Recently in Grants Category

I am pleased to announce that Tony Cook's grant Maintaining Perl 5 grant has been extended by another 400 hours.

Thank you to everyone who responded to the call for comments and who provided feedback on this grant extension. I would also like to thank all those who continue to provide financial support to the Perl 5 Core Maintenance Fund.

Dave Mitchell writes:

Apart from a bit of time spent on a few miscellaneous bugs, I mainly continued working on refactoring re_intuit_start(). During the course of the month I merged two sets of commits back into blead. At this point I have now audited (and where appropriate fixed), the whole of the body of code for general correctness, and in particular for utf8 bugs and inefficiencies, and for correct treatment of anchors, especially \G.

In fact it was \G that originally set me off looking at this function. Originally the regex optimiser was skipped completely when a pattern contained \G. As part of my work last summer in refactoring how the "intelligence" of matching was distributed between pp_match(), regexec_flags() and re_intuit_start(), I changed it so that re_intuit_start() was called even in the presence of \G. This triggered a couple of bug reports, and in the course of fixing them, I realised I didn't really understand re_intuit_start(). The more I studied it, the less I understood it. It turned out to have lots of subtleties, most of which were undocumented. It used just two generic character pointers s and t, in scope throughout the 600 lines function, which were used to mean different things at different times. It had 32 gotos but no loop structures like while(). You get the general picture.

The code now has only(!) 20 gotos, and variables with more meaningful names, like 'rx_origin', and with a lot more code comments.

There's still a lot more I'd like to do with the code. In particular, there are a couple of significant optimisations that I'm aware of that are now possible, and still considerable scope for simplification; but I'm leaving any further work until after 5.20 is out.

Summary

32:45 RT#120692 Slow global pattern match with input from utf8
1:36 [perl #121230] process group kill on Win32 broken in 5.17.2
3:41 [perl #121362] Bleadperl recently introduced a new SEGV
0:32 [perl #121484] /m causing false negative
2:07 [perl #72028] execute permission missing from some utils
18:55 process p5p mailbox

59:36 Total (HH::MM)

4.4 weeks
59.6 total hours
13.5 average hours per week

As of 2014/03/31: since the beginning of the grant:

24.1 weeks
395.1 total hours
16.4 average hours per week

There are 5 hours left on the grant.

The Grants Committee is pleased to announce the voting results of the March round.

The following grant is approved and funded:

The following grant is approved but not funded as specified in 3.4 of the Rules of Operation. This will be reconsidered in the next round according to 1.2 of the rules.

The following grant applications were rejected:

Tom Hukins has been assigned as a Grant Manager for the funded grant.

We would like to express gratitude for those who took time to give feedback on these proposals.

As a reminder, we will again call for grant proposals on May 1st.

Jeffrey Ryan Thalhammer reported:

This past May, The Perl Foundation awarded a grant to fund development of a couple features in Pinto. Pinto is a robust tool for curating a private repository of CPAN modules, so you can build your application with the right modules every time. This is my fifth progress report on that work.

Pinto 0.0995 was just shipped to CPAN and it includes a merge command. At the moment, it is only capable of doing a fast-forward merge (that is, when the target stack hasn't changed since you last forked or merged it).

I still plan to support other types of merges, but I actually think fast-forward merging will cover the vast majority of scenarios. Most of the time, stacks are short-lived. You make a copy, upgrade some packages, and then build your app. If your tests fail, you probably throw the new stack away and stay with your current packages. If your tests pass, then you immediately merge the new stack back into the original.

This release also contains reset and revert commands that are similar (but not identical) to the same commands you find in git. All the new commands are experimental, so the interface and behavior are subject to change.

So I'm not calling the grant work "done" just yet. Once these new commands have been battle-tested a bit, then we'll see where things stand.

Dave Mitchell writes:

I spent about half my time last month continuing to work on fixing and refactoring the Perl_re_intuit_start() function, which is the main run-time optimisation facility in the regex engine.

My work so far was merged back into blead on 8th February; I've since done some more work which hasn't been pushed yet.

I also fixed a regression in maint-5.18 regarding whether a variable is seen in a regex that has a hash char class and an embedded newline, like

m{[#]
$foo}x

A side-effect of working on that led me to waste about 5 hours trying to get maint-5.18 to pass under clang/address-sanitiser. The failures appeared random, and bisecting showed that they were "fixed" in blead by a commit that should have made no difference; but cherry-picking that commit made the problem go away. It was also sensitive to re-compiles: touch, but don't change perl.h, and recompile, and the problem changed or went away. Eventually I decided it was probably a weird clang issue, and abandoned the effort.

The rest of my time was spent on a few miscellaneous issues, plus ploughing through my p5p mailbox.

Summary

5:10 RT #119125 /[#]/ and codeblocks in maint
35:14 RT#120692 Slow global pattern match with input from utf8
1:37 [perl #121230] process group kill on Win32 broken in 5.17.2
0:46 [perl #121336] valgrind errors in Perl_hv_iternext_flags
5:00 clang/asan weirdness on maint
1:00 fix locale.t spurious warning output
23:39 process p5p mailbox

72:26 Total (HH::MM)

4.0 weeks
72.4 total hours
18.1 average hours per week

As of 2014/02/28: since the beginning of the grant:

19.7 weeks
335.6 total hours
17.0 average hours per week

There are 64 hours left on the grant.

The Grants Committee got four grant proposals for this round. Before the Committee members vote, we would like to solicit feedback from the Perl community on these proposals.

Review the proposals below and please comment on each page. They are listed in the order in which they were received.

