[roch-pm] Perl 5.8.0 has been released!
bmathis at directedge.com
Sun Jul 28 08:27:42 CDT 2002
Perl Foundation Announces Availability of Perl 5.8
HOLLAND, Michigan, 26 July 2002, http://www.Perl-Foundation.org/
The Perl Foundation today announced the release of Perl 5.8, the latest
version of the Perl programming language. It features better support for
cutting-edge computing platforms, unrivaled ability to deal with
international character sets and numerous new modules and performance
In addition, the Perl community's new QA systems enhance Perl's existing
reputation as a world-beating development tool with enterprise-class
robustness, a reputation that has seen it included in the default
installs of Apple's Mac OS X and Sun's Solaris 9. This release is the
culmination of over 2 years of work with input from some 700 developers.
It can be downloaded for free from www.cpan.org.
This release adds new functionality based on recent trends and
developments in the computing world. Improvements include overhauled 64
bit support, enhanced Unicode awareness, better large number support,
improved threading, regular expressions and IO and some 3000 uploads to
the CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network, the repository of Perl
extensions). More details of these improvements are included in the fact
Jarkko Hietaniemi, release manager for Perl 5.8, said, "Perl 5.8 is not
only the most feature-rich version of Perl yet, but thanks to our
extensive testing it is also the most robust and widely available Perl
release to date. Personally, I'm most excited about the enhanced Unicode
support because that gives us both better backward compatibility with
legacy data and an unprecedented opportunity to promote Perl in Asian
and other markets that use non-Latin character sets."
Larry Wall, creator of Perl, said "Perl 5.8 has all the hallmarks of a
release that will go down in history as one of the 'great' releases.
We've waited a long time for it, but now we're reaping the benefits of
that wait. I've been delighted that I could leave Perl in such good
hands while I dream about Perl 6. But while Perl 6 is still only a
dream, release 5.8 is here today, and it seems to me that 5.8 will turn
out to be not only the most solid release of Perl to date, but perhaps
the most solid release of any such large project in history."
Perl, the Practical Extraction and Report Language, was first released
by Larry Wall, a linguist and programmer, in 1987. Since then it has
become the automation tool of choice for systems administrators and
programmers around the world.
It is available for a bewildering number of platforms: virtually all
known and current UNIX derivatives are supported as are other systems
like Windows, Mac OS, VMS, MS-DOS, OS/2, QNX, BeOS, and the Amiga. Perl
is now included in the default installs of Apple's Mac OS X and Sun
Solaris version 9.
Perl is most commonly associated with web programming, being the
development tool of choice for many people serving dynamic, data driven
web pages. Several methods are available for running Perl on the web,
such as the ever-popular CGI and mod_perl, the enterprise-class
application module. According to Security Space, mod_perl is deployed on
over 1.6 million Apache web servers, a constantly-rising figure that
does not include the millions of servers running Perl through CGI.
Sites making use of Perl include Amazon.com, Wired, Slashdot.org, Alexa
and the Internet Wayback machine, a hundred terabyte archive which is
five times larger than the the Library of Congress.
"Perl makes our lives at Slashdot tremendously simpler than they would
be otherwise. Whether it is running our internal ticket system with RT,
or handling millions of page views a day with mod_perl, or writing tools
for maintenance and administration, Perl is the glue that holds
-- Chris Nandor, Senior Programmer, OSDN
Furthermore, Perl is used to run the critical systems of a huge and
varied set of people and corporations. Examples include:
- The U.S. Census Department
- The Swedish pension system
- A database containing seven centuries of Scottish Land rights
- The 300 plus gigabyte enterprise relationship management system of
UniCredito Italiano bank
- The document management system of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
- The famous Netcraft Internet survey
- MessageLabs' SkyScan Anti Virus system, which protects email sent by
the British government (and 7 million other messages)
"Perl is our language of choice here at MessageLabs for the majority our
infrastructure components. It has definitely contributed to our success
- being able to rapidly bring solutions to the table gives us a
competitive edge. I think we would find it very difficult as a company
to live without both Perl and the CPAN."
-- Matt Sergeant, MessageLabs
On top of everything else, Perl is free, both in monetary terms (the
latest version is always available for download from
http://www.cpan.org/) and because it is dually licensed under the GNU
General Public Licence and the Artistic Licence, which provide users
with the right to access and modify the source code.
Perl is backed by a huge community that voluntarily runs bug tracking,
testing, support groups, free lectures, grass roots conferences and
mailing lists aimed at users ranging from complete beginners through to
experts in obscure fields.
