Finally, after nine years of intense development, the Perl community has something to be happy about. Patrick Michaud, lead developer for the Perl 6 implementation on Rakudo
, announced in a journal entry for use Perl
the release of an intermediate version for Perl 6 in the spring of 2010.
Even if it is not a complete implementation of all the initial language specifications, this release has been log awaited by a community that has endured a development marathon, seeing this problem bounce around from Larry Wall (the creator of Perl), the Parrot project and now the Rakudo
A common name into all these stages has been Patrick Michaud, member of the Parrot
project, and now lead developer of the Rakudo implementation of Perl. Avoiding to announce a complete and bug-free Perl 6 version, Patrick publicly called the future release “useful" and “usable.”
The Rakudo project was built on an older Parrot
project release, a virtual machine designed to provide the necessary tools to develop, compile and run Perl 6. Currently at its 19th release candidate, Rakudo is world wide recognized as the future birth place of Perl 6, since it has accounted for the biggest development leaps compared to other projects.
In the same journal entry, Patrick announced the name of the future release as Rakudo Star. He stated that he wanted to stay away from the classic release naming convention and avoid the 1.0 moniker that would have given the impression of a stable release, or the 0.X acronym that would have made people think it was still in development. The Rakudo team's main objective is to offer a “usable” version of Perl 6 that programmers could use and offer more feedback to the team.
Regarding this issue, Patrick Michaud said that “We will make an ‘official’, intermediate, useful and usable release of Perl 6 (an appropriate subset) by Spring 2010. […] The focus of the Rakudo project is to release ‘Rakudo Star’ […] as a useful (but incomplete) implementation of Perl 6.”
Besides Rakudo's already incorporated features, the Star release will include such improvements like the STD.pm grammar parser, laziness, better support for some modules, bug-fixes, better error message handling and improved runtime speeds. On this subject, Patrick stated that “Again, our goal is to make something that is reasonable for people to start using, even if it doesn't meet all of the requirements for Perl 6.0.0.”
In a statement for the Software Development Times
in June 2009, Allison Randal, chief architect and lead developer for the Parrot project, said about Perl 6 that “[It] is kind of a superset of all the features of all the dynamic languages you've ever seen. There really isn't any existing virtual machine that could support that out of the box. The existence of Perl 6 at all depends fairly heavily on Parrot
,” and subsequently on Rakudo