Perl 6 Is Now Known as ‘Raku,’ It Seems

The last thing we need is a new programming language to keep track of, but that’s what we’re getting… sort of. Signs within the Perl community point to version 6 being re-named ‘Raku.’ While the name is straightforward, the shift is likely to spark confusion within the Perl community.

Name-wise, Raku seems a direct nod to the Rakudo compiler for Perl 6, though there’s no official reference to it on Perl’s official website. (Other named bandied include “Camilla,” Perl 6’s butterfly mascot, and “Wall,” an homage to Perl creator Larry Wall.)

Wall approved the name change to Raku via GitHub, writing: “I am in favor of this change, because it reflects an ancient wisdom,” before copy-pasting this nugget:

No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

It’s a Bible reference. What?

In a Hacker News thread about the change, Perl programmer Curtis “Ovid” Poe said the Perl community wanted to change Perl 6’s name because it was such a departure from Perl 5 that it was viewed as a “sister language” rather than a new version.

Moving forward, Perl 5 will simply be “Perl,” and be developed via its own pathway. Raku will also exist as a standalone language, as “no clear upgrade path from Perl 5 to Perl 6” exists, Poe added.

“If I had my choice, I’d program in Raku because it’s a lovely language addressing many pain points (including being one of the few dynamic languages with a working concurrency model),” Poe continued. “But it’s not adopted widely enough yet for that to happen. Time will tell.” In the interim, if you work at all with Perl, get ready to say “Raku” over and over again.

4 Responses to “Perl 6 Is Now Known as ‘Raku,’ It Seems”

  1. 1) it’s Camelia, not Camilla.

    2) “It’s a Bible reference. What?”
    This is a well known part of Larry’s life. Perl came from “pearl of great price” and the bless keyword came about similarly.

    3) “In the interim, if you work at all with Perl, get ready to say ‘Raku’ over and over again”
    Most people working with Perl already don’t talk about Perl 6, so they should be very safe from having to talk about Raku. Hopefully those us using Raku can leave the Perl baggage behind now.

  2. That one (and others like “Pathologically eclectic rubbish lister” are actually “backronyms” — backfilled acronyms. Larry has confirmed what Max said: that perl is a sidelong allusion to the pearl of great price in the Bible.