Announce: Rakudo Perl 6 Development Release #25 ("Minneapolis")

Patrick R. Michaud pmichaud at pobox.com
Mon Feb 1 17:09:21 UTC 2010


[This notice is going out a bit late; the release was indeed
produced on time, but I was delayed in sending out this notice.
With apologies for the delay...  --Pm]

On behalf of the Rakudo development team, I'm pleased to announce the
January 2010 development release of Rakudo Perl #25 "Minneapolis".
Rakudo is an implementation of Perl 6 on the Parrot Virtual Machine
(see http://www.parrot.org).  The tarball for the January 2010 release
is available from http://github.com/rakudo/rakudo/downloads .

Rakudo Perl follows a monthly release cycle, with each release 
code named after a Perl Mongers group.  The January 2010 release 
is code named "Minneapolis" for Minneapolis.pm, hosts of the annual 
Frozen Perl Workshop [1].  In 2009 the Frozen Perl Workshop featured a 
one-day hackathon for Perl 6 and Rakudo development, which ultimately 
informed the design and implementation of the current build system.
(The 2010 Frozen Perl Workshop will be on February 6, 2010, for those
interested in attending.)

Shortly after the October 2009 (#22) release, the Rakudo team began a new
branch of Rakudo development ("ng") that refactors the grammar to much more
closely align with STD.pm as well as update some core features that have been
difficult to achieve in the master branch [2, 3].  We had planned for
this release to be created from the new branch, but holiday vacations
and other factors conspired against us.  This is absolutely the final 
release from the old development branch; we expect to make the new branch 
the official "master" branch shortly after this release.

This release of Rakudo requires Parrot 2.0.0.  One must still
perform "make install" in the Rakudo directory before the "perl6"
executable will run anywhere other than the Rakudo build directory.
For the latest information on building and using Rakudo Perl, see the
README file section titled "Building and invoking Rakudo".

Some of the specific changes and improvements occuring with this
release include:

* Rakudo is now passing 31,957 spectests, or 85.7% of the available
  test suite.  This is roughly the same level as the December 2009
  release (because most effort has taken place in the "ng" branch
  as described above).

* Rakudo's calling conventions have been updated to match changes
  in Parrot 2.0.0's calling and context structures.

The Perl 6 language specification is still in flux. Please take note of the
following changes, which might affect your existing programs. In the next
release of Rakudo, the deprecated features will likely be gone.

* The root of the object hierarchy has been changed from 'Object' to 'Mu'.
  The type 'Object' goes away.

* The term 'undef' is gone. You can replace it with other constructs,
  depending on context:
    - 'Nil' is undefined in item context, and the empty list in list context
    - 'Mu' is the most general undefined value which does not flatten in list
      context
    - as a smart matching target, you can replace '$obj ~~ undef'
      by '$obj ~~ *.notdef'

* Builtin classes will derive from 'Cool' (which itself derives from 'Any').
  Most of the builtin methods on these classes will be defined in the
  'Cool' class instead of 'Any'.  See Synopsis 2 for more details.

* Starting with the next release, we will likely switch to using
  "YYYY.MM" instead of "YYYY-MM" (dot instead of hyphen) as release 
  identifiers.  This is intended to simplify building and packaging
  for other distribution systems.

The development team thanks all of our contributors and sponsors for
making Rakudo Perl possible.  If you would like to contribute,
see http://rakudo.org/how-to-help , ask on the perl6-compiler at perl.org
mailing list, or ask on IRC #perl6 on freenode.

The next release of Rakudo (#26) is scheduled for February 18, 2010.
A list of the other planned release dates and codenames for 2010 is
available in the "docs/release_guide.pod" file.  In general, Rakudo
development releases are scheduled to occur two days after each
Parrot monthly release.  Parrot releases the third Tuesday of each month.

Have fun!

[1] http://www.frozen-perl.org/
[2] http://use.perl.org/~pmichaud/journal/39779
[3] http://use.perl.org/~pmichaud/journal/39874


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