Announce: Rakudo Star 2012.04 – a useful, usable, “early adopter” distribution of Perl 6

On behalf of the Rakudo and Perl 6 development teams, I’m happy to
announce the April 2012 release of “Rakudo Star”, a useful and
usable distribution of Perl 6. The tarball for the April 2012
release is available from github.

In the Perl 6 world, we make a distinction between the language
(“Perl 6”) and specific implementations of the language such as
“Rakudo Perl”. This Star release includes release 2012.04.1 [0] of the
Rakudo Perl 6 compiler [1], version 4.3 of the Parrot Virtual
Machine [2], and various modules, documentation, and other
resources collected from the Perl 6 community.

Here are some of the major improvements in this release over the
previous distribution release.

* much improved startup time

* much more robust module precompilation

* autovivification for arrays and hashes is implemented again

* many phasers like PRE, POST and REDO are now implemented

* improved support for calling C functions and modelling structs and arrays
via NativeCall.pm6

* now includes modules URI, LWP::Simple, jsonrpc and Bailador (a Perl 6 port
of Dancer)

This release also contains a range of bug fixes, improvements to error
reporting and better failure modes. Many more exceptions are thrown
as typed exceptions.

Some notable incompatible changes from the previous release include

* the ‘lib’ directory is not included in the default module search path
anymore. You can manipulate the search path with the PERL6LIB environment

* ‘defined’ used to be a prefix operator, and is now a regular subroutine.
This means you must updated code that relies ‘defined’ taking only one
argument. For example ‘defined $x ?? $a !! $b’ should be written as
‘$x.defined ?? $a !! $b’ or ‘defined($x) ?? $a !! $b’.

There are some key features of Perl 6 that Rakudo Star does not
yet handle appropriately, although they will appear in upcoming
releases. Some of the not-quite-there features include:
* pack and unpack
* macros
* threads and concurrency
* Unicode strings at levels other than codepoints
* interactive readline that understands Unicode
* non-blocking I/O
* much of Synopsis 9

There is a new online resource at
that lists the known implemented and missing features of Rakudo Star
2012.04 and other Perl 6 implementations.

In many places we’ve tried to make Rakudo smart enough to inform the
programmer that a given feature isn’t implemented, but there are
many that we’ve missed. Bug reports about missing and broken
features are welcomed at.

See for links to much more information about
Perl 6, including documentation, example code, tutorials, reference
materials, specification documents, and other supporting resources.
An updated draft of a Perl 6 book is available as
in the release tarball.

The development team thanks all of the contributors and sponsors
for making Rakudo Star possible. If you would like to contribute,
see , ask on the
mailing list, or join us on IRC #perl6 on freenode.


About moritz

Just another Perl 6 hacker
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