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Announce: Rakudo Perl development release #14 ("Vienna")

On behalf of the Rakudo development team, I'm pleased to announce the February 2009 development release of Rakudo Perl #14 "Vienna". Rakudo is an implementation of Perl 6 on the Parrot Virtual Machine [1]. The tarball for the February 2009 release is available from

    http://www.pmichaud.com/perl6/rakudo-2009-02.tar.gz

However, because of the rapid pace of Rakudo development and addition of new features, we still recommend that people wanting to use or work with Rakudo obtain the latest version directly from the main repository at github -- more on this in a bit.

This is the fourteenth development release of Rakudo Perl, but it's the first release independent from Parrot releases. We will continue to follow a monthly release cycle, with each release to be code named after a Perl Mongers group. This release is named for Vienna.pm (http://vienna.pm.org), who have been sponsoring Jonathan Worthington's work on Rakudo since April 2008. A list of the other planned release dates and codenames for 2009 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.

Rakudo Perl now uses git [2] for its version control system, hosted at http://github.com/rakudo/rakudo . The README file there is kept up-to-date with the latest instructions for obtaining and building Rakudo Perl.

In this release of Rakudo Perl, we've made the following major changes and improvements:

  • Rakudo is now passing 7076 spectests. This is an increase of 796 passing tests since the January 2009 release.
  • The Configure.pl script supports a "--gen-parrot" option to automatically fetch and build the appropriate version of Parrot.
  • The default make target now builds a binary executable directly, either perl6 or perl6.exe. It's still a Parrot "fakecutable", but we think we've made it more reliable so that it doesn't generate segmentation faults on exits. (If you don't know what a "fakecutable" is you can safely ignore this.)
  • Many builtins are beginning to be written in pure Perl 6, or Perl 6 functions with inline PIR. These builtins are part of the core "setting" for Perl 6, and appear in the src/setting/ directory. Previously this was known as the "prelude".
  • Improved Test.pm diagnostic output.

Also, Rakudo now implements the following Perl 6 features:

  • Anonymous classes may be specified using ::
  • Existing parameterized roles are now reused instead of creating new ones.
  • Roles pun a class when .new is invoked on them.
  • "proto" now marks all same-named routines as "multi".
  • "XopX" is now "Xop".
  • <-> (rw) pointy blocks.
  • min= and max= metaoperators.
  • Many many bugfixes and documentation improvements.

The development team thanks all of our contributors and sponsors for making Rakudo Perl possible. The next release of Rakudo (#15) is scheduled for March 19, 2009.

References:
[1] Parrot, http://parrot.org/
[2] Git version control system, http://git-scm.org/

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