The original Phalanx project, initiated by Andy Lester, aimed at improving the code, testing and documentation of important, non-core Perl modules on CPAN. A Perl Seminar NY team met in several sessions between January and June 2005 to "phalanx" CPAN distributions Text-Template and HTML-Template. We learned a tremendous amount about code maintenance and quality assurance -- and had a good time in our face-to-face collective hacking sessions. We reported on our efforts at YAPC::NA::2005 in Toronto.
In the last year-and-a-half the Phalanx project has largely been dormant. In part this was because the CPAN module authors on whose distributions the various Phalanx teams worked were not obliged to incorporate the teams' work into new versions of those CPAN distributions.
In that same time period, however, there has been more attention paid to the need to guarantee continued maintenance of CPAN distributions when their authors, due to changes in life circumstances, no longer can give them the maintenance attention they need. The Perl community appears to lack a central place where CPAN authors who need to transfer maintenance responsibilities for their distributions can hook up with potential new maintainers.
Rising from the ashes like the storied Phoenix, the Perl Seminar NY's Phalanx project will address this problem via mentored maintenance of CPAN modules conducted in collective hacking sessions. We seek to match up current CPAN authors/maintainers who need to transfer or share maintenance responsibilities with new CPAN participants who either can immediately assume maintenance or who can aim to do so when mentored by other current CPAN authors.
We are currently assembling a list of CPAN distributions whose authors are ready, willing and able to transfer or share maintenance responsibilities. Once we have that list, each participating Perl Seminar NY member will pick a module to work on and develop a plan of work for that module. We will discuss the plans of work face-to-face in collective hacking sessions conducted in a suitable location. When the collective feels the plan is viable, we'll ask the current author/maintainer to sign the participant on as co-maintainer or to transfer primary maintenance responsibility outright. The collective will then hold each participant to a high standard of quality in module maintenance. We would like to begin our F2F sessions in January 2007.
We're conceiving of Phalanx Phoenix primarily as a collective hacking experience, so we view the face-to-face sessions as very important -- and also as the most fun! But between sessions most of the work will be conducted online, so we don't want to exclude Perl hackers and would-be module maintainers who can't make our in-person sessions.
If you are a CPAN author who needs to share or transfer maintenance of a CPAN distribution, please email me (jkeen AT verizon DOT net) with the name of the distro. Thank you very much.