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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
12
13=head1 CONTRIBUTED MODULES
14
15
16=head2 A Social Contract about Artistic Control
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17
18What follows is a statement about artistic control, defined as the ability
19of authors of packages to guide the future of their code and maintain
20control over their work. It is a recognition that authors should have
21control over their work, and that it is a responsibility of the rest of
22the Perl community to ensure that they retain this control. It is an
23attempt to document the standards to which we, as Perl developers, intend
24to hold ourselves. It is an attempt to write down rough guidelines about
25the respect we owe each other as Perl developers.
26
27This statement is not a legal contract. This statement is not a legal
28document in any way, shape, or form. Perl is distributed under the GNU
29Public License and under the Artistic License; those are the precise legal
30terms. This statement isn't about the law or licenses. It's about
31community, mutual respect, trust, and good-faith cooperation.
32
33We recognize that the Perl core, defined as the software distributed with
34the heart of Perl itself, is a joint project on the part of all of us.
aaa2bbb1 35From time to time, a script, module, or set of modules (hereafter referred
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36to simply as a "module") will prove so widely useful and/or so integral to
37the correct functioning of Perl itself that it should be distributed with
38Perl core. This should never be done without the author's explicit
39consent, and a clear recognition on all parts that this means the module
40is being distributed under the same terms as Perl itself. A module author
41should realize that inclusion of a module into the Perl core will
42necessarily mean some loss of control over it, since changes may
43occasionally have to be made on short notice or for consistency with the
44rest of Perl.
45
46Once a module has been included in the Perl core, however, everyone
47involved in maintaining Perl should be aware that the module is still the
48property of the original author unless the original author explicitly
49gives up their ownership of it. In particular:
50
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51=over
52
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53=item *
54
55The version of the module in the core should still be considered the
56work of the original author. All patches, bug reports, and so
57forth should be fed back to them. Their development directions
58should be respected whenever possible.
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60=item *
61
62Patches may be applied by the pumpkin holder without the explicit
63cooperation of the module author if and only if they are very minor,
64time-critical in some fashion (such as urgent security fixes), or if
65the module author cannot be reached. Those patches must still be
66given back to the author when possible, and if the author decides on
67an alternate fix in their version, that fix should be strongly
68preferred unless there is a serious problem with it. Any changes not
69endorsed by the author should be marked as such, and the contributor
70of the change acknowledged.
71
72=item *
73
74The version of the module distributed with Perl should, whenever
75possible, be the latest version of the module as distributed by the
76author (the latest non-beta version in the case of public Perl
77releases), although the pumpkin holder may hold off on upgrading the
78version of the module distributed with Perl to the latest version
79until the latest version has had sufficient testing.
80
81=back
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82
83In other words, the author of a module should be considered to have final
84say on modifications to their module whenever possible (bearing in mind
85that it's expected that everyone involved will work together and arrive at
86reasonable compromises when there are disagreements).
87
88As a last resort, however:
89
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90
91If the author's vision of the future of their module is sufficiently
92different from the vision of the pumpkin holder and perl5-porters as a
93whole so as to cause serious problems for Perl, the pumpkin holder may
94choose to formally fork the version of the module in the core from the
95one maintained by the author. This should not be done lightly and
c4f5d98d 96should B<always> if at all possible be done only after direct input
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97from Larry. If this is done, it must then be made explicit in the
98module as distributed with Perl core that it is a forked version and
99that while it is based on the original author's work, it is no longer
100maintained by them. This must be noted in both the documentation and
101in the comments in the source of the module.
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102
103Again, this should be a last resort only. Ideally, this should never
104happen, and every possible effort at cooperation and compromise should be
105made before doing this. If it does prove necessary to fork a module for
106the overall health of Perl, proper credit must be given to the original
107author in perpetuity and the decision should be constantly re-evaluated to
108see if a remerging of the two branches is possible down the road.
109
110In all dealings with contributed modules, everyone maintaining Perl should
111keep in mind that the code belongs to the original author, that they may
112not be on perl5-porters at any given time, and that a patch is not
113official unless it has been integrated into the author's copy of the
114module. To aid with this, and with points #1, #2, and #3 above, contact
115information for the authors of all contributed modules should be kept with
116the Perl distribution.
117
118Finally, the Perl community as a whole recognizes that respect for
119ownership of code, respect for artistic control, proper credit, and active
120effort to prevent unintentional code skew or communication gaps is vital
121to the health of the community and Perl itself. Members of a community
122should not normally have to resort to rules and laws to deal with each
123other, and this document, although it contains rules so as to be clear, is
124about an attitude and general approach. The first step in any dispute
125should be open communication, respect for opposing views, and an attempt
126at a compromise. In nearly every circumstance nothing more will be
127necessary, and certainly no more drastic measure should be used until
128every avenue of communication and discussion has failed.
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130=head1 CREDITS
131
76caf4b8 132Social Contract about Contributed Modules originally by Russ Allbery E<lt>rra@stanford.eduE<gt> and the perl5-porters.
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