Diversification in bug tracking has come to the CPAN. Module users
cannot assume that the bug tracker for an individual module is at
[rt.cpan.org](http://rt.cpan.org). Before submitting bug reports,
users should check the distribution’s page on
[search.cpan.org](http://search.cpan.org) for a link to the bug
tracker, and also check the documentation for the module. When in
doubt, go with the documentation.
It used to be simpler….
Over ten years ago, when CPAN only had a few thousand distributions,
and free project hosting was [Sourceforge](http://sourceforge.net/) or nothing, [Jesse Vincent](http://www.fsck.com/)
stepped up to create rt.cpan.org. It was, and is, a fantastic
service. Module authors now had free, centralized bug reporting
that they didn’t have to maintain themselves.
Jesse’s RT setup also has the advantage of integrating with PAUSE
and the CPAN. CPAN is the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network, and
PAUSE is the Perl Author Upload Server. When a module author has
a distribution for release, she uploads the file to PAUSE. From
there, the servers that make up the network part of CPAN mirror the
file for your use. Jesse set up RT to check the PAUSE for new
distributions, and when one was found, RT would automatically create
a bug queue for that module. It’s still a fantastic system, and we
should all thank Jesse for maintaining it.
For years, the Perl community has been enjoying the fruits of
rt.cpan.org. It’s become part of Perl culture. The home page for
each module on [search.cpan.org](http://search.cpan.org) includes
links to the RT page. When authors create modules with
[Module::Starter](http://search.cpan.org/dist/Module-Starter), the
module’s documentation refers the reader to the specific bug queue.
People just knew that it was there. Everyone knew you could email
to `bug-distro-name@rt.cpan.org` to have a bug reported.
But RT has never been the the only bug tracker available, and the
alternatives are getting more and more use. SourceForge has had bug
tracking for quite a while, but when Google Code came out with
project hosting and bug tracking, things started changing. Now,
[Github](http://github.com) has taken the Perl world by storm. For
the first time ever, we module authors had solid alternatives to
RT that we didn’t have to create ourselves.
That leads us to today, where the Perl world is continuing to
diversify. Module authors can choose the bug tracking system that
suits them, and their users, best. That system may no longer be
RT.
# Which bug trackers are getting used?
When I checked last week, I found 106 distributions that were using
bug trackers other than RT, spread across 10 different domains.
For example:
* http://code.google.com/p/perldts/issues/list
* http://github.com/ap/Object-Tiny-Lvalue/issues
* https://gna.org/bugs/?group=testautobuild
* http://sdlperl.ath.cx/projects/SDLPerl
* https://issues.apache.org/SpamAssassin/
* http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?group_id=199719
* http://padre.perlide.org/trac/
* http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/
* https://openmelody.lighthouseapp.com/projects/26604-melody
* http://www.veripool.org/ipc-locker-bugs
I was surprised the number of distributions was only 106. I suspect
that there are many module authors who don’t know how to specify
an alternate bug tracker in their distributions. In my next article,
I’ll explain how to do that.