We have received the following grant application. Please leave feedback in the comments field by March 22nd, 2014.

Automated generation of DWIM Perl

  • Name:

    Gabor Szabo

  • Email:

    undisclosed

  • Amount Requested:

    $6,000

Synopsis

DWIM Perl is a "batteries included" Perl distribution for Microsoft Windows and for Linux. On Windows it is based on Strawberry Perl, on Linux it is compiled from the source released by the Perl 5 Porters. Both versions include a few hundred additional modules from CPAN.

The grant will enable me to further work on it, and specifically to finish automating the release of new versions.

Benefits to the Perl Community

DWIM Perl can make it much easier and faster for beginners to get started using Perl. It is useful both for people who would like to program in Perl, and for people who "just" want to run existing scripts or applications.

DWIM Perl makes it much easier and faster to set up a server running a Perl-based application. For example on a $5/month VPS. This reduces the advantage other languages might have in the area of deployment.

DWIM Perl can be the foundation of a "Perl Cloud", where people can develop on either a Windows or Linux based machine, and then easily deploy to a cheap VPS that has the same version of Perl with the same set of CPAN modules.

The grant will allow me to cerate a tool for automated releases and semi-automated upgrade of the parts. This will allow me (or anyone else) to easily create a new, up-to-date release of DWIM Perl.

It will also make it easy to create similar "batteries included" Perl distributions for the needs of companies, or open source projects using Perl.

Deliverables

  • A script that given a configuration file can build a DWIM Perl distribution for Linux and for Windows.
  • Configuration files ready to build DWIM Perl for Linux using 5.18.2, and for Windows using Strawberry 5.18.2.1.
  • A new release of DWIM Perl for Windows based on Strawberry Perl 5.18.2.1 using a scripted generation.
  • A new version of DWIM Perl for Linux based on 5.18.2
  • DWIM Perl for Linux based on 5.19.X.
  • Bug reports or even patches to modules that don't install cleanly.
  • All the source will be placed on GitHub.

The Windows version will be an installation process. The Linux version will be a tar.gz file to be unzipped.

Project Details

In order to get started using Perl with any reasonable modernity, people need to find and install hundreds of CPAN modules. This is an additional obstacle to getting started with Perl. Not only can it take hours to install all the required modules, there is always a chance that the current version of some of the modules on CPAN do not install cleanly. Several important CPAN modules require additional, non-perl packages. Locating and installing them can be additional issue.

Having a Perl distribution with "batteries included" means that newbies can download, install, and run. A lot less friction in getting started with Perl.

Each DWIM Perl distribution will include

The Windows version will also include wxPerl and Padre.

The Linux version will include Starman.

Inch-stones

On Linux, there is already a relatively good script, located at https://github.com/dwimperl/dwimperl-5-18-linux, but there are several modules that require external dependencies, that are not included.

In the Windows version, Strawberry already includes these "problematic" modules so the main thing that is missing is the automation.

For both versions the handling of the stable CPAN snapshot is missing.

  • Research how the CPAN snapshot should be handled: Options that should be checked are: Carton, Pinto
  • Do a "market research" asking people for lists of prerequisites they have in their Perl-based applications. Both open source and closed-source applications. This will provide valuable input as to what needs to be included in DWIM Perl.
  • Create a new release of both versions using a simple script, and with one module in the CPAN snapshot.

    The Linux script will be based on https://github.com/dwimperl/dwimperl-5-18-linux

  • Add tests that can be run post installation to verify the problematic modules work. (Mostly the ones that require external libraries.)

  • Write script to update the sh-bang lines of the perl scripts after relocation. (This might be submitted to p5p as well.)
  • Include DBD::mysql in Linux.
  • Include DBD::Pg in Linux.
  • Include POE in Linux.
  • Include PAR::Packer in Linux.
  • Include XML::Parser in Linux.

There will be several intermediate DWIM Perl releases, marking the finish of each inch-stone.

Project Schedule

I can start immediately after the grant is accepted on March 31, 2014. I expect the project to be done within 2-3 months.

Completeness Criteria

Assuming the evaluator has access to the right operating system (MS Windows or Linux) she will be able to run the build script and create a new version of DWIM Perl with minimal manual intervention.

Bio

I have created the DWIM Perl project in 2011, originally as a vehicle to distribute Padre, the Perl IDE on Windows. Later the Linux version was added in order make it easy to deploy Perl-based applications on Linux-based servers.

I have been using Perl since 1995 and teaching it since 2000. I am the original author of Padre, the Perl IDE. I am also the maintainer of a number of modules on CPAN https://metacpan.org/author/SZABGAB.

In addition, I run the Perl Weekly newsletter and the Perl Maven site.

About TPF

The Perl Foundation - supporting the Perl community since 2000. Find out more at www.perlfoundation.org.

Recent Comments

  • Karen Pauley: The Perl Foundation is a d.b.a. (doing business as) for read more
  • Olivier Mengué (DOLMEN): +1 Dave is doing amazing work that requires deep knowledge read more
  • Olivier Mengué (DOLMEN): The Amazon widget says that the donation will go to read more
  • Olivier Mengué (DOLMEN): Booking.com has been the host of two Perl QA Hackathons, read more
  • Ron Savage: I support granting this extension. read more
  • Steffen Mueller: Dave's work has been consistently outstanding. He's working well below read more
  • mirod: +1 read more
  • Makoto Nozaki: There was a question why the fourth proposal got 9 read more
  • Makoto Nozaki: Will, As you may know, the Grants Committee was unable read more
  • Makoto Nozaki: Will, Grants Committee representative will get in touch with you read more

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