This Fortnight on Perl 6, October 2004

Perl 6 Summary for 2004-10-01 through 2004-10-17


Welcome to my first summary. Since I am relatively new at this game, I will just steal Piers’ approach and start with Perl6 internals. But before that let me warn you that my ability to make strange characters with accents is not great, thus please do not be offended if I don’t include them in your name. If you want them to appear in the future, a quick email about how to make them appear using a U.S. qwerty keyboard and Mozilla should suffice.

Also, does not seem to have picked up perl6.compiler yet.

With that legal disclaimer out of the way onward to:

Perl 6 Internals

Configure Problems and Improvements

Leo noticed that Configure doesn’t rebuild things correctly. Takers welcome. Nicholas Clark added a --prefix option for the make install target.

Non-core Module Dependency

Joshua Gatcomb accidentally introduced a dependency on Config::IniFiles. Since it is implemented in pure Perl he offered to add it to the repository. Warnock applies.

OpenBSD Troubles

Jens Rieks found and fixed a coredump on OpenBSD. Thanks, Jens.

Threads on Cygwin

Joshua Gatcomb discovered some trouble with threads on Cygwin. It seems that there are problems with both the thread implementation, and the tests not being generous enough if accepting out-of-order input. Still unresolved, I think.

Parrot IO Not Quite Threadsafe

Nicholas Clark discovered a double free in the IO system. While his problem was solved by Jens, the underlying problem still remains.

make install Portability Issues

Nicholas Clark asked why the install taget was not portable. Steve Fink responded that it was a quick hack at the time and made it better.


The namespace thread continues to churn. It is slowly making progress, but I believe there is a fair amount of people talking past each other going on. Perhaps Dan could step in and provide one final state of the namespaces?

Parrot Abstract Syntax Tree a.k.a. PAST

Sam Ruby decided to pick up the Python on Parrot ball. To that end he enquired as to what PAST is. Leo provided answers and help. Will asked for more help. Leo once again provided.

JIT for Non-Branching Compare opcodes

Stephane Peiry provided a patch to JIT with some more opcodes. Leo applied. Stephane then provided a patch with tests. Jens applied that one.

Comparing Pythons

Sam Ruby posted a link comparing various Pythons and their conformance to a test suite.

Sam Ruby: Comparing Pythons


Dan admitted confusion as to what exactly metaclasses are/do. Papers and explanations were provided by Aaron Sherman, Michael Walter, and Sam Ruby.

Plain Old Hash

William Coleda wondered if Parrot had a basic hash implementation (not a PerlHas). Dan said “D’oh!” and asked for takers. Coleda added a TODO.

Parakeet 0.3

Michael Pelletier’s language Parakeet has hit 0.3 and been added to CVS. Everybody should play with it.

make install Thoughts

Leo conjectured about creating a parrot_config.c, which would encode all of Parrot’s configuration. Then Parrot would know its own config. Jens suggested letting miniparrot generate it; Leo agreed.

More piethon

Dan’s register spilling problems give him free time. He used it to work on piethon a little.

Privilege Implementation

Felix Gallo posted some questions/thoughts with respect to privileges. While Leo addressed Felix’s question about the location of source files (and provided a nice plug for vim). The others all remain Warnocked.

make in Languages/Tcl

Matthew Zimmerman supplied a patch to fix Tcl’s make. William Coleda modified and applied it.


Andy Dougherty provided a patch to remove some old files from the manifest. Steve Fink applied it.

Parrot 0.1.1 “Poicephalus”

There was a little talk about names. Then a little talk about getting it posted to In the end the 0.1.1 release did happen and even made it to Slashdot. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

Data::Dumper TODO

Will Coleda added a TODO for Data::Dumper. Apparently it cannot dump FixedPMCArrays. Will conjectures that there are probably other new PMCs it cannot handle either. Patches welcome.

Emacs, XEmacs, and pir-mode

Jerome Quelin kicked off a thread that resulted in emacs getting better pir-mode support. Thanks to all involved, but I will continue to use vim. ;-)

A %= B

Dan noticed that we did not have support for %= in PIR. There was some confusion as several people rushed to the rescue. In the end, the problem was fixed. Thanks all.

