portupgrade to Perl 5.10.0 ??

Jeremy Chadwick koitsu at FreeBSD.org
Sat Jul 12 09:26:58 UTC 2008

On Sat, Jul 12, 2008 at 02:29:06AM -0700, David Southwell wrote:
> Here is a full and verbatim copy of my original posting that started this 
> thread.
> _________________________________________________________________
> Subject: portupgrade to Perl 5.10.0 ??
>  From: David Southwell <david at vizion2000.net>
>  To: freebsd-ports at freebsd.org
> Hi
> Just wondered when an upgrade to 5.10.0 could be expected.
> David
> ___________________________________________
> Are you seriously telling me you "understand" something "between the lines" in 
> that?
> Come on -- smile a little...and I hope you will find a more constructive & 
> creative use for magination than that!!!
> I do not think it is unreasonable to say the original posting was straight 
> forward and certainly cast no aspersions. The same thing cannot be said of 
> some responses. 

You simply want to know if the perl port being upgraded to 5.10 is in
the works, and if there's any idea of when it will be completed.  I
think this is a reasonable request, open-source project or otherwise.

> I wonder whether someone could endeavour to answer the original question 
> constructively rather than defensively.

I'm not responsible for the perl port, so I can't speak for tobez at .

If you're a generic developer who uses perl, and 5.10 offers you fixes
or features you need, I can see how you might think the upgrade is
simple.  But I can tell you that upgrading perl is one of those
"sensitive" things from a system administrator's perspective.

The thing with perl is that the language has a history of minor
revisions inducing "customer chaos" -- that is to say, you upgrade from
5.4 to 5.8 and suddenly you have a bunch of users filling your mailbox
with "My script doesn't work any more!!! What did you do?" and "Why
exactly did you upgrade to 5.8?  The memory footprint is larger, and
it's breaking on this third-party module I use, please revert..."
Believe me, this actually happens, and I have witnessed it on multiple
occasions at past jobs.

Let's not forget that perl is a very large piece of the ports tree.
There are 3150 ports that start with "p5-".  What guarantee is there
that every one works with 5.10?  Sure, it's a matter of trial and error
and waiting for users to submit PRs informing maintainers which piece
doesn't work with 5.10, but that takes time -- time that one FreeBSD
user may have, but another does not.

Then there's the whole dependency thing.  perl in recent days has been
adding more and more modules to the base perl distribution; what used to
be an add-on module is now included with perl, so ports have to be
updated to be aware of that fact.

When such a commit (e.g. 5.8 --> 5.10) hits the tree, users and ports
maintainers will have to race to see what works and what doesn't.

I'm not trying to justify what other people have told you, but you need
to keep in mind that changes to the perl port can have dire
repercussions -- treading lightly is an absolute necessity.

Does this inadvertently answer your questions?  :-)

| Jeremy Chadwick                                jdc at parodius.com |
| Parodius Networking                       http://www.parodius.com/ |
| UNIX Systems Administrator                  Mountain View, CA, USA |
| Making life hard for others since 1977.              PGP: 4BD6C0CB |

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