Larry Wall :
(email:larry at wall.org)
Larry Wall originally created Perl while a programmer at Unisys. He now
works full time guiding the future development of the language as a
researcher and developer at O'Reilly & Associates. Larry is known for
his idiosyncratic and thought-provoking approach to programming, as well
as for his groundbreaking contributions to the culture of free software
programming. He is the principal author of the bestselling Programming
Perl, known colloquially as "the Camel book." Larry received the Dr.
Dobbs Journal Excellence in Programming Award in March 1993 and the
first Free Software Foundation Award for the Advancement of Free
Software in October 1998.
Jarkko Hietaniemi :
(email:jhi at iki.fi)
Jarkko Hietaniemi is the Perl 5.8 Release Manager and was also the
creator and Master Librarian of CPAN: Comprehensive Perl Archive
Network. After getting his MSc in Computer Science, specialising in the
field of parallel computing. He now works for Nokia Research Center.
The Perl Foundation :
The Perl Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of the Perl
programming language through open discussion, collaboration, design, and
code. The Perl Foundation is a unit of the Yet Another Society (YAS), a
non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization based in Holland, Michigan.
FACT SHEET :
Improvements in Perl 5.8 over v5.6 include:
- Overhauled 64 bit support
Although Perl has long supported 64 bit architectures, 5.8 now includes
support for the very latest Intel platforms placing it at the cutting
edge of language support. In contrast to Java, which runs on only 15 to
20 platforms (source: Sun Microsystems web page) Perl scripts run (in
most cases, completely unmodified) on over 60 platforms. These include
virtually every flavour of UNIX, most versions of Mac OS (it ships as
standard as part of Mac OS X), all versions of Windows and many 'Big
Iron' mainframes such as IBM z/OS.
- Better, faster large number support
Perl has always been popular with the scientific community who enjoyed
its easy but powerful data manipulation features and its wealth of free
statistics, charting, graphing and output formatting add-ons. In
response to feedback, large number support has been extended - valuable
in statistical, mathematical and cryptographic applications. Bugs in the
numerical support of different platforms have been worked round to
ensure that Perl scripts run unmodified on as many platforms as possible.
- Improved threading
Perl provides multi-platform support for threading and forking,
attempting to provide facilities in emulation which aren't available
natively. This latest release makes it even easier to build
multi-threaded applications in Perl on a wider range of operating systems.
- Enhanced Unicode awareness
Perl's reputation as the premier text manipulation language available is
well deserved. With the formalisation of the Unicode standards for text
representation (designed to represent text in a multitude of languages
and character sets such as Kanji and Hebrew), Perl has extended its
internal string and regular expression functions, providing an
unrivalled ability for naturally dealing with internationalisation
issues. Because the XML 1.0 specification requires that all XML
processors understand Unicode, Perl's improved Unicode support also
makes it a natural choice for dealing with the data formats of the future.
- Regular expression extensions
The regular expression package in Perl has always been one its strongest
features and is much envied by other languages. The 1.4 version of the
Java programming language has finally received facilities for using so-
called 'Perl-compatible Regular Expressions'. Other popular development
tools that have incorporated Perl's flavour of regular expressions
- Stackable IO
The Perl platform agnostic IO (Input/Ouput) layer now allows various
operations such as line ending handling, Unicode support and compression
silently and transparently.
Because this is the most complete release of Perl ever, a team of
volunteers have put in place mechanisms which thoroughly check every
aspect of Perl, every night, on computers around the world. This
testing, which is unglamourous but invaluable, has helped make Perl the
stable, reliable, enterprise-class language that it is.
- Improvements to the CPAN
One of Perl's major strengths is the CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive
Network) which serves as a library for Perl extensions and utilities.
The envy of many other languages, it hosts an eclectic range of add-ons
ranging from Complex number support, to graphics and chart drawers, a
superb database abstraction interface and even a few comedy modules.
Staggeringly, since the release of Perl 5.6 in March 2000 there have
been more than 3000 uploads and updates to the repository, which only
serves to highlight how active the Perl community is. An automated bug
submission and tracking system has recently been added.
This press release can be found on the web at
Jarkko Hietaniemi's release announcement
Complete list of changes between 5.6 and 5.8
1.6 Million installations
Airforce, Sweden, Scotland, Italy, Canada
Apple and Mac OS are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. Sun
and Solaris are registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Microsoft, Windows, and MS-DOS are registered trademarks of Microsoft
IBM, z/OS and OS/2 are registered trademarks of IBM.
UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group.
VMS is a registered trademark of Hewlett-Packard Company.
BeOS is a registered trademark of Palm, Inc.
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