Pushing and Popping Arrays

Will Coleda wondered why he could not push onto a Fixed Array. The answer was quickly provided that Fixed means that its size cannot be modified, not that it is bounded. This answer seemed reasonable enough to him. He then went on to ask why he could not pop a Resizable Array. The answer is, of course, because it is not implemented yet; patches welcome.

imcc Reserved Words

Sam Ruby wondered how to create a subname num in imcc. The answer, “No,” and a workaround was provided by Jens.

Quiet vs. Loud Build System

Andy Dougherty provided a patch to improve the build system. Steve Fink applied it. Leo disliked it. Consensus seems to be not to use it.

Cygwin Bugs

Joshua Gatacomb has been fighting with Cygwin getting Parrot to work. Apparently we trip a few of its bugs. Read more if you like.

Python Concerns

Jeff Clites raised some concerns about dealing with Python’s bound and unbound methods. There was some discussion about it. In the end it just means a little more work.

Makefile Cleanup

Will submitted a patch to clean up the Makefile. There was some back and forth about what parts of the patch should be kept.

Win32 Issues

Ron Blaschke provided a few patches for Win32 which Jens and Leo applied.

Dynamically Loadable Modules

Steve Fink spent some time chugging away at dynclass and dynamically loaded modules. There was some discussion of proper variable names and some working out of problems. Friendly reminder – when in doubt make clean; perl; make.

ICU Without --prefix Problems

Steve Fink was apparently having troubles with ICU and locating necessary data files. Leo confirmed that it is a problem.


Jens has apparently had success working with MinGW. Yay!

ICU Issues

Will had some ICU issues. Various suggestions and solutions were attempted. Any success?

Locals Inside Macros

Will wants .locals inside .macros. Apparently it can only be done if your macro only takes PMCs.

t/pmc/signal.t Improvements

Jeff Clites provided a patch with improvements to t/pmc/signal.t. Warnock applies.

Co-routines and --python

Michal at (whose last name I cannot find) wondered about the --python flag. The answers and discussion that followed indicate that it was a quick and dirty hack. Eventually it will be gone and Python will have PMCs of its own (relatively quickly if Sam Ruby has anything to say about it).

Small Patches

Sam Ruby fixed a small problem in PerlInt; Jeff Clites fixed a bug and cleaned some warnings in darwin/dl.c. He also fixed some tests and added a Parrot_memalign function for Mac OS X. Stephane Payrand provided a patch to allow multiple identifiers on one line in pir. Stephane also added a get_representation op. Bernhard Schmalhofer added support for synchronous callbacks. Ion Alexandru Morega added more functionality to complex PMC. Leo applied the patches.

Adam Thomason pointed out that amd64 lost a vital link flag somewhere in the shuffle.

Non-vtable Methods on Built-in pmcs

Sam Ruby wondered about allowing pmcs to implement additional non-vtable methods. Leo thought it would be good. Sam provided a patch, chromatic tweaked it, and Leo applied it.


Jens wondered what happened to Apparently it died a while back and has not yet been resurrected. Robert Spier also noted that it was a little difficult to deal with and said he is interested in creating a new one. He is also looking for help in this endeavor.

Register Stacks [Again]

Leo has once again pushed forward his idea for register stacks and been Warnocked.

Ncurses Troubles

Andy Dougherty had some ncurses trouble. In particular, one of the error messages was exceptionally unhelpful. Now it is a little more helpful.

Coding Standards

Leo would like to draw everyone’s attention to docs/pdds/pdd07_codingstd.pod, and the fact that it should also apply to Perl code where appropriate. Thank you.

Rx_compile and FSAs

Aaron Sherman has some ambitious stuff in the works with respect to regular expressions. Stay tuned for details.

Single Character from STDIN

Matt Diephouse wants to know how to get a single character from STDIN. The answer seems to be no, but this has triggered Dan to go back to the IO/Event doc. Best of luck, Dan. Samples

Paul Seamons noticed that some of the samples on are really out of date. Will Coleda agreed and suggested that they should all be updated to PIR, too. Takers welcome.


