What I want from the Perl 5 support policy

This is in response to chromatic’s post Writing Perl 5’s Support Policy

I want to be able to use the support policy as a reason to convince customers with lots of Perl installs that they need to update. A big part of this means an easy upgrade.

Probably most of the people using Perl 5 are in Unix. That makes it easier for you folks. On Windows installing Perl is no simple task, either ActivePerl or Strawberry Perl.

For example, at $work we use Apache/mod_perl. (I don’t wanna hear your “FastCGI! FastCGI! FastCGI!”, none of you people have actually helped me so far!) Let’s say I want to use the shiny new Perl 5.11. I install it. Awesome. Wait! mod_perl doesn’t work! Ok, reinstall that. Oh wait! All of my XS/compiled modules don’t work! etc etc. I understand the fact that Windows is a second class citizen here, but in Unix you probably have the same issue. You just made some kind of package to install it all at once or something. That’s great, but does it help me? Is updating really supported?

On a side note a point that my boss made when we discussed this issue is the fact that the community may not support Perl 5.8 in the future, but if companies will pay for it, ActiveState will probably support it. This is good for the customers and helps the community, so I’d say that’s really a win-win.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Take ‘em or leave ‘em.

Posted Thu, May 14, 2009