Perl 5.004 Beta 1 Announcement

The Perl development team is pleased to announce the first beta test release of Perl 5.004. (Please note the word ``test''.) For version control purposes, this release is called ``Perl 5.003_94''; when built, its binary is called ``perl5.00394''.

You should be able to install and use this release of Perl under almost all families, mutations, and imitations of UNIX, as well as VMS, OS/2, QNX, LynxOS, AmigaOS, and Plan 9. (In the second beta there will be support for compiling Perl with Microsoft Visual C++ under Windows NT and Windows 95, but this support is not ready yet.) Patches to support other systems are welcome but probably will not be folded into the 5.004 release.

It is vital that you read the file *INSTALL before building this release; it contains information you absolutely need to know. For example, INSTALL explains how you can install this beta of Perl 5.004 without removing previous version(s) of Perl, and how you can make Perl 5.004 binary-compatible with Perl 5.003 (and why you have a choice).

There are several new functions and features in Perl 5.004, including a small number of unavoidable incompatibilies. See the change notices for details, in the file *pod/perldelta.pod. It is highly recommended that you read *pod/perldelta.pod before using this release if you have any previous experience with Perl.

We believe that there are no major bugs remaining in this release. Nevertheless, a good programmer knows that there is always one more bug. Therefore, we encourage those of you who can do so to try this release and report all bugs and difficulties, so that we can fix them before the final release. In other words, we want you to find bugs!

If you do find a bug, please report it to us with the perlbug script in the utils directory of the distribution. Since you may have older versions of perlbug installed, run it as ./perl utils/perlbug; to display its documentation, use the -h flag. If you cannot send external E-Mail from your development platform, or if you use VMS (where this release's version of perlbug has a bug; how ironic), you can still use perlbug to prepare the bug report and save it to a file, which you should then mail to to <perlbug@perl.com>.

If Perl didn't even compile, then you won't be able to use perlbug. Instead, compose your bug report by hand, being sure to include the output of the myconfig shell script included in the distribution, and mail it to <perlbug@perl.com>.

We re-emphasize: Please read *INSTALL and *pod/perldelta.pod. We are happy to answer questions, but our time is limited. By reading the *excellent documentation included with Perl before asking for help, you will save yourself time, you will save us time, and you will help us debug the documentation.

You will find this release on CPAN, the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network. The following URL at Tom Christiansen's web server (perl.com) will automatically direct your request to a CPAN FTP site appropriate for your location:

* http://www.perl.com/CPAN/src/5.0/unsupported/perl5.003_94.tar.gz
If you wish to retrieve the file entirely with HTTP, you can use this URL at The Perl Institute (perl.org):
* http://www.perl.org/CPAN/src/5.0/unsupported/perl5.003_94.tar.gz
Finally, to quote Douglas Adams: ``Share and enjoy!''
Signed,

The Perl Development Team


Chip Salzenberg          - a.k.a. -          <chip@atlantic.net>
 "Vacation time.  Families travel east, west, north, or south."
 "Some just burrow straight down." -- Crow T. Robot   // MST3K