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Perl 6 will break compatibility, says founder

By   |  December 7, 2008

Perl 6 will break backward compatibility, says founder Larry Wall. Of course, programming language Perl 6 has been the subject of speculation since it first got underway in 2001 and still no-one knows when it will finally be released.

This week in Sydney for the Open Source Developers Conference, Wall said that Perl 6 will not be compatible with previous versions of the language but will open up a new world of custom “languages” and interpreters.

Wall said that while Perl 6 will break backward compatibility it was important to simply the language. And in order to do that developers need to “get rid of old cruft, particularly the regular expression cruft,” Wall said.

“A lot of the unreadability of Perl is related to the regular expression syntax – and we didn’t do that, we got it from Unix. It needs to be end-of-lifed. Regular expressions are not strings, they are a sub-language. We took it and made it worse. There is this two-pass nature that is evil.”

Wall said that the developers “want to preserve as much of the Perl culture as we can so it’s still recognisably Perl, but nicer.”

Full report at ComputerWorld.

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