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2012.12 star release announcement

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+Announce: Rakudo Star - a useful, usable, "early adopter" distribution of Perl 6
+
+On behalf of the Rakudo and Perl 6 development teams, I'm happy to
+announce the December 2012 release of "Rakudo Star", a useful and
+usable distribution of Perl 6. The tarball for the December 2012
+release is available from <http://rakudo.org/downloads/star/>.
+A Windows .MSI version of Rakudo star will usually appear in
+the downloads area shortly after the tarball release.
+
+In the Perl 6 world, we make a distinction between the language
+("Perl 6") and specific implementations of the language such as
+"Rakudo Perl". This Star release includes release 2012.11 [0] of the
+Rakudo Perl 6 compiler [1], version 4.6.0 of the Parrot Virtual
+Machine [2], and various modules, documentation, and other
+resources collected from the Perl 6 community.
+
+Some of the new features added to this release include:
+
+* Parse errors are much improved, and follow STD, the standard parser,
+ much more closely; they are more accurate and more information is given
+
+* Rakudo now keeps parsing after some less serious errors
+
+* Better errors for various parse failures
+
+* The junction autothreader is now an order of magnitude faster
+
+* Texas (ASCII) versions of the Set and Bag operators implemented
+
+* Nested Pairs now give correct .perl output
+
+* { a => $_ } now correctly considered a block, not a hash as before
+
+This release also contains a range of performance improvements, bug fixes,
+improvements to error reporting and better failure modes.
+
+The following features have been deprecated or modified from previous
+releases due to changes in the Perl 6 specification, and are being removed
+or changed as follows:
+
+* 'for'-loops will become lazy, and are only evaluated eagerly in
+ eager or sink (void) context. This means that if a for-loop is
+ the last statement in a routine, it will usually run after the
+ routine has returned, so it cannot call return() anymore.
+
+* Unary hyper ops currently descend into nested arrays and hashes.
+ This will change to make them equivalent to a one-level map.
+
+* The Str.ucfirst builtin is deprecated; it will be replaced by Str.tc.
+
+* Leading whitespace in rules and under :sigspace will no longer be
+ converted to <.ws> . For existing regexes that expect this conversion,
+ add a <?> in front of leading whitespace to make it meta again.
+
+* The ?-quantifier on captures in regexes currently binds the capture
+ slot to a List containing either zero or one Match objects; i.e., it
+ is equivalent to "** 0..1". In the future, the ?-quantifier will
+ bind the slot directly to a captured Match or to Nil. Existing code
+ can manage the transition by changing existing ?-quantifiers to
+ use "** 0..1", which will continue to return a List of matches.
+
+There are some key features of Perl 6 that Rakudo Star does not
+yet handle appropriately, although they will appear in upcoming
+releases. Some of the not-quite-there features include:
+
+ * advanced macros
+ * threads and concurrency
+ * Unicode strings at levels other than codepoints
+ * interactive readline that understands Unicode
+ * non-blocking I/O
+ * much of Synopsis 9
+
+There is an online resource at http://perl6.org/compilers/features
+that lists the known implemented and missing features of Rakudo
+and other Perl 6 implementations.
+
+In many places we've tried to make Rakudo smart enough to inform the
+programmer that a given feature isn't implemented, but there are
+many that we've missed. Bug reports about missing and broken
+features are welcomed at <rakudobug@perl.org>.
+
+See http://perl6.org/ for links to much more information about
+Perl 6, including documentation, example code, tutorials, reference
+materials, specification documents, and other supporting resources.
+A draft of a Perl 6 book is available as <docs/UsingPerl6-draft.pdf>
+in the release tarball.
+
+The development team thanks all of the contributors and sponsors
+for making Rakudo Star possible. If you would like to contribute,
+see <http://rakudo.org/how-to-help>, ask on the perl6-compiler@perl.org
+mailing list, or join us on IRC #perl6 on freenode.
+
+[0] https://github.com/rakudo/rakudo/blob/nom/docs/announce/2012.11
+[1] http://github.com/rakudo/rakudo
+[2] http://parrot.org/

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