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This week's summary

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The Perl 6 Summarizer
February 10, 2004 05:09
This week's summary
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The Perl 6 Summary for the week ending 20040208
    Another Monday evening. Another day of displacement activity out of the
    way. There's a huge lump of belly pork braising slowly in a mixture of
    stock, rice wine & soy sauce, and nothing on the telly. It must be time
    to write the Perl 6 summary. As usual, I'm going to deal with
    perl6-internals first.

  RT Cleanup
    The cleanup of the RT bugs database continued apace. Stephane Peiry
    posted a list of old RT entries and their authors and asked them to
    supply updates ore they'd be flagged as obsolete in the queue. In the
    ensuing discussion, Steve Fink pointed out something that I'd missed: as
    of this week, all the perl6 tests (including the regular expression
    tests) are passing. He pointed out that the suite is *far* from
    comprehensive, but I still think this is pretty spiffy.

  DOD, mutation, and generational collectors
    Dan had posted some thoughts on the way that many of the things that
    cause problems for threads also cause problems for generational garbage
    collectors and gave a list of 'mutating activities' that might need to
    be trapped by both threads and GC. Gorgon Henriksen asked Dan for more
    elaboration on what he meant by generational GC because, as Gordon
    understood it, it came with a whole load of baggage that was
    inappropriate for Parrot. This week, Dan gave his answer and pointed out
    that various other improved GC schemes (incremental, concurrent)
    required the same level of support as a generational scheme so it made
    sense to provide such support now. Leo Tötsch had a few comments to make
    about the different possible schemes and discussion moved on to the
    nastiness of doing GC in a multithreaded environment. -- Thread root

  SDL Bindings
    The SDL bindings that chromatic's been working on continue to develop.
    (Bah! People who insist on weird capitalization of their names and thus
    force me into the passive voice are jolly annoying, even if personally
    very pleasant).

  Python PMCs?
    Michal Wallace wondered what Dan's plan was for getting python objects
    working for the pie-thon. Michal has made a small start on wrapping
    PythonObjects as PMCs which seemed to work and was apparently easier
    than trying to recode them as PMCs. He pointed everyone at his current
    implementation. So far his post has been Warnocked. -- The wrapper implementation

  Docs and releases
    Tim Bunce wondered whether Parrot's documentation was in sync with
    current implementation reality, and when we'd see a clean way to make
    method calls. In a post dated the 3rd of February, Leo confessed that
    there is still a lot of outdated or unimplemented stuff in the assembly
    related docs and noted that Dan had said that the low-level object
    design would be done by the 30th of January.

  Backward branch, Warnocked
    Pete Lomax drew everyone's attention to a problem he'd found back at the
    beginning of December which Leo had said was a problem with a backward
    branch. He wondered when/if the problem might be fixed.

    Sadly the answer was "We're not sure when it'll be fixed, it's really
    hard to fix the current version of IMCC, but it should be easier to sort
    out in IMCCv2. For now, don't do that." Meanwhile, Harry Jackson tried
    to track the bug down to the appropriate bit of IMCC; his experiments
    with code variants seem to imply that the problem is with IMCC not
    recognizing that "ret" is a branch.

  Alignment issues with *ManagedStruct
    The redoubtable chromatic came across some issues with the alignment of
    members within a struct and wondered if there might be a better way of
    sorting out alignment issues than his current trick of explicitly
    padding things out (which he feels probably isn't portable). Leo pointed
    out that there was already support for offsetting struct members when
    setting up a *Struct PMC by using the third initializer parameter.

    As discussion of the best way forward continued, it emerged that Jens
    Rieks is in the process of writing a simple C-parser in IMC which should
    be able to parse header files and create ManagedStructs automagically.
    Go Jens. Tim Bunce suggested that Jens take a look at
    ExtUtils::XSBuilder for hints. Meanwhile Uri was looking at
    Convert::Binary::C which is apparently far more robust.

    Leo ended up listing a set of requirements for a script to parse C
    headers and generate the appropriate PIR code to set up various *Struct
    PMCs. -- Jens talks about his C parser -- Leo's requirements

  Baby, baby, where did my patch go?
    Gordon Henriksen wondered what had happened to a patch that he'd
    submitted to bugs-parrot. Robert Spier wasn't sure, but noted that the
    MyDoom virus was busy causing the servers a hard time (more
    than a gigabyte in 19 hours; Robert sounded a little fraught). As it
    happened, the patch had actually bounced from the list because it was
    huge. Everything got sorted out in the end though.

  Documentation tools
    Michael Scott continued his sterling work on Parrot's documentation by
    adding the Perl tools he used to generated the HTML docs to the tree at
    tools/docs/, he also announced that he'd finished the
    examples and the various *.c file directories and will be looking at
    classes next. I wonder how long it'll be before someone reimplements
    them in in PIR...

  Approaching PDD16 callbacks
    Leo announced that he's implemented a first hacky way to run PASM
    callbacks from C NCI functions; it's not a full implementation, but it's
    a start. As usual, he solicited comments. And so far he's not had any.

Meanwhile, in perl6-language
  The Unicode argument again
    Andy Wardley strongly advocated not making Unicode operators "«", "»"
    etc part of the core language. Larry disagreed, but proposed that any
    Unicode declarations should also have an "is ASCII('!@#$')" trait to
    specify the ASCII equivalent.

  Compiler writing tools
    Luke Palmer has been writing 'a lot of compiler' recently and posted
    some of his positive and negative experiences with YACC as possible
    pointers to the sort of things Perl 6's grammars might need. In his
    response, Larry once again demonstrated the truth of the proposition
    that "Everyone writes a templating module at least once in their life"
    when he confessed that "the first production language I ever wrote was
    an inside-out language where control commands were embedded in text that
    was to be output by default."

Acknowledgements, Apologies, Announcements
    Oops, reading back over last week's summary I realise that, when I meant
    to talk of going to see Eliza Carthy performing live, I actually wrote
    that we'd gone to see her perform life. Sorry about that.

    If you find these summaries useful or enjoyable, please consider
    contributing to the Perl Foundation to help support the development
    of Perl. You might also like to send me feedback at, or drop by my website. -- The Perl Foundation -- Perl 6 Development site -- My website, "Just a Summary"

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