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1 Contributed Modules in Perl Core
2 A Social Contract about Artistic Control
4What follows is a statement about artistic control, defined as the ability
5of authors of packages to guide the future of their code and maintain
6control over their work. It is a recognition that authors should have
7control over their work, and that it is a responsibility of the rest of
8the Perl community to ensure that they retain this control. It is an
9attempt to document the standards to which we, as Perl developers, intend
10to hold ourselves. It is an attempt to write down rough guidelines about
11the respect we owe each other as Perl developers.
13This statement is not a legal contract. This statement is not a legal
14document in any way, shape, or form. Perl is distributed under the GNU
15Public License and under the Artistic License; those are the precise legal
16terms. This statement isn't about the law or licenses. It's about
17community, mutual respect, trust, and good-faith cooperation.
19We recognize that the Perl core, defined as the software distributed with
20the heart of Perl itself, is a joint project on the part of all of us.
21>From time to time, a script, module, or set of modules (hereafter referred
22to simply as a "module") will prove so widely useful and/or so integral to
23the correct functioning of Perl itself that it should be distributed with
24Perl core. This should never be done without the author's explicit
25consent, and a clear recognition on all parts that this means the module
26is being distributed under the same terms as Perl itself. A module author
27should realize that inclusion of a module into the Perl core will
28necessarily mean some loss of control over it, since changes may
29occasionally have to be made on short notice or for consistency with the
30rest of Perl.
32Once a module has been included in the Perl core, however, everyone
33involved in maintaining Perl should be aware that the module is still the
34property of the original author unless the original author explicitly
35gives up their ownership of it. In particular:
37 1) The version of the module in the core should still be considered the
38 work of the original author. All patches, bug reports, and so forth
39 should be fed back to them. Their development directions should be
40 respected whenever possible.
42 2) Patches may be applied by the pumpkin holder without the explicit
43 cooperation of the module author if and only if they are very minor,
44 time-critical in some fashion (such as urgent security fixes), or if
45 the module author cannot be reached. Those patches must still be
46 given back to the author when possible, and if the author decides on
47 an alternate fix in their version, that fix should be strongly
48 preferred unless there is a serious problem with it. Any changes not
49 endorsed by the author should be marked as such, and the contributor
50 of the change acknowledged.
52 3) The version of the module distributed with Perl should, whenever
53 possible, be the latest version of the module as distributed by the
54 author (the latest non-beta version in the case of public Perl
55 releases), although the pumpkin holder may hold off on upgrading the
56 version of the module distributed with Perl to the latest version
57 until the latest version has had sufficient testing.
59In other words, the author of a module should be considered to have final
60say on modifications to their module whenever possible (bearing in mind
61that it's expected that everyone involved will work together and arrive at
62reasonable compromises when there are disagreements).
64As a last resort, however:
66 4) If the author's vision of the future of their module is sufficiently
67 different from the vision of the pumpkin holder and perl5-porters as a
68 whole so as to cause serious problems for Perl, the pumpkin holder may
69 choose to formally fork the version of the module in the core from the
70 one maintained by the author. This should not be done lightly and
71 should *always* if at all possible be done only after direct input
72 from Larry. If this is done, it must then be made explicit in the
73 module as distributed with Perl core that it is a forked version and
74 that while it is based on the original author's work, it is no longer
75 maintained by them. This must be noted in both the documentation and
76 in the comments in the source of the module.
78Again, this should be a last resort only. Ideally, this should never
79happen, and every possible effort at cooperation and compromise should be
80made before doing this. If it does prove necessary to fork a module for
81the overall health of Perl, proper credit must be given to the original
82author in perpetuity and the decision should be constantly re-evaluated to
83see if a remerging of the two branches is possible down the road.
85In all dealings with contributed modules, everyone maintaining Perl should
86keep in mind that the code belongs to the original author, that they may
87not be on perl5-porters at any given time, and that a patch is not
88official unless it has been integrated into the author's copy of the
89module. To aid with this, and with points #1, #2, and #3 above, contact
90information for the authors of all contributed modules should be kept with
91the Perl distribution.
93Finally, the Perl community as a whole recognizes that respect for
94ownership of code, respect for artistic control, proper credit, and active
95effort to prevent unintentional code skew or communication gaps is vital
96to the health of the community and Perl itself. Members of a community
97should not normally have to resort to rules and laws to deal with each
98other, and this document, although it contains rules so as to be clear, is
99about an attitude and general approach. The first step in any dispute
100should be open communication, respect for opposing views, and an attempt
101at a compromise. In nearly every circumstance nothing more will be
102necessary, and certainly no more drastic measure should be used until
103every avenue of communication and discussion has failed.