61
62Patches that add or remove features are not acceptable.
63
64=item *
65
66Patches that break binary compatibility are not acceptable. (Please
67talk to a pumpking.)
68
69=back
70
71
72=head2 Getting changes into a maint branch
73
74Historically, only the pumpking cherry-picked changes from bleadperl
75into maintperl. This has...scaling problems. At the same time,
76maintenance branches of stable versions of Perl need to be treated with
77great care. To that end, we're going to try out a new process for
78maint-5.12.
79
80Any committer may cherry-pick any commit from blead to maint-5.12 if
81they send mail to perl5-porters announcing their intent to cherry-pick
82a specific commit along with a rationale for doing so and at least two
83other committers respond to the list giving their assent. (This policy
84applies to current and former pumpkings, as well as other committers.)
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85
86=head1 CONTRIBUTED MODULES
87
88
89=head2 A Social Contract about Artistic Control
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90
91What follows is a statement about artistic control, defined as the ability
92of authors of packages to guide the future of their code and maintain
93control over their work. It is a recognition that authors should have
94control over their work, and that it is a responsibility of the rest of
95the Perl community to ensure that they retain this control. It is an
96attempt to document the standards to which we, as Perl developers, intend
97to hold ourselves. It is an attempt to write down rough guidelines about
98the respect we owe each other as Perl developers.
99
100This statement is not a legal contract. This statement is not a legal
101document in any way, shape, or form. Perl is distributed under the GNU
102Public License and under the Artistic License; those are the precise legal
103terms. This statement isn't about the law or licenses. It's about
104community, mutual respect, trust, and good-faith cooperation.
105
106We recognize that the Perl core, defined as the software distributed with
107the heart of Perl itself, is a joint project on the part of all of us.
aaa2bbb1 108From time to time, a script, module, or set of modules (hereafter referred
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109to simply as a "module") will prove so widely useful and/or so integral to
110the correct functioning of Perl itself that it should be distributed with
111Perl core. This should never be done without the author's explicit
112consent, and a clear recognition on all parts that this means the module
113is being distributed under the same terms as Perl itself. A module author
114should realize that inclusion of a module into the Perl core will
115necessarily mean some loss of control over it, since changes may
116occasionally have to be made on short notice or for consistency with the
117rest of Perl.
118
119Once a module has been included in the Perl core, however, everyone
120involved in maintaining Perl should be aware that the module is still the
121property of the original author unless the original author explicitly
122gives up their ownership of it. In particular:
123
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124=over
125
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126=item *
127
128The version of the module in the core should still be considered the
129work of the original author. All patches, bug reports, and so
130forth should be fed back to them. Their development directions
131should be respected whenever possible.
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133=item *
134
135Patches may be applied by the pumpkin holder without the explicit
136cooperation of the module author if and only if they are very minor,
137time-critical in some fashion (such as urgent security fixes), or if
138the module author cannot be reached. Those patches must still be
139given back to the author when possible, and if the author decides on
140an alternate fix in their version, that fix should be strongly
141preferred unless there is a serious problem with it. Any changes not
142endorsed by the author should be marked as such, and the contributor
143of the change acknowledged.
144
145=item *
146
147The version of the module distributed with Perl should, whenever
148possible, be the latest version of the module as distributed by the
149author (the latest non-beta version in the case of public Perl
150releases), although the pumpkin holder may hold off on upgrading the
151version of the module distributed with Perl to the latest version
152until the latest version has had sufficient testing.
153
154=back
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155
156In other words, the author of a module should be considered to have final
157say on modifications to their module whenever possible (bearing in mind
158that it's expected that everyone involved will work together and arrive at
159reasonable compromises when there are disagreements).
160
161As a last resort, however:
162
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163
164If the author's vision of the future of their module is sufficiently
165different from the vision of the pumpkin holder and perl5-porters as a
166whole so as to cause serious problems for Perl, the pumpkin holder may
167choose to formally fork the version of the module in the core from the
168one maintained by the author. This should not be done lightly and
c4f5d98d 169should B<always> if at all possible be done only after direct input
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170from Larry. If this is done, it must then be made explicit in the
171module as distributed with Perl core that it is a forked version and
172that while it is based on the original author's work, it is no longer
173maintained by them. This must be noted in both the documentation and
174in the comments in the source of the module.
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175
176Again, this should be a last resort only. Ideally, this should never
177happen, and every possible effort at cooperation and compromise should be
178made before doing this. If it does prove necessary to fork a module for
179the overall health of Perl, proper credit must be given to the original
180author in perpetuity and the decision should be constantly re-evaluated to
181see if a remerging of the two branches is possible down the road.
182
183In all dealings with contributed modules, everyone maintaining Perl should
184keep in mind that the code belongs to the original author, that they may
185not be on perl5-porters at any given time, and that a patch is not
186official unless it has been integrated into the author's copy of the
187module. To aid with this, and with points #1, #2, and #3 above, contact
188information for the authors of all contributed modules should be kept with
189the Perl distribution.
190
191Finally, the Perl community as a whole recognizes that respect for
192ownership of code, respect for artistic control, proper credit, and active
193effort to prevent unintentional code skew or communication gaps is vital
194to the health of the community and Perl itself. Members of a community
195should not normally have to resort to rules and laws to deal with each
196other, and this document, although it contains rules so as to be clear, is
197about an attitude and general approach. The first step in any dispute
198should be open communication, respect for opposing views, and an attempt
199at a compromise. In nearly every circumstance nothing more will be
200necessary, and certainly no more drastic measure should be used until
201every avenue of communication and discussion has failed.
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203=head1 CREDITS
204
76caf4b8 205Social Contract about Contributed Modules originally by Russ Allbery E<lt>rra@stanford.eduE<gt> and the perl5-porters.
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