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The Perl 6 Summary for the week ending 20030119

Summary time again, damn but those tuits are hard to round up. Guess, what? perl6-internals comes first. 141 messages this week versus the language list's 143.

Objects (again)

Objects were still very much on everyone's mind as the discussions of Dan's initial thoughts about objects in Parrot continued. Jonathan Sillito put up a list of questions about Dan's original message which Dan answered promptly. Down the thread a little Dan mentioned that he hoped Parrot's objects would serve, reasonably unmodified for a bunch of languages (ie, he hoped that there wouldn't be a requirement for PythonRef/Attr/Class/Object etc), Chris Armstrong thought that, given what Dan had outlined so far, that wouldn't be straightforward. Dan thanked him for throwing a spanner in the works, asking for more details which Chris provided.

Meanwhile Jonathan had some supplementary questions... Hmm... doing this blow by blow will take forever. Suffice to say that details are being thrashed out. At one point Dan's head started to spin as terminology mismatches started to bite, leading Nicholas Clark to suggest an entirely new set of terms involving houses and hotels (but with some serious underpinnings).[] -- thread root, from last week. -- Jonathan's questions -- Chris Armstrong throws a spanner -- Nicholas Clark tries for a monopoly on silliness

Optimizing and per file flags

Nicholas Clark wrote about requiring the ability to adjust compiler optimization flags on a per file basis (brought up by Dan on IRC apparently) and proposed a scheme. Quote of the thread (and quite possibly the year so far): "When unpack is going into an infinite loop on a Cray 6000 miles away that you don't have any access to, there isn't much more you can do." Thanks for that one Nick.

The draft todo/worklist

Dan posted his current todo/worklist, which he described as "reasonably high level, and a bit terse". I particularly liked the last entry "Working Perl 5 parser". Surprisingly, there was very little discussion, maybe everyone liked it.[]

Parrot Examples

Joe Yates asked if we could add a helloworld.pasm to parrot/examples/assembly. Joseph Guhlin wondered what was so special about

    print "Hello, world\n"

that it would need a file of its own (though he did forget the end in his post, and segfaults are not really what you want in sample code).

Thoughts on infant mortality (continued)

Jason Gloudon posted a wonderfully clear exposition of the problems facing anyone trying to implement a portable, incremental garbage collector for Parrot which sparked a small amount of discussion and muttering from Dan about the temptation to program down to the metal.

Operators neg and abs in core.ops

Bernhard Schmalhofer posted an enormous patch adding neg and abs operators to core.ops. There were a few issues with the patch so it hasn't gone in yet and an issue with what underlying C functions are available reared its head too.

The eval patch

Leo Tötsch seems to have spent most of the week working on getting eval working and he opened a ticket on to track what's happening with it. The response to this can be summarized as 'Wow! Fabulous!'.

Once more, for Googlism, Leopold Toetsch is my hero.

Pretty Pictures

Mitchell N Charity posted some pretty pictures that he'd generated with doxygen and graphviz. Most of the responses to this suggested he use different tools. Ah well.

Solaris tinderbox failures

Andy Dougherty created an RT ticket for the Solaris tinderbox, which have been failing with the delightfully useful 'PANIC: Unknown signature type" and wondered if things could be fixed up to be a little more informative. Apparently it was as issue with Leo's recently checked in eval patch. So Leo fixed it.

Parrot compilers

Cory Spencer wondered about how the current compilers that target parrot work, noting that they seem to be duplicating a good deal of labour, and wondered if anyone had worked on a gcc like framework with a standardized Abstract Syntax Tree (AST). Everyone pointed him at IMCC. Gopal V also pointed out that, given the variety of implementation languages (C, Perl, Parrot...) sharing effort between the sample languages would be a little tricky, and mentioned his work on TreeCC (an AST manager).

ook.pasm eval

Leon Brocard had problems getting the eval based Ook implementation working. It turned out to be a problem with Ook's make test using parrot instead of IMCC.

