How to get Rakudo Perl 6

Table of Contents


Some grossly over-simplified definitions:

  • Perl 6 is a language specification.
  • Rakudo is a compiler for Perl 6.
  • Rakudo Star (or Rakudo *) is a distribution that contains the Rakudo compiler, documentation and some useful modules.
  • MoarVM and JVM are Process Virtual Machines. They provide an interface between the compiler and the underlying operating system or machine. If you don’t know which to choose, try MoarVM first. You can always switch to the JVM if MoarVM doesn’t suit your needs.

Installing Rakudo Star

If you just want to install and use Perl 6 with some documentation and a selection of useful modules, then this section is for you. If you are a developer looking to hack on the compiler internals then please see Installing Rakudo, below.


Windows Installer packages are available as MSI files here:

As of the 2015.02 version, the MSI installs Rakudo Star with MoarVM under C:\rakudo\. The executable files can be found under C:\rakudo\bin\, and a shortcut will be placed under your menu.


Because of a not yet implemented POSIX interface in cygwin (specifically pthread_barrier needed by libuv, see, Rakudo can not yet be compiled on that environment. You can use the regular Windows build, however. Just use /cygdrive/c/rakudo/bin/perl6.bat as the perl6 executable.


Rakudo Star is available from Homebrew, and Rakudo from MacPorts. If you want to check the version before installing:

brew info rakudo-star

To install:

brew install rakudo-star

And on MacPorts (Rakudo only):

sudo port install rakudo

Linux & Unix-like operating systems

Your distribution’s package manager is often the easiest way to install applications, and Rakudo Star is available as a package for some distributions. With that said, Rakudo is still under very active development, so many packages will be out-of-date very quickly. It is highly recommended that you install from source. If you really want to install from a package, check your package manager for rakudo or rakudo-star packages. Otherwise, please see the Building from source section, below.

Building from source

The simplest way to install from source on Unix-like operating systems is to use rakudobrew. See the rakudobrew section, below, for more information. If rakudobrew is not flexible enough for you, see the Manual installation section, below, for more information.


To install Rakudo Star from source you’ll need Perl 5.8 or newer, git, make and gcc. We can’t provide in-depth details for how to install these, but many distributions provide package groups that install common build tools. Here are examples for some popular Linux distributions:

Debian / Ubuntu
apt-get install build-essential git
Red Hat / CentOS / Fedora
yum install git
yum groupinstall 'Development Tools'

On CentOS 7 (and perhaps other versions too), Perl 5 autodie must be installed too:

yum install perl-autodie


rakudobrew is a tiny script that aims to make installing Rakudo from source a little bit easier. Don’t expect all the features of Perlbrew. The following commands install rakudobrew, Rakudo and Panda.

To install rakudobrew on Linux:

git clone ~/.rakudobrew
echo 'export PATH=~/.rakudobrew/bin:$PATH' >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

To install rakudobrew on OS X:

git clone ~/.rakudobrew
echo 'export PATH=~/.rakudobrew/bin:$PATH' >> ~/.bash_profile
source ~/.bash_profile

To install Rakudo and Panda using rakudobrew:

rakudobrew build moar
rakudobrew build panda

Finally, install Task::Star. This will install all the modules that are shipped with the Rakudo Star Perl 6 distribution:

panda install Task::Star

Manual installation

If rakudobrew is not flexible enough for you, you might want to consider manually installing from source. The exact steps required may differ depending on your operating system, but these instructions should be enough to get you started. This example uses Rakudo Star 2015.02, but development is progressing quickly, so please be sure to check for the latest version. You should consult the README file contained in the tarball for more up-to-date and detailed information.

mkdir ~/rakudo && cd $_
curl -O
tar -xvzf rakudo-star-2015.02.tar.gz
cd rakudo-star-2015.02/

perl --backend=moar --gen-moar

# Running the tests is optional, but advised:
make rakudo-test
make rakudo-spectest

make install

echo "export PATH=$(pwd)/install/bin/:\$PATH" >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

Installing Rakudo

If you are a developer looking to hack on the compiler internals, then this is the section for you. Rakudo is the compiler, and it does not contain the documentation or modules found in Rakudo Star. If you just want to install and use Perl 6 with some documentation and a selection of useful modules, then please see Installing Rakudo Star, above.


To install Rakudo from source you’ll need Perl 5.10 or newer, git, make and gcc.

Manual installation

Since Rakudo is under rapid development, potential developers should download Rakudo directly from GitHub and build from there:

git clone git://

To install Rakudo to run on MoarVM:

cd rakudo
perl --gen-moar --gen-nqp --backends=moar
make install

For more detailed and up-to-date information, please refer to the file. This contains information about additional configuration options, including installing for use on the JVM, and with multiple backends.

Using Rakudo

To run a Perl 6 program with Rakudo, include the install directory in your system PATH variable and issue a command like:


If the Rakudo compiler is invoked without an explicit script to run, it enters a small interactive mode that allows Perl 6 statements to be executed from the command line. Each line entered is treated as a separate compilation unit, which means that subroutines are preserved after they are defined, but variables are not.

