Rakudo Star 2012.04

2012-04-26

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 variable

  • '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 http://perl6.org/compilers/features 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 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. 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 perl6-compiler@perl.org mailing list, or join us on IRC #perl6 on freenode.

[0] https://github.com/rakudo/rakudo/blob/nom/docs/announce/2012.04.1 [1] http://github.com/rakudo/rakudo [2] http://parrot.org/