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What about Perl 6?

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Introduction

A lot of people have been wondering about the relationship between the commonly used Perl language, currently versioned at a version of 5 (also known as "Perl 5") and its so called "perl 5" implementation and the under development language known as "Perl 6". In order to avoid confusion, this page would like to clarify the situation.

Perl 6 is different from Perl 5

Perl 6 is a completely different language from Perl 5, and also incompatible. To some extent, the Perl 6 community of developers is different than that of Perl 5. Perl 6 is not meant to displace Perl 5.

Perl 5 (the language) and perl 5 (the implementation) are not going away

The perl 5 implementation is still under constant development, and is constantly improved. There is a steady and growing flow of CPAN modules written in Perl 5, and there's an active community of Perl 5 users, contributors and developers. The original plan for Perl 6 was not to completely displace Perl 5, but rather to provide a radical rewrite (of both the implementation and the language) with many improvements (and incompatible with Perl 5). It is assumed that Perl 5 will be used, improved and supported for many years to come.

Perl 6 has positively influenced Perl 5

Perl 6 features have proved to be a useful inspiration for recent Perl 5 developments, such as core features in perl-5.10.x, perl-5.12.x and future versions, and CPAN distributions such as Moose, autobox and Method-Signatures. Tim Bunce has written in his "Perl Myths" presentation that while some people think that "Perl 6 is killing Perl 5", it has in fact saved it and advanced it.

Is Perl 6 Still Perl?

That depends on who you ask. Some people feel that Perl 6 is so radically different from Perl 5 (which is in turn compatible with all the previous versions of the language), that it is no longer "Perl", enough to say that "Perl 6 will be a wonderful language. Too bad it won't be Perl.". Other people claim that there are enough similarities, and that since it was also designed by Larry Wall, who is the father of Perl, it can be considered Perl. In our opinion, it doesn't make a difference whether Perl 6 is Perl or not, because it is already called Perl 6 and either people will like it as such or not, regardless of the name.

How do I learn Perl 6?

The focus of Perl-Begin.org is about Perl 5. To learn Perl 6, you may wish to consider these resources:

  1. The Perl 6 Homepage
  2. Moritz's "Perl 5 to 6" series
  3. Perl 6 Maven - by Gabor Szabo.
  4. The Perl 6 Advent Calendar
  5. The Perl 6 Wiki

More Information And Opinions

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