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This Week on perl5-porters (3-9 November 2003)

Rafael Garcia-Suarez
November 10, 2003 12:13
This Week on perl5-porters (3-9 November 2003)
Message ID:
This Week on perl5-porters (3-9 November 2003)
  This week was undoubtedly a maintenance-oriented week, as it has seen
  the release of perl 5.8.2, and of perl 5.6.2 RC1. But of course and as
  usual this wasn't the only topic on the always active p5p list. Read
  below for the full details.

  After a final release candidate 2, Nicholas Clark uploaded the final
  perl 5.8.2 to CPAN. Nicholas plans to release maintenance tarballs
  regularly, the next one being scheduled for new years eve.

  Some build problems are reported, though : apparently perl 5.8.1 and
  5.8.2 have problems on HP-UX 11, on AIX 5 with gcc 3, and on Solaris 9
  with gcc and 64 bit integers.

  But the cycle of maintenance releases is not finished yet. Rafael
  released the RC1 of perl 5.6.2. See the announcement :

  Some problems are still to be fixed, notably (it appears) on Mac OS X.

  Michael Jacob has some ideas about improvements that could be made to
  the UNIVERSAL class, root of all Perl classes. His proposals are that
  can() ceases (in some future release) to search methods in UNIVERSAL
  (except when UNIVERSAL is specifically mentioned in @ISA), and implement
  smart versions of AUTOLOAD(), DESTROY(), and import() in UNIVERSAL.

  Michael Schwern argues that this functionality should go in an
  UNIVERSAL::AUTOLOAD module on CPAN, but that it's too dangerous to be
  put straight into UNIVERSAL, even after a deprecation cycle.

MakeMaker woes
  Michael Schwern released ExtUtils::MakeMaker 6.18, 6.19 and 6.20. (6.19
  fixed a test glitch, 6.20 contained mostly Windows and Cygwin fixes.) It
  was discovered by upgrading bleadperl to the latest MakeMakers that the
  core module SDBM_File was making too many assumptions about MakeMaker's
  internals. This was fixed, but the generated makefiles still don't work
  with non-GNU makes.

  (To be noted : 5.8.2 and 5.6.2-RC1 still ship with MakeMaker 6.17.)

Relocatable tests and installation
  Ilya Zakharevich proposes a patch to make core tests relocatable, so
  that they can be run against an installed perl. His method is to add an
  environment variables that prevents those tests to adjust @INC to their

  Ilya also provided several patches to fix various flaws in the
  installation process of perl ; some of them are specific to OS/2. The
  last one proposes to add to "make install" a "PREFIX=/some/dir"
  argument. Some discussion follows, about how this PREFIX differs from
  the existing DESTDIR, and what are the actual usages for those flags.

Blocking and non-blocking reads
  Stas Bekman asks about which read() APIs provided by perl are blocking,
  and which ones are not. Mark-Jason Dominus explains that "'blocking' and
  'non-blocking' refer to the behavior of 'read' on certain file
  descriptors when there is *no* data available." They're not a property
  of the system call, but of the file descriptor. Dan Sugalski and Tom
  Christiansen provide some more insight.

In Brief
  Brian Ingerson wins the prize of the funniest mail of the week.

  Is the perltoc manpage useful ?

  Stas Bekman asks also whether the hash rehashing scheme in perl 5.10
  will be the 5.8.1 one or the 5.8.2 one.

  Stas also reports (bug #24404) that it's possible to write 'require
  "dir"' where dir is a directory. require() should check that its
  argument isn't a directory.

  Alan Burlison asks for the plans on maintaining binary compatibility in
  perl 5.8.x where x > 2. Nicholas answers that he wants to keep future
  maintenance versions compatible.

  Ilya Zakharevich provided a patch to speed up sprintf().

  Scott Roy reports that calling exists() on a shared hash for a
  non-existent element may crash perl (bug #24407). Dave Mitchell provides
  a fix.

About this summary
  This summary was once again written by your usual summarizer and 5.6.2
  pumpking, Rafael Garcia-Suarez. Summaries appear weekly on and on a mailing list, which subscription address
  is Corrections and comments are
  welcome. Perl Programming lists via nntp and http.
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