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Announce: Rakudo Perl 6 development release #20 ("PDX")

On behalf of the Rakudo development team, I'm pleased to announce
the August 2009 development release of Rakudo Perl #20 "PDX".
Rakudo is an implementation of Perl 6 on the Parrot Virtual Machine [1].
The tarball for the August 2009 release is available from
http://github.com/rakudo/rakudo/downloads .

Due to the continued rapid pace of Rakudo development and the
frequent addition of new Perl 6 features and bugfixes, we continue
to recommend that people wanting to use or work with Rakudo obtain
the latest source directly from the main repository at github.
More details are available at http://rakudo.org/how-to-get-rakudo .

Rakudo Perl follows a monthly release cycle, with each release code named
after a Perl Mongers group. August 2009 is code named "PDX" for the
Portland Perl Mongers. PDX.pm has been home to several Rakudo
contributors (chromatic, Allison Randal, and more) and PDX.pm has
held meetings that have produced feature and bugfix patches for Rakudo.

Beginning with this release, Rakudo Perl builds from an "installed
Parrot" instead of using Parrot's build tree. This release of Rakudo
requires Parrot 1.5.0. For the latest information on building and
using Rakudo Perl, see the README file section titled "Building and
invoking Rakudo". (Quick note: the "--gen-parrot" option still
automatically downloads and builds Parrot as before, if you prefer
that approach.)

Also, unlike previous versions of Rakudo Perl, the "perl6"
(or "perl6.exe") executables only work when invoked from the
Rakudo root directory until a "make install" is performed.
Running "make install" will install Rakudo and its libraries
into the Parrot installation that was used to build it, and then
the executables will work when invoked from any directory.

Some of the specific major changes and improvements occuring
with this release include:
  
* Rakudo is now passing 12,369 spectests, an increase of 493
  passing tests since the July 2009 release. With this release
  Rakudo is now passing 69.98% of the available spectest suite.

* We now have a much cleaner traits implementation. Many of the
  Perl 6 built-in traits are now implemented in Perl 6, and
  user-defined traits can now be defined and applied to classes
  and roles.

* The 'hides' trait on classes can make one class hide another.

* Many not-yet-implemented operators and features now provide
  more helpful error messages instead of simply producing
  parse errors.

* The ROADMAP has been substantially updated and includes some
  details regarding the "Rakudo Star" release [2].

* Embedded comments now require backticks (Perl 6 specification change).

Since the Perl 6 specification is still in flux, some deprecated features
will be removed from Rakudo. Prominently among those are:

 * '=$handle' is deprecated in favor of '$handle.get' (one line)
   and '$handle.lines' (all lines).

 * 'int $obj' is deprecated in favor of '$obj.Int'.

The development team thanks all of our contributors and sponsors for
making Rakudo Perl possible. If you would like to contribute,
see http://rakudo.org/how-to-help , ask on the perl6-compiler@perl.org
mailing list, or ask on IRC #perl6 on freenode.

The next release of Rakudo (#21) is scheduled for September 17, 2009.
A list of the other planned release dates and codenames for 2009 is
available in the "docs/release_guide.pod" file. In general, Rakudo
development releases are scheduled to occur two days after each
Parrot monthly release. Parrot releases the third Tuesday of each month.

Have fun!

References:
[1] Parrot, http://parrot.org/
[2] Rakudo Star, http://use.perl.org/~pmichaud/journal/39411
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