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Build requirements (Installing from source)
For building Rakudo you need at least a C compiler, a "make" utility,
and Perl 5.8 or newer. To automatically obtain and build Parrot or MoarVM
as well as NQP, you may also need a a git client, which is also needed
for fetching the test suite.
Building rakudo can take up to 1.5G of memory when compiling for the
parrot runtime. The requirements are likely higher for the JVM backend
and 1G is sufficient to build everything for the MoarVM backend.
In order to fully support Unicode on parrot, you'll also want to have
the ICU library installed (<>). Rakudo on
parrot can run without ICU, but some Unicode-related features do not
work properly. Rakudo on JVM and MoarVM don't need ICU.
To get readline support (command history and editing), you'll also
need the "libreadline-dev" library.
As an example, on Debian GNU/Linux or Ubuntu Linux, the necessary
components for building Rakudo can be installed via the command
aptitude install make gcc libicu-dev libreadline-dev git-core
(Perl is installed by default already). To enable parallel testing you
also need the CPAN module Test::Harness in version 3.16 or newer; you
can control the number of parallel jobs with the "TEST_JOBS" environment
Building and invoking Rakudo
If you're wanting the bleeding-edge version of the Rakudo Perl 6
compiler, we recommend downloading Rakudo directly from Github
and building it from there.
$ git clone git://
If you don't have git installed, you can get a tarball of Rakudo
from <>. Then unpack the
If you already have cloned Rakudo from github, you can get (pull) the
most recent version from github like this:
$ cd rakudo
$ git pull
Once you have an up-to-date copy of Rakudo, build it as follows:
$ cd rakudo
$ perl --gen-parrot # to get only the parrot backend
$ perl --gen-parrot --gen-moar # to get parrot & moar
# or to get parrot, moar and jvm:
$ perl --gen-parrot --gen-moar --backends=parrot,moar,jvm
$ make
This will create a "perl6" or "perl6.exe" executable in the current
(rakudo) directory. Additionally, for each selected backend, there will
be a perl6-* binary. Note that if you have multiple (Perl 5) "perl"s in
your path, you may need to use a fully qualified path to the appropriate
executable (or update your PATH environment variable).
Programs can then be run from the build directory using a command like:
$ ./perl6
Important: To run Rakudo from outside the build directory, you must run
$ make install
This will install the "perl6" (or "perl6.exe" binary on windows) into
the "install/bin" directory locally, no additional root
privileges necessary.
If you want to have perl6, nqp, parrot, and moar installed into a
different directory, you may supply --prefix= to
The "--gen-parrot" above option tells to automatically
download and build the most appropriate version of NQP and Parrot
into local "nqp/" and "parrot/" subdirectories, install NQP and Parrot
into the "install/" subdirectory, and use them for building Rakudo.
It's okay to use the "--gen-parrot" option on later invocations of; the configure system will re-build NQP and/or Parrot
only if a newer version is needed for whatever version of Rakudo
you're working with. The --gen-moar flag works the same way.
If you already have Parrot installed, you can use
"--with-parrot=/path/to/bin/parrot" to use it instead of
building a new one. This installed Parrot must include its
development environment. Similarly, if you already have NQP
installed, you can specify "--with-nqp=/path/to/bin/nqp"
to use it. (Note that this must be NQP, not the NQP-rx that
comes with Parrot.) Also, "--with-moar" does what you'd expect.
The versions of any already installed NQP or Parrot binaries must
satify a minimum specified by the Rakudo being built --
and "make" will verify this for you. Released versions of Rakudo
always build against the latest release of Parrot; checkouts of
Rakudo's HEAD revision from Github often require a version of Parrot
that is newer than the most recent Parrot monthly release.
Once built, Rakudo's "make install" target will install Rakudo and its
libraries into the directories specified by the Parrot installation
used to create it or whatever you specified with the --prefix flag.
Until this step is performed, the "perl6" executable created by "make"
above can only be reliably run from the root of Rakudo's build directory.
After "make install" is performed, the installed executable can be run
from any directory (as long as the Parrot and/or MoarVM installations that
were used to create it remain intact).
If the Rakudo compiler is invoked without an explicit script to run, it
enters a small interactive mode that allows Perl 6 statements to be
executed from an interactive prompt.
See the manual page ("docs/running.pod") for more about command-line
Build/install problems
Occasionally, there may be problems when building/installing Rakudo.
Make sure you have a backup of any custom changes you have done to the
source tree before performing the following steps:
Try to remove the "install/" subdirectory:
$ cd rakudo
$ rm -r install
$ git pull
$ perl --gen-parrot # and whatever else you'd like
$ make
Or, in case you are really stuck, start with a fresh source tree:
$ rm -r rakudo
$ git clone git://
Running the test suite
Entering "make test" will run a small test suite that comes bundled with
Rakudo. This is a simple suite of tests, designed to make sure that the
Rakudo compiler is basically working and that it's capable of running a
simple test harness.
Running "make spectest" will import the official Perl 6 test suite from
the "roast" repository <> and run all
of these tests that are currently known to pass.
You can compare your own results to the results of the daily runs in
At present we do not have any plans to directly store the official test
suite as part of the Rakudo repository, but will continue to fetch it
from the roast repository. Releases of Rakudo get a snapshot of
the roast repository as of the time of the release.
You can also use "make" to run an individual test from the command line:
$ make t/spec/S29-str/ucfirst.t
t/spec/S29-str/ucfirst.rakudo ..
ok 1 - simple
ok 2 - empty string
ok 3 - # SKIP unicode
ok 4 - # SKIP unicode
All tests successful.
Files=1, Tests=4, 1 wallclock secs ( 0.02 usr 0.00 sys + 0.57 cusr 0.06 csys = 0.65 CPU)
Result: PASS
If you want to run the tests in parallel, you need to install a fairly
recent version of the Perl 5 module Test::Harness (3.16 works for sure).
Spectest smolder requirements (Windows)
You need recent version of either Strawberry Perl or ActiveState Perl.
If you are working with ActiveState Perl you need the Mingw gcc compiler.
You need msys git installed and you need "\Program Files\Git\cmd" on your
execution path and NOT "\Program Files\Git\bin".
You need a win32 curl program.
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