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Damian Conway's diary

by jmcnamara (Monsignor)
on Oct 07, 2002 at 09:27 UTC ( #203274=perlnews: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Damian Conway's latest diary entry has also been marked as his last.

Read it to see what what he plans to do next.


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Re: Damian Conway's diary
by princepawn (Parson) on Oct 07, 2002 at 17:34 UTC
    That means that for the rest of 2002 I will not be reading or contributing to Perl mailing lists or newsgroups, will not be maintaining my numerous CPAN modules, will not be travelling or speaking, and will not even be regularly reading my (Perl-specific) email. In fact, the only Perl-related activities I'll still be undertaking will be those related to the Perl 6 design work (that is, I'll continue to help Larry and the design team, and to write the Exegeses for the Apocalypses).

    My reactions to this:

    1. Wow, he must really be burned out!
    2. By not being a part of many Perl discussion channels, his ability to design will lack community input won't it?
    3. Was it necessary for him to travel around? Could he have not discussed language issues via email?
    4. What if there is a bug with one his modules?

    I am just brainstorming here, but I certainly had a strong reaction to this paragraph and thought I would share my thoughts.

      This is what struck me as most significant.

      I'll be doing my best to recover from the stresses of the past 21 months, and to plan and develop my training business, and -- most importantly -- to spend as much time as I possibly can with my beloved wife.

      Dr. Conway has spent almost two years with limited contact with his wife. He has given far more to the Perl community than he has taken. I thoroughly applaud his decision to spend time on what's really important -- himself and his family. We work to live, not live to work.

      As for discussing language issues via email, I don't think he would have been as productive. Nothing can possibly match the dynamics of a face-to-face conversation. While it is sometimes necessary to communicate remotely, this should not be done for extensive work and brainstorming. Email gets delayed, context is misunderstood, assumptions are made and, for lack of time, are not clarified. I can't even begin to guess how many times I've had to follow up on some electronic communication with a either a clarification, or worse, a fire extinguisher to quench the unanticipated flames.

      And to Dr. Conway: thank you for all of the work you have done.


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      1. You have no idea. Trust me--if you did, you wouldn't have to say this. Travel is immensely exhausting, and deceptively so, as well. The first flight or two will pretty much blow out your reserves (so if this is all you do you probably won't notice), and it's all downhill from there.
      2. Maybe a little, but not much. Damian's talked with a lot of people, and I think it's safe to say he knows what's needed and what's being asked for. The final design is Larry's call, of course, so it's up to Larry to process the feedback on the various apocalypses. (Besides, it's only three months--how many apocalypses do you really expect in that time? :)
      3. Yes, it was. That was part of the deal with the grant. 25% of it was dedicated to travel and community building, and you just can't do that via e-mail. With Damian not working for the university, he also had to find alternate means of making a living to fill in the gaps left by taking the grant, and that means doing training, which means a lot of travel, both because of the tight training market and him being based in Australia. I'm pretty sure his grant ultimately didn't come close to covering his travel, either, so a lot of his public dates were covered out of pocket.
      4. Offer to take the module off his hands. Some have been handed off already, and it wouldn't surprise me if he'd be willing to pass off more to other folks. That mail might get read :)
      What if there is a bug with one his modules?
      Yeah, so what? Did you have him sign a contract that he will give prompt support to modules he has released? I don't think so. If you find a bug, fix it. Release a patch. Volunteer to take over maintainance of said module - he's been asking for maintainers of his modules since at least YAPC::NA 2002.

      In that case you contribute a lot more than suggesting the world is coming to an end if Damian takes a 3 month break.


      I'm not sure if it sounds like he's burned out. But, it does seem like he's been quite busy and would like to take a break. I can't blame him - looking at his list that he's accomplished in a year and a half - WOW. I don't think most people have done half as much. Plus, looking at the bottom of that list - you can see how long he's been away from his family. How can you blame the guy for wanting to take some time with his family, when it's clear that he's made certain choices and sacrifices to accomplish as much as he did.
      That means that for the rest of 2002

      Panic not. That is only a couple of months.

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