2014.25: optimizations, more CPAN, more GSoC, YAPC::NA, and a release.

I’m sorry for keeping you waiting yet again; the GulaschProgrammierNacht 14 kept me busy and after it was done I was as tired as I haven’t been for a long time ;)

Here’s what’s been going on:

  • FROGGS is continuously working on the CPAN support for panda. His code can query and fetch distributions from CPAN already, and decompress the .gz part of the .tar.gz, but the Archive::Tar module still needs to be finished.
  • jnthn added the very first steps towards an On-Stack-Replacement operation. OSR is required to optimize hot for loops, for example. Usually, we trigger optimization when a function is called often enough, but with such a for loop, all we do is jump back over the same code over and over. Instead of “jump to this different function”, OSR has to directly jump over into optimized bytecode (or jitted bytecode) and make sure variables on the stack and exception handlers and all those things are kept in order.
  • The YAPC::NA (“Yet Another Perl Conference, North America”) is currently happening. As far as I’ve heard, there are only two Perl 6 related talks. Find the complete list of talks on the official website. A bunch of videos have already been uploaded to youtube at the time of writing. Find them in the YAPC NA Youtube Account. The Perl Six Youtube account also has a playlist of english perl 6 related talks that contains the YAPC::NA talks.
  • lizmat, with a bit of help from jnthn, optimized say and note if they are called with a single Str argument.
  • lizmat also worked more on the CompUnitRepo stuff in Rakudo as well as CPAN, implementing more and more stuff from S11.
  • lizmat implemented an :initial argument for my zip_latest Supply combinator. It helps in use cases where you want to get a combination of values from all supplies even if not all supplies have supplied their very first value yet.
  • jnthn fixed the behavior of the “item” sub. the “item” method has always been correct, however.
  • FROGGS implemented subbuf-rw and the “a” and “Z” directives to the unpack method. I’m guessing this is in order to satisfy the needs of Archive::Tar.
  • we updated parrot’s required revision to version 6.5.0, giving us nice things like unicode database fixes and faster core PMC classes.
  • carbin fixed the default file mode in MoarVM’s file ops to be 0666.
  • Mouq, smls and teodozjan did a bunch of work on doc.perl6.org; Among others, they implemented a design overhaul that had been made by another member of the community some time ago. It’s easier to find one’s way around the docs now and there’s more content!
  • japhb added a bunch of new bigger benchmarks to perl6-bench and also started implementing “history” comparisons among other things. Those show the timings of single benchmarks in different revisions of a backend as one line.
  • dwarring fixed and created more tests for the advent calendar articles.
  • masak wrote up an interesting article and with a bunch of code on his blog. It discusses and solves a problem called “Boxes and Pebbles”.
  • softmoth improved the look of modules.perl6.org.
  • bebus reported being able to run Perl 6 on a Nexus 4 android phone!

Another thing that’s happened is that the Rakudo 2014.06 compiler release got out. There’s the Rakudo changelog, the NQP changelog and the MoarVM changelog. The Parrot changelog can be found on the Parrot website, which also contains the latest progress report of the Parrot GSoC student.

Here’s a bit of an update for the GSoC projects:

  • This week, mentors are submitting evaluations to Google for their students. I expect all three students to be allowed to continue; I’ve personally been pleased with their work!
  • brrt just pushed support for passing and returning floating point values to and from methods and then added some arithmetic operations. I didn’t run tests myself, but the fibonacci example supposedly runs 2.5x faster with the JIT than without. A pretty good start!
  • filip sergot built a binary “http-download” that is a very thin frontend to HTTP::UserAgent that can handle encodings like the chunked transfer encoding. Of course you can do your own requests rather than just downloads with that module.

There’s also a low-hanging fruit for you to try to fix:

  • MoarVM can be compiled with “computed goto” or without. On GCC, we could turn it on unconditionally and it’d result in a very nice speed boost, but our build system (more correctly: MoarVM’s Configure.pl) doesn’t do that yet. Should be fairly easy to fix and be quite helpful. EDIT: FROGGS did this just now.

Special thanks to raiph who pointed out a whole bunch of items for this week’s post that I’d have otherwise missed! Hope you’ll have a nice rest-of-week :)

- Timo

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