Not Quite Perl
Parrot Perl6 Java C Perl Assembly Other
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NQP - Not Quite Perl (6)

NQP is Copyright (C) 2009-2014 by The Perl Foundation. See LICENSE for licensing details.

This is "Not Quite Perl" -- a lightweight Perl 6-like environment for virtual machines. The key feature of NQP is that it's designed to be a very small environment (as compared with, say, perl6 or Rakudo) and is focused on being a high-level way to create compilers and libraries for virtual machines (such as the Parrot Virtual Machine [1], the JVM, and MoarVM [2]). Unlike a full-fledged implementation of Perl 6, NQP strives to have as small a runtime footprint as it can, while still providing a Perl 6 object model and regular expression engine for the virtual machine.


Building from source

To build NQP from source, you'll just need a make utility and Perl 5.8 or newer. To automatically obtain and build Parrot you may also need a git client.

To obtain NQP directly from its repository:

    $ git clone git://

If you don't have git installed, you can get a tarball or zip of NQP from github by visiting and clicking "Download". Then unpack the tarball or zip.

NQP can run on three different backends: Parrot, MoarVM and the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Decide on which backends you want it to run, and configure and build it as follows:

Once you have a copy of NQP, build it as follows:

    $ cd nqp
    $ perl --backends=moar,parrot,jvm
    $ make

If you don't have parrot installed, you can have generate one for you by passing the --gen-parrot option to it as well. If you don't have MoarVM installed, you can have generate one for you by passing the --gen-moar option to it as well.

The make step will create a "nqp" or "nqp.exe" executable in the current directory. Programs can then be run from the build directory using a command like:

    $ ./nqp hello.nqp

By default, NQP searches for the parrot executable and installs to the directory ./install. You can change that with the --prefix option to

Once built, NQP's make install target will install NQP and its libraries into the Parrot installation that was used to create it. Until this step is performed, the "nqp" executable created by make above can only be reliably run from the root of NQP's build directory. After make install is performed the executable can be run from any directory (as long as the Parrot installation that was used to create it remains intact).

If the NQP compiler is invoked without an explicit script to run, it enters a small interactive mode that allows statements to be executed from the command line. Each line entered is treated as a separate compilation unit, however (which means that subroutines are preserved after they are defined, but variables are not).

Differences from nqp-rx

NQP is the successor implementation of "nqp-rx" [2]. Unlike nqp-rx, which aimed to have almost no runtime component whatsoever, this new version of NQP accepts that a minimal Perl 6 object metamodel, multidispatcher, and regular expression engine are needed on top of the underlying virtual machine. Also, nqp-rx only ran on Parrot, whereas NQP also runs on the JVM and is designed to be portable to more.