Rakudo Star 2013.01 released


On behalf of the Rakudo and Perl 6 development teams, I'm happy to announce the January 2013 release of "Rakudo Star", a useful and usable distribution of Perl 6. The tarball for the January 2013 release is available from the download page. A Windows .MSI version of Rakudo star will usually appear in the downloads area shortly after the tarball release.

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 2013.01 [0] of the Rakudo Perl 6 compiler [1], version 4.10.0 of the Parrot Virtual Machine [2], and various modules, documentation, and other resources collected from the Perl 6 community.

Some of the new features added to this release include:

  • Sink context (what some other languages call void context) is now enforced correctly. This means that for-loops are now lazy by default. It fixes the bug where a map in sink context would not execute, and also means that a Failure returned to sink context will be properly thrown.
  • 'require' now works with indirect module names
  • Restored socket read semantics to returning the requested number of bytes
  • $obj.Some::Role::meth() now passes the correct $obj
  • try/CATCH now returns Nil when the CATCH is triggered, rather than the exception; this brings it in line with try without a CATCH
  • whatever-star cases of splice now implemented
  • can now import multis with the same name from different modules, provided all dispatchers are onlystar
  • This release also contains a range of bug fixes, improvements to error reporting and better failure modes.

    The following features have been deprecated or modified from previous releases due to changes in the Perl 6 specification, and are being removed or changed as follows:

    • postcircumfix:<[ ]> and postcircumfix:<{ }> will become multi-subs rather than multi-methods. Both at_pos and at_key will remain methods.
    • Unary hyper ops currently descend into nested arrays and hashes. This will change to make them equivalent to a one-level map.
    • The Str.ucfirst builtin is deprecated; it will be replaced by Str.tc.
    • Leading whitespace in rules and under :sigspace will no longer be converted to <.ws> . For existing regexes that expect this conversion, add a <?> in front of leading whitespace to make it meta again.
    • The ?-quantifier on captures in regexes currently binds the capture slot to a List containing either zero or one Match objects; i.e., it is equivalent to "* 0..1". In the future, the ?-quantifier will bind the slot directly to a captured Match or to Nil. Existing code can manage the transition by changing existing ?-quantifiers to use "* 0..1", which will continue to return a List of matches.
    • 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:

      • advanced 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 an online resource at http://perl6.org/compilers/features that lists the known implemented and missing features of Rakudo 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 [email protected].

      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. A draft of a Perl 6 book is available as docs/UsingPerl6-draft.pdf 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 http://rakudo.org/how-to-help, ask on the [email protected] mailing list, or join us on IRC #perl6 on freenode.

      [0] https://github.com/rakudo/rakudo/blob/master/docs/announce/2013.01 [1] http://github.com/rakudo/rakudo [2] http://parrot.org/