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perl583delta (1)


perl583delta - what is new for perl v5.8.3


Please see following description for synopsis


Perl Programmers Reference Guide                  PERL583DELTA(1)

     perl583delta - what is new for perl v5.8.3

     This document describes differences between the 5.8.2
     release and the 5.8.3 release.

     If you are upgrading from an earlier release such as 5.6.1,
     first read the perl58delta, which describes differences
     between 5.6.0 and 5.8.0, and the perl581delta and
     perl582delta, which describe differences between 5.8.0,
     5.8.1 and 5.8.2

Incompatible Changes
     There are no changes incompatible with 5.8.2.

Core Enhancements
     A "SCALAR" method is now available for tied hashes. This is
     called when a tied hash is used in scalar context, such as

         if (%tied_hash) {

     The old behaviour was that %tied_hash would return whatever
     would have been returned for that hash before the hash was
     tied (so usually 0). The new behaviour in the absence of a
     SCALAR method is to return TRUE if in the middle of an
     "each" iteration, and otherwise call FIRSTKEY to check if
     the hash is empty (making sure that a subsequent "each" will
     also begin by calling FIRSTKEY). Please see "SCALAR" in
     perltie for the full details and caveats.

Modules and Pragmata
         A function "again" is provided to resolve problems where
         modules in different directories wish to use FindBin.

         You can now weaken references to read only values.


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         "cond_wait" has a new two argument form.
         "cond_timedwait" has been added.

Utility Changes
     "find2perl" now assumes "-print" as a default action.
     Previously, it needed to be specified explicitly.

     A new utility, "prove", makes it easy to run an individual
     regression test at the command line. "prove" is part of
     Test::Harness, which users of earlier Perl versions can
     install from CPAN.

New Documentation
     The documentation has been revised in places to produce more
     standard manpages.

     The documentation for the special code blocks (BEGIN, CHECK,
     INIT, END) has been improved.

Installation and Configuration Improvements
     Perl now builds on OpenVMS I64

Selected Bug Fixes
     Using substr() on a UTF8 string could cause subsequent
     accesses on that string to return garbage. This was due to
     incorrect UTF8 offsets being cached, and is now fixed.

     join() could return garbage when the same join() statement
     was used to process 8 bit data having earlier processed UTF8
     data, due to the flags on that statement's temporary
     workspace not being reset correctly. This is now fixed.

     "$a .. $b" will now work as expected when either $a or $b is

     Using Unicode keys with tied hashes should now work

     Reading $^E now preserves $!. Previously, the C code
     implementing $^E did not preserve "errno", so reading $^E
     could cause "errno" and therefore $! to change unexpectedly.

     Reentrant functions will (once more) work with C++. 5.8.2
     introduced a bugfix which accidentally broke the compilation
     of Perl extensions written in C++

New or Changed Diagnostics
     The fatal error "DESTROY created new reference to dead
     object" is now documented in perldiag.

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Changed Internals
     The hash code has been refactored to reduce source
     duplication. The external interface is unchanged, and aside
     from the bug fixes described above, there should be no
     change in behaviour.

     "hv_clear_placeholders" is now part of the perl API

     Some C macros have been tidied. In particular macros which
     create temporary local variables now name these variables
     more defensively, which should avoid bugs where names clash.

     <signal.h> is now always included.

Configuration and Building
     "Configure" now invokes callbacks regardless of the value of
     the variable they are called for. Previously callbacks were
     only invoked in the "case $variable $define)" branch. This
     change should only affect platform maintainers writing
     configuration hints files.

Platform Specific Problems
     The regression test ext/threads/shared/t/wait.t fails on
     early RedHat 9 and HP-UX 10.20 due to bugs in their
     threading implementations.  RedHat users should see and
     consider upgrading their glibc.

Known Problems
     Detached threads aren't supported on Windows yet, as they
     may lead to memory access violation problems.

     There is a known race condition opening scripts in
     "suidperl". "suidperl" is neither built nor installed by
     default, and has been deprecated since perl 5.8.0. You are
     advised to replace use of suidperl with tools such as sudo ( )

     We have a backlog of unresolved bugs. Dealing with bugs and
     bug reports is unglamorous work; not something ideally
     suited to volunteer labour, but that is all that we have.

     The perl5 development team are implementing changes to help
     address this problem, which should go live in early 2004.

Future Directions
     Code freeze for the next maintenance release (5.8.4) is on
     March 31st 2004, with release expected by mid April.
     Similarly 5.8.5's freeze will be at the end of June, with
     release by mid July.

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     Iain 'Spoon' Truskett, Perl hacker, author of perlreref and
     contributor to CPAN, died suddenly on 29th December 2003,
     aged 24.  He will be missed.

Reporting Bugs
     If you find what you think is a bug, you might check the
     articles recently posted to the comp.lang.perl.misc
     newsgroup and the perl bug database at
     There may also be information at, the
     Perl Home Page.

     If you believe you have an unreported bug, please run the
     perlbug program included with your release.  Be sure to trim
     your bug down to a tiny but sufficient test case.  Your bug
     report, along with the output of "perl -V", will be sent off
     to to be analysed by the Perl porting team.
     You can browse and search the Perl 5 bugs at

     See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following

     |Availability   | runtime/perl-512 |
     |Stability      | Uncommitted      |
     The Changes file for exhaustive details on what changed.

     The INSTALL file for how to build Perl.

     The README file for general stuff.

     The Artistic and Copying files for copyright information.

     This software was built from source available at  The original
     community source was downloaded from

     Further information about this software can be found on the
     open source community website at

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