Meanwhile, in perl6-language

The language list was a little fractious this week; I get the feeling that we're spinning our wheels slightly at the moment

Array questions

Piers Cawley thought that my $b is $a would be a compile error, but Michael Lazzaro pointed out that that would mean that my %data is FileBasedHash($path) would also be a error. Damian pointed out that they shouldn't be compile time errors, but there would be no compile time type checking.

L2R/R2L syntax. Again.

Okay, cards on the table here, I'm getting really, really fed up with this thread. This week it was the monster that ate perl6-language. And how.

We revisited the Unicode argument (Larry has said that Perl 6 will have Unicode operators, some people don't like it, others (including me) aren't keen. Nobody came up with any original arguments this week).

Sarcasm was employed (and missed).

Michael Lazzaro brought up Perl 5's special case syntax for functions prototyped with block arguments which sparked some slightly heated discussion. Damian had some words of wisdom on this subject. -- Michael Lazzaro on block syntax -- Damian talks sense

Later in the thread, Damian clarified his explanation of how the proposed ~> and <~ operators would work in response to Buddha Buck's excellent summary of his understanding of them. If you're taking part in this monster thread I strongly suggest rereading both of these messages, they're excellent. The subthread from Damian's clarifications led on to a discussion of multimethods that's worth looking at too. -- Buddha Buck's summary -- Damian's clarifications

Larry's state of health and employment

Damian mentioned that "We should bear in mind that Larry has had some health issues. And that he's currently unemployed with four children to support. Other matters are taking precedence at the moment." Get well soon Larry.

This led to a discussion of whether the Perl Foundation would be continuing its grant to Larry in 2003 (apparently not). (The [email protected]'>a[email protected] list is supposedly the right place to discuss this further but I'm not yet a member.)

Who's Who in Perl 6?

  • Who are you?
  • Melvin Smith. I work for IBM. Former Linux hacker. My education is Computer Science. I am happily married.

  • What do you do for/with Perl 6
  • Wrote various pieces of Parrot, including continuations (woo woo!), IMCC, and Cola as well as heckle Dan on IRC any chance I get. Sadly, my contributions are fragmented and sparse, until I no longer have to work for a living.

  • Where are you coming from?
  • Country boy from Georgia. I have a 4x4 truck and a dog. Perl is my favorite language because it has made possible many days of finishing work early to play golf, and I love WOW-ing Java programmers.

  • When do you think Perl 6 will be released?
  • In digestable form, December, 2003. However, if the Raelians can clone Leopold Tötsch by July, then August might be possible.

  • Why are you doing this?
  • Solely to learn new things. There is no better way to learn how to write a compiler than to write one badly. If Perl6 never arrives, I'll be satisfied by what I accomplished.

  • You have 5 words. Describe yourself
  • Intense, stubborn, dedicated, happy and kind.

  • Do you have anything to declare?
  • Yes. Treat people on the Net just like your friends and coworkers. They just might be, one day.


Well, this set of acknowledgements may look slightly different than usual. This morning we had one of those meetings... If you've ever worked for a dot com you know the type; the whole company got called into a conference room that was two small at about two minutes notice and the boss spent 10 minutes umming and ahhing through a speech about retrenchment and cost cutting and... um... downsizing.

So, it looks like I'm about to become a member of the Copious Free Time club. I would take this opportunity to beg for a job, but if you do have jobs to offer Perl programmers Larry and Dan may be more useful to you.

Returning to your normally scheduled acknowledgements, many thanks to Melvin Smith for his answers to the Who's Who questionnaire. The answer queue is empty again so unless someone else sends some answers Who's Who will be on hiatus for a while. Send your answers to [email protected]'>5[email protected]

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  • [email protected].'>Send feedback, flames, money and or the complete Tarbell Course in Magic to [email protected]'>p[email protected].
  • The fee paid for the publication of these summaries on is paid directly to the Perl Foundation (but given my current situation I may be reconsidering that.)