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Announce: Rakudo Perl 6 compiler, Release #125 (2018.08)

On behalf of the Rakudo development team, I’m very happy to announce the August 2018 release of Rakudo Perl 6 #125. Rakudo is an implementation of Perl 6 on the Moar Virtual Machine[^1].

This release implements the 6.c version of the Perl 6 specifications. It includes bugfixes and optimizations on top of the 2015.12 release of Rakudo.

Upcoming releases in 2018 will include new functionality that is not part of the 6.c specification, available with a lexically scoped pragma. Our goal is to ensure that anything that is tested as part of the 6.c specification will continue to work unchanged. There may be incremental spec releases this year as well.

The tarball for this release is available from https://rakudo.org/files/rakudo.

Please note: This announcement is not for the Rakudo Star distribution[^2] — it’s announcing a new release of the compiler only. For the latest Rakudo Star release, see https://rakudo.org/files/star.

The changes in this release are outlined below:

New in 2018.08:

  • SPECIAL NOTES:
    • Changed filenames and permissions of many scripts in the repo (e.g. install-dist.pl is now install-dist.p6) [07b4100c][9d8b6600] [c5c4ea38][59a6f7d2][248ee79c][906bec8c][683ae67b]
  • Deprecations:
    • Deprecated RAKUDO_EXCEPTIONS_HANDLER [5e1df41b][d2116efd]
    • [6.d] Deprecated undefine [72bac670]
  • Fixes:
    • Fixed .assuming on subs with slurpies [93a8ec66]
    • Fixed auto-printing of low-level (non-Mu) objects in REPL [9ea427a3]
    • Made Map.list return a List instead of a Seq [60447c62]
    • Made internal safely_stringify routine safer [0e2a7d93]
    • Made .perl of (|) signature a bit more idiomatic [24467ed6]
    • Fixed coping with failures to open a directory in internal DIR-RECURSE sub [e9351cba]
    • Fixed preservation of newlines in pod blocks [c6433838]
    • Fixed big int values in BagHash [fd779109]
    • Fixed several crashes and bugs involving meta assign operator [b9b0838d]
    • Fixed roundtripability of QuantHashes [84f60ada][ddf496c7]
    • Fixed .comb on allomorphs with leading 0's [f8d6a3f4][72ccd432]
    • Fixed crash when doing EVAL :lang from multiple threads [66683080]
    • Fixed potential race condition in EVAL [80bbfbb3]
    • Fixed Test's diag to no longer die on Junctions [5ec2c96e]
    • Fixed Cool consistency in arguments of &round [e547811a]
    • Fixed &prompt to convert numeric data to allomorphs [38d7f2a0] [0275ea29][07b032d0]
    • Many fixes and improvements to the contributors.p6 script [7a87b7f5][8fee8d48][c5cfbc64][f6c8159d][1197c3f6][ade83c86]
    • Made Routine.perl more verbose / precise [d6c161ba]
    • Added some missing is rw [6caf86be][832ccd81]
    • Fixed problem in concatenation of 2 Junctions [4ef8433a]
    • Fixed failure to set up encoder/decoder in IO::Handle via .encoding call in certain cases/encodings [86846ac5]
    • Made it impossible to assign to a Map [fffe89c5]
    • Fixed Map.WHICH to reflect subclasses correctly [199d276b]
    • Gave PseudoStash its own non-value based .WHICH [bb5db6a8]
    • Fixed QuantHash.hash/Hash return values [76298204]
    • Made Proc.command return an immutable List instead of Array [925c1134]
    • Fixed loop to always return Nil [aff96bae]
    • Made an uncomposed class type-check against roles that have been added [38d046fa]
    • Fixed IO::Handle.encoding to check if$!decoder was set up [edf81bfe]
    • Fixed is required($reason) [7c349b7e]
    • Fixed Range.roll(*)/roll(N)/pick(N) with big ints [b30800c8]
    • Removed <?before> token in term:sym<multi_declarator> [51e41da8]
    • [6.d] Reserved :sym colonpair on names of routines [a68784a6]
    • Fixed a ThreadPoolScheduler memory leak whereby certain usage patterns caused it to build up an ever-deeper call stack, due to continuation mis-use [bf514c15]
