Announce: Rakudo Star Release 2015.06

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 June 2015 release of “Rakudo Star”, a useful and usable
distribution of Perl 6. The tarball for the June 2015 release is
available from http://rakudo.org/downloads/star/.

This Rakudo Star release comes with support for the MoarVM
backend (all module tests pass on supported platforms).

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 2015.06 of the
Rakudo Perl 6 compiler, version 2015.06 of MoarVM, plus various
modules, documentation, and other resources collected from the
Perl 6 community.

Other Rakudo Perl 6 Comiler changes included in this release:
https://github.com/rakudo/rakudo/blob/nom/docs/announce/2015.04.md
https://github.com/rakudo/rakudo/blob/nom/docs/announce/2015.05.md
https://github.com/rakudo/rakudo/blob/nom/docs/announce/2015.06.md

Some of the new compiler features added to this release include:

  • “0” (0 as a string) is now True, no special-casing anymore
  • an Int() coercion type in a multi now creates two candidates: Any and Int
  • native arrays
  • starts-with/substr-eq/ends-with for comparing strings inside other strings
  • where constraints on variable and attribute declarations
  • ‘is rw’ parameters implemented for native subs (they get passed as a pointer)
  • use Foo:from<Perl5> and EVAL $code, :lang<perl5> are now supported as long as Inline::Perl5 is installed. Allows passing most of S01 spec tests.
  • NFG, NFC, NFD, Uni
  • “unit” declaration needed for blockless packages
  • Various API changes for the Great List Refactor, such as…
    •   ‘for’ loops not longer flatten; use ‘for flat’ for that
    •   .map no longer flattens, map as a listop does. Use .flatmap to get the old behavior
    •   Likewise other methods that used to flatten their invocant no longer do: all, any, one, none, unique, squish, min, max, minmax, classify, and categorize
    •   Nil no longer iterates like the empty List. Use () or Empty instead.
  • .pick($n)/roll($n) now always return lists, even when $n == 1
  • The “is cached” trait no longer works on methods, throws a NYI instead
  • Method .map should be used instead of .for
  • The REPL is strict by default now, that leaves only ‘-e’ lines to be lax
  • Implement new @*INC handling (about 30% faster startup time) (bare startup time is now below 100 ms on some machines)
  • Implemented CUnions which map to the union C type definition for NativeCall
  • Implemented HAS declarator for attributes to mark it embedded into the CStruct or CUnion
  • Lexical pragma ‘use trace’ now outputs statements on STDERR

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:

  •  advanced macros
  •  non-blocking I/O (in progress)
  •  much of Synopsis 9 and 11

There is an online resource at http://perl6.org/compilers/features
that lists the known implemented and missing features of Rakudo’s
backends 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 rakudobug@perl.org.

See http://perl6.org/ for links to much more information about
Perl 6, including documentation, example code, tutorials, reference
materials, specification documents, and other supporting resources. A
draft of a Perl 6 book is available as docs/UsingPerl6-draft.pdf 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
http://rakudo.org/how-to-help, ask on the perl6-compiler@perl.org
mailing list, or join us on IRC #perl6 on freenode.

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