Press Release: August 18, 1998
NEW PERL INTEGRATES WIN32 SUPPORT INTO ITS CORE Popular Language for Internet and System Administration Programming Receives Major Upgrade Sebastopol, CA -- Perl, the programming language which underlies most dynamic Web sites, has been significantly upgraded in version 5.005, which was released recently by the Perl Porters. The Perl Porters manage Perl development as open source software, freely distributing source code and accepting feedback and bug fixes from developers worlwide. With much improved Win32 support, Perl 5.005 has the potential to attract the large market of Windows programmers, according to O'Reilly & Associates, the company coordinating the oneperl group and numerous other Perl-related projects. The oneperl group played a significant role in the integration of divergent platform ports in version 5.005.
Perl version 5.005 has dozens of significant new features and literally hundreds of enhancements and bug fixes. While some of the new features are considered experimental, all of them expand the range and power of Perl in important ways. Perl is now capable of running threads if the operating system supports them. It includes a new compiler to generate native executables that cut down the startup overhead of scripts. There is also a Perl Object C++ Application Programming Interface (API), and vastly improved regular expressions. ActiveState Tool Corp. of Vancouver, Canada, created the C++ Perl API now included with Perl.
Perl, which stands for Practical Extraction and Report Language, was created in 1987 by Larry Wall, now senior programmer with O'Reilly. It has been widely used by system administrators, has long been known for its ability to process textual and other legacy data, and in recent years has become ubiquitous with Web developers who rely on Common Gateway Interface (CGI) to create dynamic sites.
This August 17-20, O'Reilly & Associates sponsors Perl Conference 2.0, featuring a large gathering of Perl developers--last year's event drew more than 1,000 to San Jose. The Perl Conference will be followed by Open Source Developer Day and the Open Source Town Meeting on August 21.
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PERL'S NUMBERING SYSTEM
Typical for an open source (freeware) software product, Perl does some things differently from other programs. The numbering system for Perl does not necessarily reflect the significance of the version changes; 5.005 is considered by Perl developers to be a major step over 5.004. To give a sense of the longevity of Perl version numbers, in ten years, there have been five major versions of Perl. Perl5, the fifth major release, took place in October, 1994, and was a major rewrite of the Perl source code. Perl4 took place more than three years earlier, in 1991. Perl1 was released more than 10 years ago, in January, 1988.
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