FAQ
On behalf of the Rakudo and Perl 6 development teams, I'm happy to
announce the January 2011 release of "Rakudo Star", a useful and usable
distribution of Perl 6. The tarball for the January 2011 release is
available from <http://github.com/rakudo/star/downloads>.

Starting with this January 2011 release, Rakudo Star releases will be
created on a three-month cycle, or as needed in response to important
bug fixes or improvements. (The Rakudo compiler will continue with
monthly releases.) The next planned release of Rakudo Star will be
in April 2011.

Rakudo Star is aimed at "early adopters" of Perl 6. We know that
it still has some bugs, it is far slower than it ought to be, and
there are some advanced pieces of the Perl 6 language specification
that aren't implemented yet. But Rakudo Perl 6 in its current form
is also proving to be viable (and fun) for developing applications
and exploring a great new language. These "Star" releases are
intended to make Perl 6 more widely available to programmers, grow
the Perl 6 codebase, and gain additional end-user feedback about the
Perl 6 language and Rakudo's implementation of it.

In the Perl 6 world, we make a distinction between the language
("Perl 6") and specific implementations of the language such as
"Rakudo Perl". The January 2011 Star release includes release #37
of the Rakudo Perl 6 compiler [1], version 3.0.0 of the Parrot
Virtual Machine [2], and various modules, documentation,
and other resources collected from the Perl 6 community.

This release of Rakudo Star adds the following features over the
previous Star release:
* faster subroutine calls (type cache)
* implemented 'handles Rolename' trait
* 'use Devel::Trace' debugging pragma
* improved parsing of keyword boundaries
* faster .comb

There are some key features of Perl 6 that Rakudo Star does not
yet handle appropriately, although they will appear in upcoming
releases. Some of the not-quite-there features include:
* nested package definitions
* binary objects, native types, pack and unpack
* typed arrays
* macros
* state variables
* threads and concurrency
* Unicode strings at levels other than codepoints
* pre and post constraints, and some other phasers
* interactive readline that understands Unicode
* backslash escapes in regex <[...]> character classes
* non-blocking I/O
* most of Synopsis 9
* perl6doc or pod manipulation tools

In many places we've tried to make Rakudo smart enough to inform the
programmer that a given feature isn't implemented, but there are
many that we've missed. Bug reports about missing and broken
features are welcomed at <rakudobug@perl.org>.

See http://perl6.org/ for links to much more information about
Perl 6, including documentation, example code, tutorials, reference
materials, specification documents, and other supporting resources.
An updated draft of a Perl 6 book is available as
<docs/UsingPerl6-draft.pdf> in the release tarball.

The development team thanks all of the contributors and sponsors
for making Rakudo Star possible. If you would like to contribute,
see <http://rakudo.org/how-to-help>, ask on the perl6-compiler@perl.org
mailing list, or join us on IRC #perl6 on freenode.

[1] http://github.com/rakudo/rakudo
[2] http://parrot.org/

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