Rakudo Star, for early adopters of Perl 6, now available

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By Patrick Michaud, release manager for Rakudo Perl 6

On behalf of the Rakudo and Perl 6 development teams, I'm happy to announce the July 2010 release of "Rakudo Star", a useful and usable distribution of Perl 6. The tarball for the July 2010 release is available from http://github.com/rakudo/star/downloads.

Rakudo Star is aimed at "early adopters" of Perl 6. We know that it still has some bugs, it is far slower than it ought to be, and there are some advanced pieces of the Perl 6 language specification that aren't implemented yet. But Rakudo Perl 6 in its current form is also proving to be viable (and fun) for developing applications and exploring a great new language. These "Star" releases are intended to make Perl 6 more widely available to programmers, grow the Perl 6 codebase, and gain additional end-user feedback about the Perl 6 language and Rakudo's implementation of it.

In the Perl 6 world, we make a distinction between the language ("Perl 6") and specific implementations of the language such as "Rakudo Perl". "Rakudo Star" is a distribution that includes release #31 of the Rakudo Perl 6 "compiler, version 2.6.0 of the Parrot Virtual Machine, and various modules, documentation, and other resources collected from the Perl 6 community. We plan to make Rakudo Star releases on a monthly schedule, with occasional special releases in response to important bugfixes or changes.

Some of the many cool Perl 6 features that are available in this release of Rakudo Star:

  • Perl 6 grammars and regexes
  • formal parameter lists and signatures
  • metaoperators
  • gradual typing
  • a powerful object model, including roles and classes
  • lazy list evaluation
  • multiple dispatch
  • smart matching
  • junctions and autothreading
  • operator overloading (limited forms for now)
  • introspection
  • currying
  • a rich library of builtin operators, functions, and types
  • an interactive read-evaluation-print loop
  • Unicode at the codepoint level
  • resumable exceptions

There are some key features of Perl 6 that Rakudo Star does not yet handle appropriately, although they will appear in upcoming releases. Thus, we do not consider Rakudo Star to be a "Perl 6.0.0" or "1.0" release.

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.

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. Rakudo Star also contains a draft of a Perl 6 book -- see 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-compiler@perl.org mailing list, or join us on IRC #perl6 on freenode.

Rakudo Star releases are created on a monthly cycle or as needed in response to important bug fixes or improvements. The next planned release of Rakudo Star will be on August 24, 2010.

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