Grant Application: Maintaining the Perl 5 Core


We have received a new grant application, under the Perl 5 Core Maintenance Fund, from David Mitchell.

Before we vote on this proposal we would like to get feedback and endorsements from the Perl community. Please leave feedback in the comments or send email with your comments to karen at

Name: David Mitchell

Project Title: Maintaining the Perl 5 Core


Having recently finished a three-year TPF grant (plus extensions) devoted to fixing 'hard' core perl 5 bugs, I'd like to start a new grant that covers generally similar activity, but which increases the scope of the chargeable activities: from being solely "hard bugs", to also include more general maintenance activities, such as looking at performance issues, investigating smoke failures, helping getting perl into a releasable state etc. These are all activities I already do, but I have been unable to claim for them before.

Benefits to Perl 5 Core Maintenance

As a long-time core perl developer, this grant will enable me to continue to devote significant time and effort to maintaining the perl core, both in terms of fixing bugs, and in terms of more general maintenance.

Deliverable Elements

Like my previous Maintenance Fund grant, and like similar grants for Nicholas Clark and Tony Cook, there are intentionally no pre-defined deliverables for this project.

Instead, I intend to work for a stipend of 50 USD per hour.

As before, I will post a weekly summary on the perl5-porters mailing list which details how many hours were spent on each activity, allowing grant managers and active core developers (who will be aware of any recent commits and other activity of mine) to observe whether my claimed hours bear any relation to actual activity and results, and thus allow early flagging of any concerns.

Missing two weekly reports in a row without prior notice would be grounds for terminating the project.

Once per calendar month, I would claim an amount equal to $50 x hours worked. I would issue a report similar to the weekly ones, but summarizing the whole month. The report would need to be signed off by one of the project managers before I get paid. Note that this means I am paid entirely in arrears.

At the time of my final claim, I would also produce a report summarising the activity across the whole project period.

Also, (the "nuclear option"), the grant managers would be allowed, at any time, to inform the board that in their opinion the project is failing, and that the TPF board may then, after allowing me to present my side of things, to decide whether to terminate the project at that point (i.e. to not pay me for any hours worked after I was first informed that a manager had "raised the alarm").

I would anticipate that I will apply for for further extensions once the initial grant hours have been used up.

Project Details

I intend largely to continue the activities that I already do on core maintenance, which may include (this list is non-exhaustive):

  • Fixing bugs, both hard and easy.
  • Monitoring smokes for failures and compiler warnings, and where possible fixing issues - especially in the lead-up to a new release.
  • Improving performance where I see the opportunity.
  • Code refactoring, where the performance or maintenance benefits outweigh the cost of code churn.
  • Reading and replying to the perl5-porters mailing list.
  • Acting as release pumpking for a maint release where essential: for example I was responsible for the 5.14.4 security release. (But I'm not intending to become a regular maint pumpking.)

Project Schedule

I am available to start work on this project immediately.

I intend to devote 400 hours of my time over approximately the next five or six months: around 20 hours per week on average, although the individual weeks may vary wildly.


I'm a freelance UNIX sysadmin and programmer living in the UK. I have been using perl since 1993, and have been fixing core perl 5 bugs since 2001. I have had commit rights since 2003 and I was pumpking for the 5.10.1 and 5.14.4 perl releases. I am known for fixing "hard" things in the perl core.

Endorsed by: Jesse Vincent, Marcus Holland-Moritz

Amount Requested: 20,000 USD.

Suggestions for Grant Manager

Jesse Vincent and Marcus Holland-Moritz have kindly agreed to continue in this role.


I'd be delighted to see David continue his good work.

I too support this work.

Dave has done great work on the perl 5 core, and I'd like to see him continuing it. Please approve this grant.

I'd love to see this grant extended.

Dave's work is very appreciated and I whole-heartedly support his continued work and the extension of this grant.

+1 from me as well. Dave's expertise is simply invaluable - this grant must be contunually renewed for as long as Dave has the desire/ability to do the work.

I am strongly in favor of this grant being granted!

Dave's grant-funded work on the Perl core has been incredibly useful, and I'd like to see him continue it. Hence I'd like to see this grant approved.

About TPF

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Karen Pauley published on September 1, 2013 12:51 AM.

PPW call for talks and registrations. was the previous entry in this blog.

Maintaining Perl 5: Grant Report for Month 2 is the next entry in this blog.

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