Announce: Rakudo Perl 6 development release #18 ("Pittsburgh")

On behalf of the Rakudo development team, I'm pleased to announce the June 2009 development release of Rakudo Perl #18 "Pittsburgh". Rakudo is an implementation of Perl 6 on the Parrot Virtual Machine [1]. The tarball for the June 2009 release is available from .

Due to the continued rapid pace of Rakudo development and the frequent addition of new Perl 6 features and bugfixes, we continue to recommend that people wanting to use or work with Rakudo obtain the latest source directly from the main repository at github. More details are available at .

Rakudo Perl follows a monthly release cycle, with each release code named after a Perl Mongers group. This release is named "Pittsburgh", which is the host for YAPC|10 (YAPC::NA 2009) [2] and the Parrot Virtual Machine Workshop [3]. has also sponsored hackathons for Rakudo Perl as part of the 2008 Pittsburgh Perl Workshop [4].

In this release of Rakudo Perl, we've focused our efforts on refactoring many of Rakudo's internals; these refactors improve performance, bring us closer to the Perl 6 specification, operate more cleanly with Parrot, and provide a stronger foundation for features to be implemented in the near future. Some of the specific major changes and improvements in this release include:

  • Rakudo is now passing 11,536 spectests, an increase of 194 passing tests since the May 2009 release. With this release Rakudo is now passing 68% of the available spectest suite.
  • Method dispatch has been substantially refactored; the new dispatcher is significantly faster and follows the Perl 6 specification more closely.
  • Object initialization via the BUILD and CREATE (sub)methods is substantially improved.
  • All return values are now type checked (previously only explicit 'return' statements would perform type checking).
  • String handling is significantly improved: fewer Unicode-related bugs exist, and parsing speed is greatly improved for some programs containing characters in the Latin-1 set.
  • The IO .lines and .get methods now follow the specification more closely.
  • User-defined operators now also receive some of their associated meta variants.
  • The 'is export' trait has been improved; more builtin functions and methods can be written in Perl 6 instead of PIR.
  • Many Parrot changes have improved performance and reduced overall memory leaks (although there's still much more improvement needed).

The development team thanks all of our contributors and sponsors for making Rakudo Perl possible. If you would like to contribute, see , ask on the mailing list, or ask on IRC #perl6 on freenode.

The next release of Rakudo (#19) is scheduled for July 23, 2009. 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.

Have fun!

[1] Parrot,
[2] YAPC|10
[3] Parrot Virtual Machine Workshop,
[4] Pittsburgh Perl Workshop,

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