YAPC::EU roundup #1

Well, my talk yesterday on how we use perl to help in the development of Solaris went down OK - the only heckling was friendly (thanks, Nick ;-) and I was asked if I would release some of the bits I talked about as Open Source, specifically the stuff for allowing you to embed MySQL queries inside TWiki topics, and the mod_perl handler for doing SCCS history browsing. Something to do when I get back to the ranch.

The conference has wireless access, and by a fortunate coincidence my hotel room is directly across the street from one of the rooms we are using in the conference centre, which means I can get a wireless connection from my hotel room, which is a real boon!

I bumped into Abe Timmerman on Tuesday evening in The Crown - the only pub I've ever been in that is owned by the National Trust! Abe looks after the Perl Smoke framework - this is a distributed set of machines that run daily regression tests on perl on as many different machines types as possible. After last year's YAPC::EU I scrounged together five old machines and installed Solaris 2.6 through to Solaris 10 on them to add to the smoke pool. I'd been kinda busy and not really paying attention to the test output, and one of the machines had wedged in the test suite back in June and had chewed up over 2000 hours of CPU - oops! The test framework was also in need of an upgrade, so we set to and upgraded it - hopefully by tomorrow we'll see the first sets of results from the new version of Test::Smoke.

I also had a quick chat with Leo Toetsch about what needs to be done on the Parrot front (Parrot is the new interpreter engine that Perl 6 will eventually sit on top of). The first things that would benefit from some attention are getting Parrot to build well with the Sun Forte compilers, and then there's a whole load of stuff to do related to threading support, making sure the x86 JIT works OK on Solaris x86 and improving the sparc JIT, which hasn't received very much attention. So, loads to do once Solaris 10 ships and I get clear of some of my current commitments on the Open Source Solaris project.

I also grabbed Nick Clark to discuss an issue that's been a bit of a pain for us when upgrading perl versions. Perl uses its version number as part of the path under which it stores libperl.so - for example, /usr/perl5/5.8.4/lib/i86pc-solaris-64int/CORE/libperl.so. The problem with this is that if you upgrade to a later but binary compatible version of perl, the version number component of the pathname changes as well. This means that anything that explicitly links against libperl can no longer find it. In general this is anything that embeds a perl interpreter within itself - an example being the Apache mod_perl plugin that we ship as part of Solaris. The obvious fix is to put a symlink somewhere and link against that, however some perl5-porters mailing list discussion will be required to sort this out.

And lastly I managed to get a nice new orange Fotango pen from Leon Brocard - the one I got from him during YAPC::EU 2000 had finally given up the ghost. Reason enough for coming to the conference :-)

Categories : Tech, Perl, Work