On behalf of the Rakudo development team, I'm pleased to announce the
December 2009 development release of Rakudo Perl #24 "Seoul".
Rakudo is an implementation of Perl 6 on the Parrot Virtual Machine
(see http://www.parrot.org).  The tarball for the December 2009 release
is available from http://github.com/rakudo/rakudo/downloads

Due to the continued rapid pace of Rakudo development and the frequent
addition of new Perl 6 features and bugfixes, we recommend building Rakudo
from the latest source, available from the main repository at github.
More details are available at http://rakudo.org/how-to-get-rakudo.

Rakudo Perl follows a monthly release cycle, with each release code named 
after a Perl Mongers group.  The December 2009 release is code named "Seoul" 
for Seoul.pm, who hosted Jonathan so well recently, and because they have a 
cake duck.

Shortly after the October 2009 (#22) release, the Rakudo team began a new
branch of Rakudo development ("ng") that refactors the grammar to much more
closely align with STD.pm as well as update some core features that have been
difficult to achieve in the master branch [1, 2].  Most of our effort for the
past month has been in this new branch, but as of the release date the new
version had not sufficiently progressed to be the release copy.  We expect to
have the new version in place in the January 2010 release, but may elect
to have an interim release from the new branch before then.

This release of Rakudo requires Parrot 1.9.0.  One must still
perform "make install" in the Rakudo directory before the "perl6"
executable will run anywhere other than the Rakudo build directory.
For the latest information on building and using Rakudo Perl, see the
readme file section titled "Building and invoking Rakudo".

Some of the specific changes and improvements occuring with this
release include:

* Rakudo is now passing 32,192 spectests, a "decrease" of 561 passing
  tests since the November 2009 release.  We pass fewer tests now
  because specification changes caused many obsolete (but passing)
  tests to be removed from the suite -- from 38,318 in November to
  37,376 now.  The percentage of passing tests has increased, from
  85.5% in November to 86.1% today.

* More improvements to the Rat type and related math functions to
  remain aligned with the specification.

The Perl 6 language specification is still in flux. Please take note of the
following changes, which might affect your existing programs. In the next
release of Rakudo, the deprecated features will likely be gone.

* The root of the object hierarchy has been changed from 'Object' to 'Mu'.
  The type 'Object' goes away.

* The term 'undef' is gone. You can replace it with other constructs,
  depending on context:
    - 'Nil' is undefined in item context, and the empty list in list context
    - 'Mu' is the most general undefined value which does not flatten in list
    - as a smart matching target, you can replace '$obj ~~ undef'
      by '$obj ~~ *.notdef'

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

The next release of Rakudo (#25) is scheduled for January 21, 2010.
A list of the other planned release dates and codenames for 2010 is
available in the "docs/release_guide.pod" file.  In general, Rakudo
development releases are scheduled to occur two days after each
Parrot monthly release.  Parrot releases the third Tuesday of each month.

Have fun!

[1] http://use.perl.org/~pmichaud/journal/39779
[2] http://use.perl.org/~pmichaud/journal/39874

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