By Sébastien Aperghis-Tramoni
The CPAN Testers platform has grown up so much in the recent months that some module authors began to publicly badmouth it or some of its maintainers, because they received more FAIL reports than previously. The situation lightened a little with the recent introduction of Barbie's "CPAN Testers Daily Report". This probably still won't be enough and some authors will still be angry. But keep in mind that for one angry author, there are plenty of happy authors.
One of them is Ton Voon, maintainer of the Nagios::Plugin module. He recently posted on the Nagios plugins blog to recount how the CPAN Testers were very useful to him for spotting a hard-to-find bug, which only occurs when the test is ran with Test::More 0.86. This is typically something very hard to find for the maintainer of a module, because he naturally searches the bug in his own code, not in the modules he uses. Especially when the module is as trusted and tested as Test::More.
This is exactly what CPAN Testers offer: a platform for testing code on more operating systems than the average developer has access to, with more variations of Perl versions than the average sysadmin is willing to install. This is a very good argument to convince co-worker to contribute generic Perl code from $work (or free software written in Perl) on the CPAN: they benefit from a testing platform that they couldn't create at $work, and the Perl users benefit with more useful code. Everybody's winning. And when trying to convince them, there isn't a better way than a tool that graphically summarise the reports as Slaven Rezic's CPAN Testers Matrix does. It sure needs some polishing (and a shorter URL!), but this tool is extremely useful when a module author has to crawl through too many reports.
I think I can speak for Ton Voon and all the happy module authors: to all the CPAN Testers, thank you. We value your reports, you are useful to us.
Sébastien Aperghis-Tramoni is a system administrator and Perl expert at France Telecom Orange, in France, and maintains several CPAN modules. At Orange, Perl is the language of choice for writing all the backend and monitoring programs that make the stuff work.