the perl foundation

This morning, Adam wrote his faux pitch to become TPF President. There were a decent number of replies, many of which were on the order of, “We actually don’t need to raise more money” or “people don’t actually want Perl certification.” The problem is that his “platform” outshone what I think is a real issue: TPF still seems like a black box.

Well, Ovid is right: the organization has become more accountable, since Bill took over. The blog is great; for some time I thought it was abandoned, but it turned out that the feed URL had changed and I had missed out on lots of news.

I’m really glad that Ovid is doing such a boss job with the grants committee. The biggest concern about TPF – at least for me and the people I heard from – used to be that nobody knew what the hell happened with grants. Money would get assigned, and we’d find out, and then it was like a big black hole. Maybe we’d see something delivered, or maybe the grant would become something not brought up in polite conversation. Now we’re seeing reports about how projects are going. They’re such a nice bit of feedback that I almost want to see a grant project fail so I can see whether we also get feedback on that. Almost.

Also on the blog, Jim Brandt (who, by the way, totally rules) has made some posts about upcoming conferences (and conferences in general). Andy Lester has kept us up to date on his response to some loose (but sometimes accurate) talk about Perl security problems. Ask Bjoern Hansen posted a request for help in maintaining the various Perl mailing lists.

Interestingly, Ask’s post is the only one that actually asks for help. I’m a bit tickled by his lead-in: “If you have been wondering how you can help out, here is one way.” brian d foy said: “People don’t not participate because they don’t have a way to give money.”

Ok, I’m quoting him a bit out of context, but the quote leads to (in my opinion) one of the remaining “black box” issues with TPF. Under “Get Involved” on, there are three links: Want to Help?, Make a Donation, and Fund Drive Status. Well, the second two are clear: they’re links on how to give TPF money. What’s the first one? To me, it reads like “either go help somebody else who can use you, or give us money.”

That is: join a Perl Mongers group, go to YAPC, write some Perl code, populate a Perl-related website, or send TPF money. This reads, to me, like, “You can help TPF by giving money, or you can help Perl in other ways.” Why can’t the average Joe help TPF in other ways than with money? With, say, volunteer labor.

There might be very good reasons! TPF might not actually be responsible for anything that can use extra random lackeys. What exactly does TPF do? Well, the home page says they coordinate a number of groups and hold the copyright on Perl 6 and Parrot. They also do stuff to promote Perl. What kind of stuff? I’m not sure, but because Ovid and Jim totally rule, I know that it includes grants and conferences. Ask’s post implies that TPF is in some way related to the operation of

I think that TPF is getting a lot better at being an open organization, and that’s important. Geeks like us are likely to be suspcious of any group that won’t tell us what it does and resentful of any group that wants our money for unclear purposes.

Hopefully future revisions of TPF’s public web page can more explicitly define its duties. It’d also be nice to see some more general “Perl Foundation news” posts, telling us how it’s doing with its internal goals – like the post Bill first made. Even seeing a post like that once a quarter would be great. If we know just what TPF really does, and we know how each of its subtasks (grants, conferences, etc.) is going, and we know how TPF itself is going, I think we know everything we need to know.

Without being armed with that information, I can’t hope to guess what kind of changes TPF might need – quite likely, I’d find it wouldn’t need any.

Written on March 29, 2006
🐪 perl