[Squeakfoundation]Re: FreePAN: an opportunity to share repositories!

Brian Ingerson squeakfoundation@lists.squeakfoundation.org
Tue, 24 Dec 2002 12:30:54 -0800

On 18/12/02 09:31 -0800, Ned Konz wrote:
> Last night I attended (and spoke at) the Seattle Perl User's Group 
> meeting. Also in attendance were Brian Ingerson and Michael Schwern 
> of Portland.
> Before the meeting, I had a chance to talk with Brian Ingerson (more 
> below). He's working on an interesting and relevant project.
> Anyway, one of the interesting ideas that came from this was from 
> Brian.
> He's working on an alternative to CPAN (the popular Perl 
> repository/mirror/registry system). I'll let him describe what he's 
> doing (I just sent him an invitation to join this list), but in 
> summary he's working on a repository/registry system with metadata. 
> Currently he's making it handle Perl and Ruby; there's some interest 
> in Python from Michael Schwern. Especially since we're also evolving 
> the SqueakMap system, it might be useful to talk with him about 
> joining SqueakMap with FreePAN in some way. This would provide a 
> single set of mirrored repositories covering all our languages, with 
> immediate exposure to the "scripting language" community.

Hi all. Brian Ingerson here. Thanks for inviting me to join the SqFd
mailing list, Ned. I'll give a quick intro of myself and FreePAN.

I have been heavily involved in the Perl community for the past 3 years.
The major contributions that I have made are Inline.pm:


And YAML.pm


Inline allows you to bind Perl to over 15 other programming languages.
YAML is a cross programming language serialization language that uses
plain text in an extremely human friendly way. These projects are neat
in their own right, but what I find even more interesting is that they
bring different programming languages into a more cooperative
environment. And that turns me on!

This summer, (now my roommate) Michael Schwern and I were speaking at
the O'Reilly Open Source Conference. We got to talking about the
possibility of putting Python modules on Perl's CPAN. If you don't what
CPAN is (cpan.org), it's basically the thing that makes Perl (a
relatively non elegant language in its own right) such a powerhouse of a
scripting language. It's a worldwide mirrored collection of over 3000
extensions complete with documentation and a common installation

We thought it would be nice to extend the resource to Python and Ruby,
which are excellent languages but are just painfully behind in this
regard. At first people (admittedly drunk ;) were agreeable to the idea.
I'm talking about the people who run CPAN, who were also at the

Then in November I went to the Ruby conference and ended up promising
their community that I would help get them on CPAN. When I told the CPAN
people about it, they decided it wasn't what they wanted to do. So
that's when I started the FreePAN project.

FreePAN is a mirrored content archive for any software whose source code
is freely distributable. It is organized by programming language and is
cross-indexed by key fields. It has a consistent set of metadata for
every component, including the license which that software is under.

The best way to describe it is to go to http://www.freepan.org

I just got this site up yesterday. It has about 50% of all the known
Ruby modules. I want to start adding other languages soon. I put Squeak
as one of the languages because I'm hopeful that we can do something
interesting here. The key missing piece is an author registration and
upload facility.

The effort is very collaborative. People have already started showing up
on irc and asking if they could help. To which I'm very grateful. Plenty
of work to do. I am currently looking for a Squeak Content Manager.
Someone to make sure Squeak is well represented. Anybody interested?

Cheers, Brian