This Fortnight on Perl 6 (27 Jan - 9 Feb 2002)


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Perl 6 is the major redesign and rewrite of the Perl language. Parrot is the virtual machine that Perl 6 (and other languages) will be written for. For more information on the Perl 6 and Parrot development efforts, visit and

For the two week period, there were 410 messages across 110 threads, with 64 authors contributing. Quite a few patches.

Parrot Is Broken

Parrot is broken until the keyed access interface to arrays and hashes are fixed. This shouldn’t take long, but be warned if you decide to play with Parrot.


Raptor was impressed with the speed that Parrot is running through code, and asked if the numbers were true. Sadly, not really.

Unicode Strings

Larry Wall gave his input on how Unicode and Strings should interrelate in Perl 6.

But within Perl, character strings are simply sequences of integers. The internal representation must be optimized for this concept, not for any particular Unicode representation, whether UTF-8 or UTF-16 or UTF-32. Any of these could be used as underlying representations, but the abstraction of sequences of integers must be there explicitly in the internal high-level string API. To oversimplify, the high-level API must not have any parameters whose type contains the string “UTF”.

The Regex Engine

Ashley Winters had a beef with the current regex engine, and how it’s not being written in pure Parrot opcodes. These replies from Brent Dax, Bryan Warnock, and Angel Faus respond to Ashley’s concerns.

Perl 6 On Mono

Aaron Sherman asked whether targeting Mono’s CIL wasn’t a better idea than writing our own VM. Brent Dax quoted the FAQ, but Paolo Molaro wasn’t so sure.

Is Perl 6 Perl?

Aaron Sherman also asked whether Perl 6 should, in fact, be called Perl. Here’s one particular response.

The Parrot Spotlight

Jeff Goff has been programming in Perl since roughly 1994, and designing Parrot since November 2001. He’s the author of the PMC base types, the miniperl and Scheme compilers, and is currently redesigning the PMC classes and working on Unicode support.

Aside from Perl, Parrot, compilers, neural networks and genetic algorithms, his non-computer interests include origami, juggling, voracious reading, and playing guitar (seven notes and holding). He’s owned by the unofficial Parrot mascot, a precocious baby African Grey named Percy, who he’s been known to speak to in Japanese. Percy usually gives him blank stares, but was once heard to mutter ‘Speak English, idiot.’

Bryan C. Warnock



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