    • Fixed misscoping of blocks in whatever curries [85495890]
    • Made sure that onlystar Routines cannot be optimized away when wrapped [434ede49][1188f801]
    • Made it possible to use Array:: as a top level namespace in modules [a71e370b]
    • Fixed Distribution::Resource.^mro to not error [bb46381a]
    • [6.d] Changed $*ARGFILES to be based on $*IN inside sub MAIN [84d45f07]
    • [6.d] Made num variables default to 0e0 [f045042d]
    • Made Rationals fully-immutable [5c429e4e]
    • Fixed problem in QuantHash.ACCEPTS [712d0f0f]
    • Slightly changed semantics of (+), (-), (&), (.), (^), (|) on QuantHashes [3a6c1197][b826a07a][42595c27][f1693f26][64ab7179][8cedbbd1]
    • Fixed wrong math with largish Ints [fec1bd74][8e2c70fa][342c5a9c]
    • Fixed crash with attr + submethod TWEAK [d09756ae]
    • Removed sig from Routine.perl if it is empty [546d08c1]
    • Gave Routine its own .gist [6ad50d79]
    • Made sure my ($a,$b) does not have any runtime effect [90ef3061]
    • Prevented REPL from writing to filehandle when opening a file [07d00db1]
    • Fixed a couple of thinkos in Map.STORE [6587bf75]
    • Fixed Unicode Regional Indicators [80a7cff6]
    • Normalized the path portion of repo specs [aae0827f]
    • Gave Blob.subbuf the same feature set as Str.substr [26b49169]
    • Added support for Buf.subbuf(x,Any) [22f779a8]
    • Gave native arrays their own ACCEPTS [9726e644][6a481323]
    • Gave Buf/Blob their own ACCEPTS [9531455d]
    • Fixed occasional crashes in deprecation location handling code [0979b775]
    • Various improvements to produced messages [e2e42181][e2bbe3f0] [35fec8e0][1956df25][21eb168c][7a7e5e96][e9e8cd55][2e90c660][03574546] [4494a249][d60be5e4][9a45b2b8][2c7692fc][08b449e1][b5e92a55][ef61ce32]
  • Additions:
    • Added X::ParametricConstant exception [b6cd6122]
    • Added enforcement of type constraints on constants [1dea3034]
    • Improved auto-coercion of values to @- and %-sigilled constants (the %- one requires use of v6.d.PREVIEW pragma) [1dea3034]
    • Added a warning on definition of anon sub in sink context [d6c05395][08a54212]
    • Exposed host and port of IO::Async::Socket.listen via the Tap [cb2ea932][2d16e12c]
    • Added ability to mixin roles on attrs, aka has %.a does Foo [3158ae7e]
    • Added Callable indexing candidate for CArray [541922a0] [68ebe71e][2a803a39]
    • Added QuantHash.Setty|Baggy|Mixy coercer methods [3d9ea6eb][76e5f9c8]
    • Added proper handling of pod =defn block [6e8ca327]
  • Removals:
    • Use of syntax for parameterized constants now throws (such constrains were never enforced) [1dea3034]
    • Removed unspecced/used pre-6.c jvm modules [e6c5e859]
    • Removed unused Universal role [2670236f]
    • Renamed IO::Handle.*-internal methods to their final names [03d79975]
    • Removed previously deprecated $*INITTIME dynamic variable [a37c6aa4]
  • Build system:
    • Bumped JVM memory limit to survive setting build [80dca6b7][8feb13cd]
    • Added passing of --execname to nqp so that nqp::execname() works [359ac12d]
  • Efficiency:
    • Made .first() and :first(:end) without other parameters about 2x as fast [e6e9daf1]
    • Made nested meta assign operators 3.9x as fast [b9b0838d]
    • Made .? 1.5x as fast by using a spesh plugin [708c1326][a167e6cc]
    • Marked set(), bag() and mix() as is pure [c37c3b59]
    • Made Int != Int about 4x as fast [b236faec]
    • Made native int array .sum between 2.2x and 36x as fast [88e913b6]
    • Made initialization of native int array from a Range about 1.7x as fast [5682ee1f]
    • Made Map initialization logic 1.5x-4x as fast [ee800ada] [8f090821][6850a64f][ae6058ce][9f524d0a]
    • Made Map.WHICH about 8x as fast [ac2fa03b]
    • Made the for ^100 loop optimization about 1.02x as fast [f43f118a] [7043559b][d69fd2f3][9b07e7bf]
    • Made Rational reduction 1.43x as fast [3d10a7f1]
    • Made argless Rational.round 5.7x as fast [097826ef]
