On behalf of the Rakudo and Perl 6 development teams, I'm happy to
announce the August 2012 release of "Rakudo Star", a useful and
usable distribution of Perl 6. The tarball for the August 2012
release is available from <http://github.com/rakudo/star/downloads
A Windows .MSI version of Rakudo Star is also being made available
in the downloads area.
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 2012.08  of the
Rakudo Perl 6 compiler , version 4.6 of the Parrot Virtual
Machine , and various modules, documentation, and other
resources collected from the Perl 6 community.
Some of the new features added to this release include:
* Rakudo Star now includes a Perl 6 debugger! The debugger allows
single-stepping, setting breakpoints, variable inspection/modification,
regex debugging, and more! Enter "perl6-debug <script.pl>" to run
a script in debugging mode. Enter "help" from a debug prompt to
see the available commands.
* Memory usage of the build stage has been reduced by 35% - 40%. This
makes it possible to build and compile Rakudo Star on machines with
less memory (although 1.2GB may still be needed for some 64-bit
* Variables prefixed by | or \ in signatures are now sigilless, per updates
to the Perl 6 specification.
* Circularities in module loading are now detected.
* An improved inliner, allowing a wider range of routines to be inlined.
* Str.bytes and lcfirst have been removed. The tclc builtin
has been added.
* 'abs' is now a normal subroutine instead of a prefix operator.
* IO::File and IO::Dir have been removed.
* The integer argument to IO::Socket.recv is now interpreted as
a number of characters/codepoints.
This release also contains a range of bug fixes, improvements to error
reporting and better failure modes. More exceptions are thrown as typed
exceptions, and more meta-model errors have been fixed to properly
report line numbers.
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:
* Parameters preceded by a | or \ can no longer have a sigil.
* IO::Path.dir (which returns the directory part of the path) has been
renamed to IO::Path.directory. IO::Path.dir will be removed or
* The Str.ucfirst builtin is deprecated; it will be replaced by Str.tc.
* The (experimental) LAZY statement prefix will soon be removed.
* 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:
* 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 Star
2012.08 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 <rakudo...@perl.org>.
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 perl6-compi...@perl.org
mailing list, or join us on IRC #perl6 on freenode.