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This week's summary

The Perl 6 Summarizer
January 20, 2004 03:41
This week's summary
Message ID:
The Perl 6 Summary for the week ending 20040118
    I hope you'll forgive the lack of banter before we start in on

  Threads. Again.
    Still more proposals about threads this week. Jeff Clites offered some
    notes based on the Java Virtual Machine's threading model. Surprisingly,
    this was the week's only threads thread. Next week: Dan starts to
    outline the design that's going to be implemented.

  Questions about abstract PMCs
    Stéphane Payrard had some questions about abstract PMCs and whether they
    were needed in core_pmcs.h and pmctypes.pasm to make PMC type checking
    work in IMCC. Leo Tötsch answered questions, but didn't think they were
    actually needed in those files. Discussion ensued.

  Docs and releases
    Tim Bunce wondered whether a date had been set for the next release. He
    also pointedly wondered if the docs were up to date with best practises
    and whether having them up to date would be a goal for the next release.
    Dan answered: "No", "no" and "yes, bordering on a requirement and not
    just a goal". Discussion ensued again. For some reason this thread
    flushed out a few 'shy lurkers' so let's extend a big hello to Paul
    Cochrane, Herbert Snorrason, Matt Diephouse, Robin Redeker, Richard
    Holden and Mark Solinski.

  Making continuations work properly
    The work of getting continuations to close over the various bits and
    pieces the should close over continues; it seems there's rather more to
    doing the Right Thing than meets the eye.

  "new_noinit" and "init" ops
    Luke Palmer was trying to implement a loop using a continuation. He
    wanted to be able to defer initialization of a continuation so he
    implemented two stage instantiation & initialization; wrapped it up in
    two new ops, "new_noinit" and "init", and posted the resulting patch to
    the list. Michal Wallace thought it best to just use a lexical. Then he
    perpetrated a spectacularly extended metaphor about Parrot entitled *Mr
    Parrot's Neighborhood*, which probably works best if you don't
    automatically correct the spelling of neighbourhood. -- Mr Parrot's neighborhood

  Namespace stuff
    Jeff Clites revisited a thread from a while back about namespaces. His
    discussion centred on whether the namespace part of a name should be,
    logically a string "Global::Namespace::Hierarchy" or list of strings
    "["Global", "Namespace", "Hierarchy"]". He argued that it made sense to
    just use a simple thing and asked what we actually gained from having a
    hierarchy. Dan wants a hierarchy because it makes cross language sharing
    of namespaces easier. Larry wants a hierarchy 'cos it makes all sorts of
    things easier. Tim Bunce offered another proposal which received
    qualified approval from both Dan & Leo. -- Tim's proposal

  Parrot string docs
    Robert Eaglestone had a bunch of questions about Parrot's String
    documentation. Answers were forthcoming.

  IMCC v1 feature freeze
    Melvin Smith announced a feature freeze for IMCC version 1 and called
    for bug reports for it. He plans to get imcc1 working as correctly as
    possible and frozen within a couple of weeks before starting the really
    major work (and deprecation of features) on IMCC 2. There was a certain
    amount of wrangling about CVS issues, but it was generally thought to be
    a good idea.

  Managed and unmanaged structs
    Dan had some thoughts about accessing and generally monkeying around
    with C structs and added a couple of related tasks to the todo list. Leo
    pointed out that quite a bit of it was done, and pointed out where
    further work was needed.

  Loading bytecode at runtime
    Dan did some more design work on how runtime loading of bytecode should
    be handled.

  The todo list
    Dan was reminded that we have a full, working, RT installation so he's
    started creating tickets for each todo. This should make for better
    tracking and ownership of tasks. Hurrah. He asked for a volunteer or two
    to manage the todo queue. Dave Pippenger and Stephane Peiry stepped up
    to the plate with heartening alacrity. Go guys.

  Numeric formatting
    More design from Dan. This time he was thinking about numeric
    formatting. His initial plan was to lift the formatting rules from SQL,
    but I'm not sure if that plan survived contact with Michael Scott who
    pointed out that ICU (the Unicode library that's already included in the
    Parrot tree) has its own number formatting API. After some discussion in
    which Dan pointed out that he really didn't want to have to initialize
    the entire Unicode system just to get number formatting, Michael
    suggested we copy the ICU API, even if we use our own implementation.

  Unicode, internationalization, C++ and ICU
    It's obviously an ICU week this week. Dan announced that it's time we
    actually started building ICU into Parrot. The catch is, it doesn't work
    right now. He asked for volunteers to track ICU and keep things
    reasonably up to date. Apart from the obvious pony, Dan wants ICU
    building, working and not needing any C++. Personally, I think he's more
    likely to get a pony than to get rid of the C++ dependency.

    Jonathan Worthington was the bearer of the bad new that, because ICU's
    configuration script is a shell script, it's going to be exceedingly
    tricky to get ICU to build on any platform that doesn't have bash or
    similar. Which makes things tricky for Win32 types (though, following
    posts from others, not as tricky as Jon first thought.)

    Nobody has yet volunteered to be the ICU pumpking though.

  Variable clusters
    Melvin Smith made a suggestion for optimizing variable handling by using
    'variable clusters'. I'm afraid I went into 'bear of little brain' mode
    when reading the thread, but there was a fair amount of discussion.

  POD Errors
    A big thank you to Michael Scott who's been cleaning up the
    documentation tree's POD errors, and has made an HTML version of
    Parrot's docs available. For his next trick, he's going to normalize the
    existing POD and add some content to those files that need it.

  Allocation food for thought
    Luke Palmer has been monkeying with the small object allocator in an
    effort to get things working fast enough that he can excise
    RetContinuations from Parrot's object model (They're not continuations
    and they are next to impossible to promote to continuations if you need
    to) and replacing the current chunked control stack with a conceptually
    simpler linked continuation chain. His results were interesting. I'm not
    sure his patch will be going in, but he achieved some pretty impressive
    optimization of full continuations.

  Vtables organization
    Leo had some questions about using 'magic' vtables with PMCs. Dan
    outlined his proposed approach based on chained vtables.

  Events and JIT
    Leo did some thinking aloud about getting Event handling working with
    the JIT core (it works everywhere else). Cue vast amounts of discussion.

  Ops file hints
    Leo had a list of suggestions for extra data that he thinks needs to go
    into the ops files. Dan agreed with everything on the list and added a
    todo item to the Parrot RT queue.

Meanwhile in perl6-language
  run-once code
    David Storrs wanted a way of ensuring that a an expensive function in a
    conditional would never need to be evaluated again after the condition
    became true. Various answers were suggested, some more complicated than

Announcements and Apologies
    This week's summary is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother,
    Kathleen Hudson, who died on Monday morning in her sleep. She was 82
    years old, and apart from the last couple of years of Alzheimer's she
    was always the life and soul of any party. We're all going to miss her. Perl Programming lists via nntp and http.
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