Recently in Grants Category

The Grants Committee has received one grant proposal for the November/December round. Before the Committee members vote, we would like to solicit feedback from the Perl community on the proposal.

Review the proposal below and please comment here by December 12th, 2016. The Committee members will start the voting process following that and the conclusion will be announced approximately in one week.

Learning Perl 6, a book from O'Reilly Media

  • Name:

    brian d foy

  • Amount Requested:

    USD 10,000

Synopsis

Partially fund the writing process for Learning Perl 6, a book from O'Reilly Media

Benefits to the Perl Community

Note: I am also running a Kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1422827986/learning-perl-6). I have not given much thought to the mechanism of The Perl Foundation funding, but I think I'd want it to be through your normal mechanism rather than Kickstarter. I understand that payment on completion in part of that process. That works for me. I would appreciate TPF's help in spreading the word and finding backers.

Perl 6 does not have a tutorial book. To reach further out into the general programming world, people need a gentle introduction to the language. This book is about bringing people into the community more than serving the ones already here.

Some people have written survey books that have covered ancient versions of the language (Perl 6 and Parrot Essentials, Perl 6 Now). Other people are working on cookbook-style example books (Moritz Lenz most notably). Several other efforts have stalled or stopped. A book can be a big chunk of a person's life, and financial stability along with the removal of the distractions of normal commerce are key to success.

The big question is my need for the money, especially when I have a major publisher committed to publishing the book. In short, I've shifted O'Reilly risk tolerance by taking on some of it myself.

First, book sales aren't what they used to be. I'm taking a big gamble here and I have a lot of personal risk, mostly in lost time. Many comments on the kickstarter have centered around "Why doesn't O'Reilly pay for the book?" Publishers don't "pay" so much as give you advanced royalties. That robs the future to pay for the present. I've never taken an advance on a book, and even if I did, a sane publisher wouldn't provide me enough money to allow me to do this. I fully expect Learning Perl 6 to be my least-popular book.

The entire technology book market shrinking and has been for years. Perl 6 as a usable language is a new technology in an already crowded market. There's a big chance that this is a "front list" book that makes all of its sales in the first months of its release and is never bought again. This situation happens with a dedicated fan base or a highly promoted book that doesn't catch on. I already know the sales numbers for Learning Perl. If I had to guess at a sales target for Learning Perl 6, I'd take one-tenth that number. It's not a motivating amount for me. As the author of several existing books, I don't have the same secondary rewards of new fame and recognition as a first-time author.

Second, book sales aren't primarily important to the marketing goals of the Perl 6 community. To be taken seriously as a technology (even if the community is small), someone needs to be able to point to something in the marketplace. A technology manager might take a signalling cue from the existence of a dead-tree book because the publisher has already judged risk and committed to the book. Even if we think this is a poor way to make judgements (and granted, we'd often be right), there's the dirty mess of reality versus how we think the world should be. This is important to many people in the Perl 6 community. The lack of a book is a big hurdle for our "force multipliers"—the teachers and trainers who don't have the time to construct a full curriculum themselves but could use a tutorial book that's ready to teach in a segmented, classroom enviromented.

Third, the Kickstarter amount sounds impressive, but I'm also responsible for all expenses and taxes. Every e-book and print book I give out as a reward is actually a pre-sale. Most of that money flows to the publisher as a sale (of which I still get a royalty). The Kickstarter money is also subject to taxes. I've run a small business for a couple decades; that number doesn't seem that large for the effort. I'm looking for any support out there. When you consider the amount, I think it's much more productive to think about getting what you want at a price that makes sense to you. Considering the levels that TPF has funded similar grants delivering less, I think this is more than reasonable value.

If you could get this book without this grant and without the Kickstarter, I'd support that. Indeed, I've waited for that book just like you. But, no one has stepped up to write it and that book doesn't exist. TPF's role could underpin the community support I'm already receiving. This grant further ensures the end result.

Since their third report on migrating blogs.perl.org, Evozon have been working hard to produce a public beta site.

This beta site lets you, the community, test and evaluate the platform. If you are a regular user of blogs.perl.org, here's a great opportunity to help us make the release candidate the best version possible.

As outlined in the original grant proposal, the site provides the following:

  • features from the exisiting site: register new account, log-in, write & manage blog posts, create & manage blogs, manage user profile, add comments, add & manage users
  • data imported from the existing site
  • blog text, code snippets, quoting and comments display in clean UTF-8
  • admin and test users can log in to their account through direct access
  • beta users can sign up through Oauth (Facebook login)
  • existing users can view posts, log in with their existing ID, create and comment on posts

At this point, the only deficiency known on the platform is its dependency on JavaScript. Users must have JavaScript enabled in their browsers.

This beta system can undergo small updates, due to bug fixing activities performed by the team, and data may be reset from time to time.

Please join the beta at http://blogsperlorg.pearlbee.org. Once you’ve logged in or signed up, feel free to explore the platform and test all the features. We strongly encourage all beta users to report any bugs, issues, errors or suggestions. If you are nervous about reporting bugs through the formal bug reporting system, you can simply email details to the support mailing list [email protected].

Enjoy testing the platform and thank you in advance for your feedback.

Chad continues working on the Test 2 Manual, with the following news:

The Grants Committee is accepting grant proposals all the time. We evaluate them every two months and another evaluation period has come.

If you have an idea for doing some Perl work that will benefit the Perl community, consider sending a grant application. The application deadline for this round is 23:59 November 25th UTC. We will publish the received applications, get community feedback and conclude acceptance by December 5th.

To apply, please read How to Write a Proposal. Rules of Operation and Running Grants List will also help you understand how the grant process works. We also got some grant ideas from the community. The format is the same as the previous rounds in 2014-2016.

We will confirm the receipt of application within 24 hours.

If you have further questions, please contact me at tpf-grants-secretary at perl-foundation.org.

Tony Cook recently requested an extension of his Maintaining Perl 5 grant. This request was successful and Tony was awarded another $20,000.

I would like to thank the community members who took time to comment on this grant extension request and our sponsors who made funding the grant possible through our Perl 5 Core Maintenance Fund.

Paweł Murias continues to work on his JavaScript backend for Rakudo grant.

Paweł Murias writes:

Current State

rakudo.js (Rakudo compiled to JavaScript) compiles 70% of the core setting. I'm working on getting it to compile the whole setting. The setting executes a bunch of code at compile time (it has BEGIN blocks, constant declarators etc.) so the code the compiler is generated is validated to some degree (the test suit will exercise it much more). I'm mostly fixing bugs, and implementing missing features in the backend (most are small some required bigger changes to the way we handle things, like nqp::attrinited). While doing that I'm also expanding the nqp test suite so that new backend implementers have an easier job.

What Is Left?

  • Fixing bugs and missing features found while running the test suit.
  • Writing a tutorial and making rakudo.js more usable (making sure the source maps are correct, it installs easily, the error messages it produces are usable etc.).

When it will be done?

A large part of the work remaining is bug fixing so I find it hard to provide a reliable estimate. I hope to wrap things up by the end of the year.

Will reports on RPerl documentation for September and most of October:

"Chapter 3 is coming along nicely!

The following new sections of Learning RPerl have been published:

Also, more extensive example code has been added to the following sections:

CHAPTER 3: ARRAY VALUES & VARIABLES

"

MAJ

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