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Perl 7 Released

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  • Announcing Perl 7

    This morning at The Perl Conference in the Cloud, Sawyer X announced that Perl has a new plan moving forward. Work on Perl 7 is already underway, but it’s not going to be a huge change in code or syntax. It’s Perl 5 with modern defaults and it sets the stage for bigger changes later. My latest book Preparing for Perl 7 goes into much more detail.

  • Perl 7 Announced As Evolving Perl 5 With Modern Defaults

    Taking place this week is the virtual Perl + Raku "Conference in the Cloud" as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic causing the event to go virtual. A big announcement out of it is Perl 7.

    Perl 7 basically amounts to Perl 5 with more modern defaults and foregoing some of the extensive backward compatibility support found with Perl 5. News of Perl 7 comes a few days after the release of Perl 5.32.

  • The Perl 7 tl;dr

    Sawyer X, Perl's volunteer Project Lead, announced at The Perl Conference in the Cloud that Perl will make the jump to a new major version, Perl 7. This allows the next version to accept saner, more modern default settings. So far, Perl 5 has been compatible back its first release in 1994. Perl 7, expected to be released within the next year, sets defaults and enables features that most people use today. When Perl 7 is released, Perl 5 will go into long term maintenance for an extended window far beyond its normal two-year, two version support policy. Supported Perl 5 versions will continue to get important security and bug fixes.

  • Perl 7 launches

    The Perl project has announced the upcoming release of Perl 7.

Perl 7, not quite getting better yet

  • Perl 7, not quite getting better yet

    The proposal is presented as a linear progress, I don't believe this is realistic. This would be fork much like the python 3 transition is (which also wanted to be a simple linear progression). As we all know, they're currently in year 12 of a 5 year transition.

    There are several problems here. CPAN as an ecosystem is the one that is given most attention to (not without reason; it is without doubt the most important collection of Perl code), but it's not even the biggest problem.

    The biggest problem is that /usr/bin/perl is infrastructure. We can't do breaking changes to its basic functionality for the same reason that shell and awk can't. Too many things in too many places are dependent on it, from system administration scripts to bioinformatics workflows to build systems (e.g. autotools, postgresql) and many more.

    And this change is vastly breaking. Enabling strict and disabling prototypes (to make way for signatures) will break vast amounts of code, especially in the scripting domain of perl. It's quite telling that 12 years after python3 was released /usr/bin/python isn't a python3 by default on any of the big distributions (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Red Hat, OpenSuse); and arguably python is less entrenched than perl is. I don't believe that /usr/bin/perl will ever be perl7. That means that perl7 can only meaningfully exist if it's set up to coexist alongside of perl5 for a very long time. And that actually comes with a number of challenges that may not seem obvious at first (e.g. colliding script names and man pages).

    Releasing a Perl7 will not erase perl5. Perl5 will in all likelihood remain the Perl that's available on any platform regardless of how successful perl7 will be.

Perl 7 Thoughts

  • Perl 7 Thoughts

    My objection to this is that :prototype was only introduced in Perl 5.20. Code using it won't work as expected on older versions of Perl.

    This means that if I want my code to support Perl 7, I need to abandon Perl 5.18 and below, or jump through some fairly ugly hoops.

    I don't like that.

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