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The PAUSE Permissions Model

App::PAUSE::CheckPerms - 2013-12-08

PAUSE has a permissions model that is defined in terms of modules and not distributions. It controls who can release what modules onto CPAN. Actually, that's not quite true, but it's a good enough approximation to get started with.

Uploading a new module

If you upload a new module to CPAN, you become the owner of that module. From that point forward only you can upload that module, unless you give someone co-maint permissions for your module.

If you upload a new dist that contains multiple new modules, then you're given ownership for each module.

When you upload a dist to PAUSE, you get two emails back. The first tells you whether the dist was successfully uploaded to your author's directory. PAUSE then checks whether you have upload permissions for every module. If you don't, the second email will identify the offending modules, and the dist won't be indexed. search.cpan.org flags such uploads as an ** UNAUTHORIZED RELEASE **.


PAUSE holds all information about users, modules, releases, permissions, and more, in a database. Some of this information is dumped into text files by hourly cronjobs; these files are distributed on CPAN.

The permissions data is written to 06perms.txt. The body of this file is a CSV, with triples that give module name, PAUSE id, and permission.

 % grep Module::Path, 06perms.txt

The 'f' permission ('first come') says that I was the first person to upload the module, so I'm the owner.

I recently took over maintenance of enum from ZENIN, and was granted co-maintenance by the PAUSE admins (with ZENIN's blessing):

 % grep ^enum, 06perms.txt

The 'm' permission against ZENIN says that he registered it on the module list. Within PAUSE, ZENIN also has the 'f' permission, but 'm' takes precedence, so that's what's listed.

PAUSE::Permissions gives a simple interface to 06perms.txt, letting you iterate over it either line-by-line, or by module.


If you have co-maint permissions for a module, you can upload a new version onto CPAN, but you can't grant co-maint permissions to anyone else. Only the owner can do that.

In 06perms.txt, co-maint is indicated with a 'c'. There are a small number of modules that have both 'm' and 'f' permissions, for different users. As noted above, the 'm' takes precedence, and the user with 'f' is treated as a co-maint.

Deleting dists

You can only delete dists that you uploaded. Even if you're the owner, you can't delete dists uploaded by someone with co-maint permission(s) (remember: the permissions model relates to modules, not dists).

If you upload a dist containing one new module, and later delete the dist (via PAUSE), then the module won't exist on CPAN, but you'll have an 'f' permission, and no-one will be able to use that namespace. This can be an issue if you refactor a dist, and change some class names.

You can release the permissions via the PAUSE web interface ("Change Permissions"), either by transferring them to another PAUSE user, or relinquishing them, which means anyone could then use that module name.

Watch out for inconsistent permissions

Let's say you upload a dist containing a number of modules. You'll be owner ('f' permission) for all modules. Later, you grant co-maint permissions to a couple of friends, giving them 'c' permissions for all modules. You take it in turns to do releases, using a shared GitHub repo.

If one of your friends adds a new module, (s)he will be given ownership of that module ('f'irst come), and the rest of you won't have permissions. If you subsequently try to release a version of the dist, it will fail the indexing stage, because you don't have permission for one of the modules in the dist. When someone adds a new class, they need to remember to give co-maint permissions to everyone else (using the PAUSE web interface).

Check your dists!

If you install App::PAUSE::CheckPerms, you'll get a script which will check the permissions consistency of all your dists. For example, if you run:

 % pause-checkperms --user DOY

you'll see a number of dists listed, including:

   Resource::Pack              | doy STEVAN
   Resource::Pack::Dir         | doy STEVAN
   Resource::Pack::File        | doy STEVAN
   Resource::Pack::FromFile    | DOY
   Resource::Pack::Installable | DOY
   Resource::Pack::Resource    | DOY
   Resource::Pack::URL         | doy STEVAN

The owner of a module is indicated by an UPPER CASE pause id. A lower-case pause id signifies co-maint. In this example, STEVAN couldn't release the dist, and neither DOY nor STEVAN could grant co-maint to a third party on their own.

The comaint script that comes with App::PAUSE::Comaint can be used to give co-maint permissions on the command-line.

See Also

Gravatar Image This article contributed by: Neil Bowers <neil@bowers.com>