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Future Perl development

Gerard Goossen
February 2, 2007 14:23
Future Perl development
Message ID:
Two weeks ago, I wrote a proposal for dealing with utf-8 with a
proof-of-concept patch. There were few reactions to it. Understandable
in the sense that it was a large patch. I knew it was never gonna be
in bleadperl because it is not backward-compatible enough.
Nevertheless I posted it in the hope to get some discussion
and feedback. The low response reinforced my ideas about the current
development of perl5.
I would like to share these ideas.

The current development on perl5 is aimed at fixing bugs, and keeping
up with the rest of the world (ithreads, unicode). There is no
evolution in the language perl5 itself.

I want to change that.

I want a perl which evolves, which develops new features, which ideas
are changing, on which can be experimented, new ideas tried, and old
ideas can be replaced by new ideas. I don't want to be hold back by
failed experiments, I want to use the insights of previous experiment
to develop new things. Think of different garbage collection,
continuations, monads, experiment with Object-Orientation, concurrency.
Think of it as a natural language.

We can not do that without breaking the current perl.
My proposal to get this:
We start with the current bleadperl. We remove some ugly
things and add new ugly things. After a few months we call it perl7.
perl7 is going to be maintained as usual, and code written for perl7
keeps working on newer perl7 releases. Meanwhile we continue the
development of bleadperl, which after about a year we call perl8, then
perl9, then perl10, ...
Code written for perl7 will not run on perl8 without modifications.
Major versions get maintenance releases, but these do not break
existing code.

To start, I have attached my latest patch to blead, which changes the
unicode handling (gzip because otherwise the mail was too large for 
the mailing list, you can also get it at )

This proposal, is only the outline, there are a lot of issues I didn't
discuss, but they can come later. I would like some feedback on the
big picture, how people feel about the option to continue developing
in this direction.

Gerard Goossen

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