[roch-pm] Perl 5.8.0 has been released!

Brian Mathis bmathis at directedge.com
Sun Jul 28 08:27:42 CDT 2002

From: http://www.perl-foundation.org/index.cgi?page=perl5.8-release
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 
sheet below.

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 
everything together."

-- 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.


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 
include Javascript (also known as ECMAscript) and Microsoft's .NET 

- 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.

- Testing

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

Message Labs


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.
QNX is a registered trademark of of QNX Software Systems Ltd.
Amiga is a registered trademark of Amiga, Inc.
Slashdot and OSDN are registered trademarks of the Open Source 
Development Network, Inc.
All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their 
respective owners

Brian Mathis
Direct Edge

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