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Wed, 05 Aug 2009

Rakudo "star" announced

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(Update:: Here is the "official" blog post from pmichaud - which pretty much makes my rambling superfluous.)

Yesterday Patrick Michaud announced that he'll release a special version of Rakudo called Rakudo star in Spring 2010. Sadly I was not present, but as minor minion I picked some things up on IRC and want to provide some backgrounds.

Alias bitched about the term "Spring", which is a rather regional thing and of course he is right. I'd like to clarify that we are talking about spring on the northern hemisphere, so the release will probably be between March and June.

The idea behind this release is to provide something more shiny than our usual development releases, get good press for it, and motivate lots of people to use it. We need that for several reasons:

  • A release is the only way to get good testing from a wide audience; we learned as much from the perl-5.10.0 release, for which many new bugs were only found after the release.
  • Many Perl 5 programmers are vaguely excited about Perl 6, but wait for a "real thing" before they spend more time on it. We want to show these people that Rakudo has become a "real thing" by now, and implements much of the language.
  • We want to encourage hackers to port their Perl 5 modules to Perl 6. For them it's a good way to learn Perl 6, for the rest of the community it provides a valuable ecosystem. Perl is a good example of how a great collection of libraries can greatly enhance a languages popularity - we'd like to have such a bonus for Perl 6 too.

Currently the Rakudo developers mostly focus on features that are either at the very heart of Perl 6, or that are needed for bootstrapping. Examples for the first category re the object model, multi dispatch and regexes/grammars. The second category covers features like contextual variables, proto regexes and longest token matching.

I expect the focus to (temporarily) shift towards other features, like improved module loading/importing and maybe speedups. But still there are areas that not yet actively pursued - the roadmap does not even mention concurrency/threads. So we hope for volunteers to step up and champion their pet projects.

In the last few months various pieces of PR helped to bring more people into the Perl 6 community. I hope that the Rakudo star release will boost that and will help to form a healthy Perl 6 community.

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