These Weeks on Perl 6 (10 Feb - 2 Mar 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 three week period, there were 423 messages across 128 threads, with 61 authors contributing. About half the threads were patch related. Few of the remaining threads have little meaning outside the active development circle, so there’s little of interest to report on.


There was a fair amount of discussion, however, on perl6-language about topicalizers in Perl 6. (Topicalizers are the lexically scoped aliases in foreach iterators and the new given block.)

Allison Randal asked:

What would be the cost (performance, design or dwim) of making all the defaulting constructs pay attention to the current topicalizer in preference to $_?

Larry Wall replied:

It’s been thought about, but neither accepted nor rejected yet. It’s one of those things that depends on future decisions. Certainly Hugo and Dan will vouch for the fact that I was ruminating about similar issues last Wednesday, though in this case I was thinking about how a topic could supply a default to identical parameters of different subroutine or method calls, and not just as the object of the call.

Much of the subsequent thread discussed whether when should refer to $_ or the topicalizer bound to by given.

Garbage Collecting

Dan Sugalski committed his garbage collector framework, including built-in statistical generation. (As inspired by some horrendous performance early on.) The good news is that the performance problems have been cleared up. The bad news is that the garbage collector still doesn’t collect garbage.

.NET CLR and Parrot

Simon Cozens submitted a lot of information on .NET. Even for the non-Parroteers, this is a good read.


Simon also reminded folks that there are Design Documents to write. He then submitted the Keys and Indices PDD. Brent Dax followed up with the Regular Expression PDD, and Dave Mitchell’s Coding Standards PDD was finally committed. Alex Gough contributed a Big Number PDD, while Bryan Warnock fixed some gaping holes in the PDD PDD. There’s also a PDD for the assembler and the bytecode format on the way.

Dan Sugalski clarified how PMC assignments should work. Most of the subsequent discussion was attempting to mesh Dan’s answers with typing, both weak and strong.

The Parrot Spotlight

Brent Dax is a sixteen-year-old high school junior. He lives in Southern California with his parents, a brother and sister, and a pet cat.

Brent works on a lot of stuff within Parrot. He has worked on the Configure system, the regular expression engine, the embedding interface, warnings, and formatted printing. He has two modules on the CPAN, both related to Perl 6. When he’s not hacking on Parrot, a Perl script, or some other little project, he’s probably handling e-mail, reading a book, doing homework, or watching CNN. He’s sometimes on PerlMonks, and can usually be found on the developer’s IRC channel #parrot.

Bryan C. Warnock



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