Jonathan Worthington ::

Perl 6

This page contains a few bits about my involvement with the Perl 6 project. If you're looking for useful information about Perl 6 itself, then head over to There's also a site about Rakudo, the Perl 6 compiler I hack on.

Why do I work on Perl 6?

My main areas of interest in the computing world include programming languages, compilers, runtime environments and type systems. Working on Perl 6 brings all of these together into one big, fascinating and challenging ball. In many senses, my involvement in Perl 6 ended up being the path I chose as a kind of alternative to going to do a PhD, because it's more fun and, in the end, will more likely lead to something of value to the wider computing community.

I deeply believe that programming language design is a hollistic process. Academia seems to have a tendancy to make it all about mathematics, whereas in reality it's also highly important, along with the mathematics, to consider other fields:

Being designed by a linguist, Perl (all versions, not just Perl 6) certainly has a heavy linguistic influence. In many ways that's what makes it distinctive. The Perl 6 parser goes to a lot of effort to give good and helpful error messages, just one part of trying to make programming in Perl 6 a more pleasant experience. Perl 6 features roles (known in academic literature as traits), which give early warning of incompatibilities, easing development of large systems by a team. And the list goes on.

In many ways, I feel that Perl 6 isn't Just Another Language. It's got high goals: the aim is more revolution than evolution. If it was just a small, safe, incremental step, I'd probably have taken a lot less interest. It would probably also have been finished by now, but equally would have been a much lesser language than the one we're converging on today.

What do I do in Perl 6?

I work on the Rakudo Perl 6 compiler. Rakudo is, at the time of writing, the most advanced Perl 6 compiler in existence today. My focus so far has been on the implementation, and helping solidify the specification, of the following areas:

Going forward, my interests - in addition to those given above - will most likely include:


See my talks page for slides from the many Perl 6 talks that I have given.


My work on Perl 6 has been and continues to be funded by a few organizations.

I'm highly grateful for their financial support, and open to contact from any other parties interested in funding my work on Perl 6.


In the future, I will be available to provide Perl 6 training.

All content Copyright (C) Jonathan Worthington 2003-2011 unless otherwise stated.