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draft a 2012.04 release announcement

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moritz committed Apr 26, 2012
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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 February 2012 release of "Rakudo Star", a useful and
+usable distribution of Perl 6. The tarball for the February 2012
+release is available from <http://github.com/rakudo/star/downloads>.
+
+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 2012.04.1 of the
+Rakudo Perl 6 compiler [1], version 4.3 of the Parrot Virtual
+Machine [2], and various modules, documentation, and other
+resources collected from the Perl 6 community.
+
+Here are some of the major improvements in this release over the
+previous distribution release.
+
+* much improved startup time
+
+* much more robust module precompilation
+
+* autovivification for arrays and hashes is implemented again
+
+* many phasers like PRE, POST and REDO are now implemented
+
+* improved support for calling C functions and modelling structs and arrays
+ via NativeCall.pm6
+
+* now includes modules URI, LWP::Simple, jsonrpc,
+
+This release also contains a range of bug fixes, improvements to error
+reporting and better failure modes. Many more exceptions are thrown
+as typed exceptions.
+
+Some notable incomplete changes from the previous release include
+
+ * the 'lib' directory is not included in the default module search path
+ anymore. You can manipulate the search path with the PERL6LIB environment
+ variable
+
+ * 'defined' used to be a prefix operator, and is now a regular subroutine.
+ This means you must updated code that relies 'defined' taking only one
+ argument. For example 'defined $x ?? $a !! $b' should be written as
+ '$x.defined ?? $a !! $b' or 'defined($x) ?? $a !! $b'.
+
+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:
+ * pack and unpack
+ * 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 a new online resource at http://perl6.org/compilers/features
+that lists the known implemented and missing features of Rakudo Star
+2012.04 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.
+An updated 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.
+
+[1] http://github.com/rakudo/rakudo
+[2] http://parrot.org/

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