Twenty Years of Monthly CPAN Releases

I did it!

For the last twenty years I’ve uploaded at least one new release to CPAN every month. How do I know? Neil Bowers has been keeping track on his CPAN Regular Releasers page for quite some time. I’ve had the montly release quite a long time there.

The second place for monthly release streaks is Chris Williams (BINGOS), at 177 months, which is 14 years and 9 months. Also of note is Karen Etheridge (ETHER), who has maintained a weekly streak for 457 weeks (8+ years)!

So how did I do it? I cheated, of course.

One of the distributions I created and maintain is DateTime-TimeZone. This distribution contains the entire IANA time zone database as Perl data. So every time there’s a new database release I have to upload a new DateTime-TimeZone. This process is nearly entirely automated, consisting of just 3 commands if tests pass. I don’t have to code anything, I just update the Changes file.

I also had some help. Karen Etheridge contacted me to let me know I was about to miss a month this past June. That prompted me to do a release just in time. I also added a repeating to do item at the end of each month to check if I had done a release that month.

My First CPAN Releases

My first releases were actually under a different CPAN ID, “PGRIMES”, not “DROLSKY”. I got my start with the online world by dialing in to BBS’s way back in the 80s, using a 300 baud modem with my Commodore 64. At that time, no one used their real names a BBS. Instead, they used pseudonyms (mine was embarassingly childish and I’m not going to tell you what it was). I was so used to using pseudonyms that I continued to do so early on with the Internet (my first email address was grimes @ And I still do, to some degree. It’s why my email is “”, though “” works as well, and I use the latter in any professional context, like my resume.

So my first release was a logging module called Log::Handler. It’s the predecessor to Log-Dispatch, with a significantly worse design. I uploaded it to CPAN on December 31, 1998, according to BackPAN. That’s me partying in the New Year like usual.

But I quickly realized that using a pseudonym for this was a terrible idea. I would want to refer to my CPAN upload on my resume, and I wanted my name to be Googleable. So I switched over to my DROLSKY ID in 1999. My first upload under that account was a new Thesaurus release in September of 1999, followed soon after by my first release of Log-Dispatch in December of 1999.

My twenty year streak started with Alzabo 0.20 in January of 2001.

Twenty More Years?

Probably not.

The IANA time zone database has been getting less active over time. It’s only had four releases so far this year, whereas some past years have had over 10.

At the same time, I’m doing a lot less Perl nowadays. I still use it at work for scripting and quick tools, but the bulk of my team’s code is written in Go (cue rant about how annoying Go is).

And my personal projects lately have mostly been in Rust. It’s not because Rust is the absolute best fit for what I’ve been doing (though it’s good enough). Instead it’s because I wanted to challenge myself and learn something new. Rust is a ton of fun, and the community is great. I highly recommend checking it out.

But Perl is still my first love, and I still have many friends in both the Perl and Raku communities. That’s why I joined the board of The Perl Foundation. I want to do what I can to help the languages and communities stay healthy.

So I’ll be seeing you at the 2021 Perl and Raku Conference (almost certainly virtually) and I hope to see you in person at the 2022 conference.