17 Responses to How to get Rakudo Perl 6

  1. Is there a Debian/Ubuntu package?


  2. Pingback: Perl 6: My first script « Programming notes

  3. But really, no debian/ubuntu package? I thought debian/ubuntu *are* the most popular Linux distributives, aren’t they?

  4. crackcell says:

    wired, no deb package.

  5. Rakudo packages are now available on Debian unstable. I’ve ironed out the last issue with i386 yesterday :-p

    See this announce for some more details.

    All the best

  6. Jeremiah says:

    There is now! The rakudo package and parrot are both packaged for Debian. If you are running Debian testing, code named wheezy, you can just do an apt-get install rakudo. If you’re running Debian stable, you’ll have to download rakudo as a deb and install it.

  7. Ravido says:

    WTF ? What is Rakudo? I was on ?!
    I just clicked on the download button!?
    Well, after the Fisher Price designed Home page with Butterflie,
    I was expecting a User friendly download page with:
    Windows Xp, Vista,7 : Perl6 x86.msi ; Perl6 x86-64.msi
    Debian, Ubuntu : Perl6.deb
    >>Then after the install, I would have clic on the Perl6 icone on my Desktop, et voilà!
    No, I’m told to compile… and blablabla…
    “The only requirement is that you know how to be nice to all kinds of people (and butterflies).”>>> LOL!!! except the beginners under Ubuntu or Windows!

    • F says:

      I must agree with you. Having a 1-click installation and usage access under windows, should not be to much to ask for. This is 2012. I do not mean to be “un-nice” to no-one. But, it should be recognized to be of VERY EXTREMELY very very (extremely) high interest to the perl 6 development that millions of users started using rakudo on their pc’s. Thanks for your work p6 developers. F

  8. j.d. laub says:

    It’s sad some folks don’t understand what “be nice (to volunteers)” means. A little bit of offset to the negative vibe:

    Thank you, Rakudo team. Your directions were clear, and nearly perfect. (The “Running the test suite” section above is slightly outdated, in a minor way.) For some reason, during the install, my perl5.8.5 seemed to silently no-op the chmod of install/bin/perl6 (while perl5.8.3 worked fine); I’ll try to dig into that in a bit. But with little pain, I was able to get a HelloWorld to run, and am getting psyched to start using Perl6 for more than just playing. Nice work!

  9. m6locks says:

    All you Debian/Ubuntu people check this out:

  10. Rajeev Jha says:

    Here are the instructions for building on mac osx lion
    create a new dir, say nuke and cd to it (xcode should be installed)
    2) tar -zxvf rakudo-star-2011.07.tar.gz
    3)cd rakudo-star-2011.07
    4)perl –gen-parrot
    6)make install
    Run perl6 from

    works like a charm ;o)

  11. Steve Lane says:

    This is awesome!

    On a Debian Stable machine, I did:

    root@debianbox> apt-get install rakudo parrot/testing parrot-minimal/testing parrot-devel/testing

    and it Just Worked.

    Thanks very much!

  12. pflory says:

    Cool. Installed without any problems on Mac OS X, 10.7.2, on Feb 18, 2012
    using the instructions provided:

    $ cd rakudo
    $ perl –gen-parrot
    $ make
    $ make install
    $ make test


  13. irfan says:

    Run rakodu on Mac OS X version 10.7.3


    perl –prefix= –gen-nqp –gen-parrot

    * option enable choice of path where you want to push the binaries of perl6
    It will avoid clash with existing Perl version running in system
    After command executed successfully check prefix dir, it should show following dir’s
    drwxr-xr-x 3 root staff 102 Apr 29 23:06 share
    drwxr-xr-x 3 root staff 102 Apr 29 23:06 include
    drwxr-xr-x 6 root staff 204 Apr 29 23:06 lib
    drwxr-xr-x 3 root staff 102 Apr 29 23:06 src
    drwxr-xr-x 14 root staff 476 Apr 29 23:08 bin


    make rakudo-test

    All tests successful.
    Files=23, Tests=227, 15 wallclock secs ( 0.09 usr 0.06 sys + 11.54 cusr 2.86 csys = 14.55 CPU)
    Result: PASS

    make rakudo-spectest

    make install

  14. Crisewng says:

    hey everybody
    when i install rakudo alway display this information .
    my system is mac os x 10.7.4
    gcc version is: i686-apple-darwin10-gcc-4.2.1
    gmake version is :Built for x86_64-apple-darwin11.3.0
    perl version is :v5.12.4 ,

    i really need your help .thanks a lot .

    current instr.: ‘compile_file’ pc 1466 (tools/dev/pbc_to_exe.pir:465)
    called from Sub ‘main’ pc 230 (tools/dev/pbc_to_exe.pir:74)
    gmake: *** [parrot-nqp] 错误 1
    Command failed (status 512): gmake install-dev

  15. Patrick Lauer says:

    And of course there are packages for gentoo:

    Have fun :)

Leave a Reply