Perl 5.16.0 is coming soon!

In October 2011, Jesse Vincent handed me the patch pumpkin, meaning that it’s now my responsibility to keep Perl development on track and moving apace. One of the biggest parts of this responsibility is making sure that we release new versions of perl, and that they’re fit for human consumption!

We’re getting quite close to the next production release, which will be perl 5.16.0. Right now, there are no open tickets marked as blocking its release, although there are a few that need to be looked at to decide whether they block. Even if so, we’ve got very few bugs on the radar, and we’re getting ready to get this thing out the door.

For those of you who haven’t been paying close attention to how perl 5 development has changed, it’s like this: almost all of the development effort goes toward the development branch of perl, “blead.” Every month we release a new development snapshot. Every year we release a new stable production release. As we approach each year’s new stable release, the amount of changed expected (and allowed) in blead is reduced. Right now, we’re in the frozenest part of the “code freeze” that precedes a stable release. Changes only go in if they’re simple and obvious bugfixes, or complicated but critical bugfixes, or documentation improvements. There are some other categories, but this is a good summary. The code freeze, like all things in Perl development, is a priority, but not a hard and fast rule.

The perl5160delta document, which describes what’s new in perl 5.16.0, needs some finalization, but not much more. After that, we’re just on the lookout for serious bugs, smoke failures, and stupid typos. Smoke failures get categorized as either serious bugs, flukes, or edge cases. Failures categorized as serious bugs need fixing before 5.16.0. The other kinds don’t.

So, this means that we could be looking at perl-5.16.0 RC1 within a week!

If you use perl 5, the most important thing you can do right now is test! Build perl from blead and test your code and your favorite modules. You can build perl with perlbrew very easily. Once you’ve got perlbrew set up, just run perlbrew install blead, switch to it with perlbrew use blead (or s/use/switch/ if you’re on an environment where use won’t work), and get to work testing.

Otherwise, you can clone git:// and follow the instructions in INSTALL. Build with the same options you use in production. Let us know what fails that didn’t fail before, either by running perlbug or mailing p5p if perlbug gives you trouble.

I’m hoping we’ll see perl 5.16.0 hitting mirrors in early May, and 5.16.1 a month or two later.

Written on April 28, 2012
🐪 perl
🧑🏽‍💻 programming