Perl 5 Core Grant Proposal: Zefram maintaining the Perl 5 core


TPF Board has received a new grant application under Perl 5 Core Maintenance Fund.

Before we vote on this proposal, we would like to get feedback from the Perl community. Please leave feedback in the comments or, if you prefer, email your comments to makoto at

IRC nickname: Zefram

project title: Zefram maintaining the Perl 5 core


I'd like a grant to work on the Perl 5 core, concentrating on tricky and obscure issues of the core internals. The grant would extend to the full range of a core committer's activities, along the lines of my past work on the core. The grant would allow me to put much more time into the Perl 5 core than I have been able to recently.

benefits to Perl 5 core maintenance

this grant would overcome the present limitation on the amount of time I can devote to Perl, namely my need for an income. The core would benefit from the increased application of my rare knowledge and skills, including my deep understanding of much of the core internals. It would especially benefit through the fixing of troublesome bugs, and more generally through the addressing of issues that require in-depth familiarity with the internals.

deliverable elements

Like the similar grants for Dave Mitchell, Nicholas Clark, and Tony Cook, I do not propose specific technical deliverables for this project. The details of what work I tackle would be led by the exigencies of bug reports and the direction of discussions among core developers (on the public mailing list, the IRC channel, and at times on the closed security report mailing list). The main deliverable, then, is time spent on core maintenance work, at a rate of USD 50 per hour.

Secondary deliverables are the required reports, weekly to p5p and monthly to TPF. These will list the issues worked on. The grant manager representing p5p can see how this relates to my code commits and mailing list activity, providing an opportunity to raise any concerns.

project details

This project covers the full range of core maintenance activity that I have performed in the past. Within this mix, I would favour activity of which the fewest people are capable: work that takes advantage of my particular knowledge of core internals and my particular abilities. In general, the highest priority work would be the diagnosis and resolution of bugs that appear to involve obscure internals. (Note that diagnosis can radically change the appearance of a bug in this respect.)

Activities covered by this grant would include, but are not limited to:

  • diagnosing reported bugs
  • fixing bugs, whether reported or not
  • discussing core issues on the p5p mailing list
  • writing and improving documentation
  • code refactoring
  • release engineering
  • implementation of new core features, where approved through discussion

Specifically excluded from this project scope is work on unapproved new features, because of the risk of (perception of) abuse. I do not seek a license to arbitrarily perform major speculative work on TPF's dime. But where a new feature has been discussed prior to implementation, and there is the appropriate consensus that it should be implemented, then the endeavour is no longer an individual's speculation, and that implementation work can fall within the scope of this project. Looking back at features I have added in the past, I developed call-checker and parser plugins without discussion, so they would not have been in scope for this type of grant. Subroutine signatures, on the other hand, I developed in response to a fairly detailed consensus reached on the IRC channel, and with the pumpking's specific blessing, so that would have been in scope.

project schedule

This project covers 400 hours of deliverable work, which I anticipate delivering at a rate averaging somewhere between 20 and 30 hours per week, thus taking somewhere between three and five months. I am not committing to any steady rate of work; extensive variance of time worked from week to week is to be expected. I can start as soon as approved.

If the arrangement of this grant turns out to be satisfactory, I would likely seek an extension of it on similar terms.


I'm a freelance computer programmer. I have been using Perl since the year 2000, and C since 1990. I've been contributing to CPAN since 2004, now having 76 distributions there, many of them XS language extensions. I've been contributing code to the Perl 5 core since 2007. My core development work has included diagnosis and fixing of daunting bugs, design and implementation of new subsystems (such as parser plugins and subroutine signatures), and much discourse on the mailing list.

endorsed by: Sawyer X, Matthew Horsfall, Dagfinn Ilmari Mannsaker

amount requested: USD 20_000

suggestions for grant manager: Sawyer X has agreed to serve as manager.


This sounds like a great idea to me.

Sounds like an extremely good idea to me, too.

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This page contains a single entry by Makoto Nozaki published on June 4, 2017 4:00 PM.

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