    • Made creation of Rationals 1.19x as fast [db66a138]
    • Made infix:<**>(Rational, Int) more than 10x as fast [d1729da2][f9963bbf]
    • Made my @a = $string.comb about 1.25x as fast [df5d82e8]
    • Made subbuf up to 8.5x as fast [4e56ce95]
    • Made Buf.subbuf up to 2.5x as fast [cd43c4f1][a50c0492]
    • Made @a[1,3] with literal indices 5.6x as fast [67a528f0] [c1044bce][1978a2fc][a3a87125]
    • Made method LANG about 3.2x as fast [a6edf511]
    • Made string interpolation up to 2x as fast [3ae97e5f]
    • Simplified a lot of internal code [6e661e9e][0f1b36a7][bc2ca535] [36d37cbc][81a5e4ba][9e71c22d][4da2f607][0601c43c][4eaff452] [12bd328b][f0b705cd][9327f95b][934c3f9d][eee77141][1070fa0c] [36841543][81bcc540][fc865a9a][7f1e41dd]
    • Other minor optimizations [8f807fc4][ecd899c9][c6033401] [45df171a][327cae7c]
    • Many low level and other improvements [bd0a1f8b][aedf41ae] [4f0b585c][6d271667][d3c5381b][8c0d9de8][3f832108][5e5c7870] [c4076b70][bfe69474][397263e3][a7e3dce3][ea9cf08f][bdb9193a] [593611ec][9ab3ad27][04b86ae0][1e825793][bfd9ee4e][3b40b1c7] [40d19c75][a3c12486][a2208b0d][92026f54][35528c6c][52f1b89d] [e9e89f88][ca2360a4][ebc6b124][27a7e9bb][4f4fb613][5b985f93] [a30ae153][163e7759][beae9686][d1c755af][bff1bb83][7885f357] [523ffae8][8d652761][59faed1d][5a6af277][0baeec02][d0aab741] [05d7c39b][1b3dd35e][fa073679][ae25c4b0][8a76c00c][abfa1b15] [980f692c][4766536b][8607f682][656b763d][0b1e6d54][99f7f4cc] [1f65bf24][37c7e6e5][90f678f3][fa73bb48][fe5c8d49][db96cab3] [f8be2a2d][bf9ab42e][a41c37c8][fd6164a1][9a5c538f][c60a347f] [5559f4c9][ec7de841][8d8c755b][0b3fc077][574212ab][2b2f568a] [66aa6892][06073c5b][34468f11]
      More specifically:
      • Refactored Scalar and numerous container operations, resulting in Scalar being one attribute smaller and paving the way for a range of new optimizations
      • As part of the Scalar changes, also extensively refactored auto-vivification to be cheaper and more optimizable
      • Implemented specializer plugin for type-check elimination for assignments
      • Refactored the way return value handling is done, to generate a shorter code sequence
      • Improved the code generated for signature binding so as not to repeatedly decontainerize passed values, but rather to only do this once
      • Avoided a number of exceptions that could be thrown and caught in the optimizer, for a small performance win
      • Avoided a number of situations where parts of the compiler were repossessed for serialization purposes, resulting in smaller precompilation output
      • Tuned Map and Hash for better lookup and assignment performance, as well as more compact code in numerous other operations; this made it possible for single-element hash access to be fully inlined
      • Tuned Array.AT-POS to enable it to be fully inlined
      • Tuned Array.ASSIGN-POS to do less work
      • Improved p6bindattrinvres code-gen quality, which is a slight improvement for the many places in CORE.setting that use it
      • Made sure references to the Scalar type-objects compile into a constant, not a lexical lookup
  • Internal:
    • Implemented Perl6::World.lang-ver-before for easier language version check [4dcf5929]
    • Removed Set, Bag, Mix .clone special casing [7865bfa6]
    • Updated makeUNIPROP.pl6 with Unicode 10 property names [2ff46764]
    • Removed propname → propname mapping from Cool.pm6 [a9e844a8]
    • Made infix:<!=> for Ints consistent with other infix operators [46e7640f]
    • Simplified HashMap coercion [c567af73]
    • PseudoStash "pseudoers" hash is now a native hash [8a8ce95e]
    • Various Range internal changes [6ad096c8][806752fb]
    • Tightened up some trait_mod:<is> signatures [f6209d73]
    • Renamed nqp::getstrfromname to nqp::strfromname [4522132d]
    • Changed install-dist.p6 to use and prefer full namespace for builder identifier [0249afc2]
    • Turned p6reprname into a desugar [07cfbeb2]