Pratik Roy wondered if he could join into the work on Parrot or if he would remain an outsider looking in. Many people rushed to suggest ways in which he could help. So, please don’t feel afraid to contribute. At worst a patch of yours will be turned away with an explanation as to why. At best, you will start being referred to by first name only in the summaries.

Python and Perl Interop

Sam Ruby wondered about how Python and Perl would interoperate. Leo, Steve Fink, and Thomas Sandlass have ideas and suggestions. I think the answer will be “magically.”


Ovid pointed the world at Inline::Parrot. It looks cool.

Problems with 0.1.1 on x86-64

Brian Wheeler had a problem with Parrot on x86-64. He provided a patch, but Leo couldn’t apply it and asked for a resend. Silence thereafter… .

Bug in Factorial?

James Ghofulpo wondered if the Parrot examples page’s factorial program was supposed to truncate output. Warnock applies. Auto-detection

Sridhar discovered that would fail if he told it to --cxx=/usr/bin/g++-3.3; Jens pointed out that he would also need to tell it --link=g++-3.3.

Parrot Forth 0.1

Matt Diephouse releases Parrot Forth 0.1. It has many cool features. Nice work. Perhaps this should go into languages/?

.return Directives

Stephane Payrard wants to remove the multiple meaning of .return to provide a cleaner path forward. Everyone agrees.

YAGCB (Yet Another Garbage Collection Bug)

Will thought he had turned up another GC bug with Tcl. This time he hadn’t and it was his fault. Can’t win them all I guess.

Testing a PMC for Truth

Will wondered how to determine a PMC’s Boolean value. Leo pointed him toward istrue.

Grsecurity Problems

Christian Jaeger noticed taht grsecurity was stopping on Parrot’s attempts to execute JITted code. Leo pointed out that we already have support for doing the right thing, we are just failing to detect that we need to.

PMCs and Inheritance

Sam Ruby wanted inheritance for PMCs. Apparently what we really need is a scheme for multiple inheritance of PMCs. Sam Ruby supplied several patches and Leo applied parts of them.

C++ and typedef struct Parrot_Interp *Parrot_Interp Don’t Play Well

Jeff Clites discovered that Parrot has troubles on Mac OS X because C++ does not like typedef struct Parrot_Interp *Parrot_Interp. We need C++ to link ICU. Fortunately, that particular typedef is out of the ordinary and violates our normal conventions. Brent “Dax” Royal-Gordon threatened to apply the (fairly large) fix. Will tested Brent’s patch and gave it the thumbs up.

JIT, Exec Core, Threads, and Architecture Proposal

Leo proposed mandating that all JIT must be done interpreter-relative. This allowed some happy optimizations including constant table access. General response was favorable. --tree Option

Bernhard Schmalhofer submitted a patch fixing the aforementioned –tree option. No answer yet, but it has not really been long enough to officially invoke Warnock.


Jacques Mony asked for help/advice porting Parrot to unununium. No responses yet…

Perl 6 Compiler

Google groups still doesn’t have Perl 6 Compiler, so this section won’t have links. Sorry.

Compilation Paradigms

Jeff Clites put out a request for some basic P6 examples and resultant bytecode so that everyone would be on the same page. Warnock applies.

Internals, rules, REPL

Herbert Snorrason had some basic questions about Perl 6’s interaction with Parrot. He also wanted to know about whether he should be playing with the re_tests or if that was wasted effort. Finally he wanted to know about read-eval-print loops. Sadly Warnock applies across the board.

Perl 6 Language

Google groups has nothing for Perl6.language between October 2 and 14. Is this really the case? (I had not signed up until shortly before volunteering to summarize.) If there is email that I just can’t find, I would be appreciative if someone could produce a summary or a pointer to the missing mail for me. Thanks.

Updating Multiple Rows

Nitin Thakur attempted to de-Warnock himself, apparently unsuccessfully. Sorry, Nitin.

Perl 6 Summaries

Piers raised the white flag after several years as a wonderful summarizer. Having now just finished my first summary, let me say thank you for all of your hard work and if you ever want the job back its yours. ;-) I hope you don’t mind my stealing your general format for these things.

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