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perldelta for 5.8.3

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Nicholas Clark
December 29, 2003 16:45
perldelta for 5.8.3
Message ID:
Here's a first draft of perldelta for 5.8.3
Tomorrow I hope to look into Abigail's suggestion of naming this file
perl583delta.pod (which would mean cloning perldelta.pod from it)
but until then it's pod/perldelta.pod in the source tree.

Corrections, additions, style tweaks welcome.

Nicholas Clark

=head1 NAME

perldelta - what is new for perl v5.8.3


This document describes differences between the 5.8.2 release and
the 5.8.3 release.

If you are upgrading from an earlier release such as 5.6.1, first read
the L<perl58delta>, which describes differences between 5.6.0 and
5.8.0, and the L<perl581delta> and <perl582delta>, which describe differences
between 5.8.0, 5.8.1 and 5.8.2

=head1 Incompatible Changes

There are no changes incompatible with 5.8.2.

=head1 Core Enhancements

A C<SCALAR> method is now available for tied hashes. This is called when
a tied hash is used in scalar context, such as

    if (%tied_hash) {

Previously the FIRSTKEY method would be called on a tied hash, which has the
side effect of resetting the iterator, behaviour inconsistent with normal
hashes. The new code implementing C<SCALAR> will use the old behaviour for
classes which do not (yet) provide C<SCALAR>. Please see L<perltie/SCALAR>
for the full details and caveats.

=head1 Modules and Pragmata

=over 4

=item CGI

=item Cwd

=item Digest

=item Digest::MD5

=item Encode

=item ExtUtils::MakeMaker

Now able to generate a SIGNATURE file if Module::Signature is installed,
by passing (SIGN => 1) to WriteMakefile().  (Work completed as part of
The Perl Foundation's grant to Autrijus Tang)

=item File::Spec

=item FindBin

A function C<again> is provided to resolve problems where two modules in
different directories which to use FindBin.

=item List::Util

You can now weaken references to read only values.

=item Math::BigInt

=item PodParser

=item Pod::Perldoc

=item POSIX

=item Unicode::Collate

=item Unicode::Normalize

=item Test::Harness

This provides the C<prove> utility, which makes it easy to run an individual
regression test at the command line.

=item threads::shared

C<cond_wait> has a new two argument form. C<cond_timedwait> has been added.

=head1 Utility Changes

C<find2perl> now assumes C<-print> as a default action. It needed to be
specified explicitly.

=head1 New Documentation

The documentation has been revised in places to produce more standard manpages.

The documentation for the special code blocks (BEGIN, CHECK, INIT, END)
has been improved.

=head1 Performance Enhancements

=head1 Installation and Configuration Improvements

Perl now builds on OpenVMS I64

=head1 Selected Bug Fixes

Using substr() on a UTF8 string could cause subsequent accesses on that
string to return garbage. This was due to incorrect UTF8 offsets being
cached, and is now fixed.

C<$a .. $b> will now work as expected when either $a or $b is C<undef>

Using Unicode keys with tied hashes should now work correctly.

Reading $^E now preserves $!. Previously, the C code implementing $^E
did not preserve C<errno>, so reading $^E could cause C<errno> and therefore
C<$!> to change unexpectedly.

Reentrant functions will (one more) work with C++. 5.8.2 introduced a bugfix
which accidentally broke the compilation of Perl extensions written in C++

=head1 New or Changed Diagnostics

=head1 Changed Internals

The hash code has been refactored to reduce source duplication. The
external interface is unchanged, and aside from the bug fixes described
above, there should be not change in behaviour.

C<hv_clear_placeholders> is now part of the perl API

Some C macros have been tidied. In particular macros which create temporary
local variables now name these variables more defensively, which should
avoid bugs where names clash.

<signal.h> is now always included.

=head1 New Tests

=head1 Known Problems

We have a backlog of unresolved bugs. Dealing with bugs and bug reports
is  unglamorous work; not something ideally suited to volunteer labour,
but that is all that we have.

The perl5 development team are implementing changes to help address this
problem, which should go live in early 2004.

=head1 Platform Specific Problems

=head1 Reporting Bugs

If you find what you think is a bug, you might check the articles
recently posted to the comp.lang.perl.misc newsgroup and the perl
bug database at  There may also be
information at, the Perl Home Page.

If you believe you have an unreported bug, please run the B<perlbug>
program included with your release.  Be sure to trim your bug down
to a tiny but sufficient test case.  Your bug report, along with the
output of C<perl -V>, will be sent off to to be
analysed by the Perl porting team.  You can browse and search
the Perl 5 bugs at

=head1 SEE ALSO

The F<Changes> file for exhaustive details on what changed.

The F<INSTALL> file for how to build Perl.

The F<README> file for general stuff.

The F<Artistic> and F<Copying> files for copyright information.


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