The following people contributed to this release:

Zoffix Znet, Jonathan Worthington, Elizabeth Mattijsen, Tom Browder, Jeremy Studer, Samantha McVey, Daniel Green, Aleks-Daniel Jakimenko-Aleksejev, Will "Coke" Coleda, Paweł Murias, Bart Wiegmans, 陈梓立, Timo Paulssen, Moritz Lenz, MorayJ, Juan Julián Merelo Guervós, Steve Mynott, Ben Davies, Jonas Kramer, Jonathan Scott Duff, Nick Logan, Stefan Seifert, Luca Ferrari, Luis F. Uceta, Carl Masak, Altai-man, Daniel Mita, Jan-Olof Hendig, Alexius Korzinek, Juerd Waalboer, Matthew Wilson, Tobias Leich, Clifton Wood, Randy Lauen, David Warring, Joelle Maslak, Marc Chantreux, Naoum Hankache, Norbert Buchmueller, Przemek Wesołek, Tim Smith, ZzZombo, dmaestro, sarna, Alex Elsayed, Bartosz Janus, Brad Gilbert, Cale, Douglas L. Schrag, Fernando Correa de Oliveira, Innokenty Shniperson, Jack Kuan, Maik Hentsche, Mint, Nuno 'smash' Carvalho, Prakash Kailasa, Przemysław Wesołek, Rafael Schipiura, Rob Hoelz, Sam S, Simon Proctor, Tadeusz Sośnierz, Tobias Boege, benji, ijneb, kjpye, mendel, ribbon-otter, thundergnat, ven, 唐鳳

If you would like to contribute or find out more information, visit https://perl6.org, https://rakudo.org/how-to-help, ask on the perl6-compiler@perl.org mailing list, or ask on IRC #perl6 on freenode.

Additionally, we invite you to make a donation to The Perl Foundation to sponsor Perl 6 development: https://donate.perlfoundation.org/ (put “Perl 6 Core Development Fund” in the ‘Purpose’ text field)

The next release of Rakudo (#126), is tentatively scheduled for 2018-09-15.

A list of the other planned release dates is available in the “docs/release_guide.pod” file.

The development team appreciates feedback! If you’re using Rakudo, do get back to us. Questions, comments, suggestions for improvements, cool discoveries, incredible hacks, or any other feedback – get in touch with us through (the above-mentioned) mailing list or IRC channel. Enjoy!

Please note that recent releases have known issues running on the JVM. We are working to get the JVM backend working again but do not yet have an estimated delivery date.

[^1]: See http://moarvm.org/

[^2]: What’s the difference between the Rakudo compiler and the Rakudo Star distribution?

The Rakudo compiler is a compiler for the Perl 6 language. Not much more.

The Rakudo Star distribution is the Rakudo compiler plus a selection of useful Perl 6 modules, a module installer, Perl 6 introductory documentation, and other software that can be used with the Rakudo compiler to enhance its utility.