perl 5.8.5

Scott Long scottl at
Wed Oct 6 12:57:52 PDT 2004

Ryan Newman wrote:
>> From: Garance A Drosihn <drosih at>
>> To: "Ryan Newman" <ryannewman47 at>, rainer at
>> CC: current at
>> Subject: Re: perl 5.8.5
>> Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004 15:12:00 -0400
>> At 6:51 PM +0000 10/6/04, Ryan Newman wrote:
>>>> From: Rainer Duffner <rainer at>
>>>> Is there actually anything that doesn't work with 5.8 but does
>>>> work with 5.6?
>>> The biggest problem is that 5.8 defaults to unicode support which
>>> ends up breaking a lot of complex applications.  I know that linux
>>> has shifted from 5.6 to 5.8 and this has caused a lot of people
>>> problems on the linux platform.
>> Here at work we are in the process of upgrading some older Linux
>> systems to a newer release of Redhat, and we have been nailed by
>> these unicode-related bugs in perl, particularly with some regexp
>> patterns.  In some cases this has caused a few scripts to fail
>> in subtle ways, which is to say the script "succeeds" and claims
>> everything went just fine, but the script didn't actually do what
>> it was supposed to do, and what it had been doing for the past
>> few years.  In at least some of those cases, I think these are
>> BUGS in the way perl handles the expression, and not "unavoidable
>> consequences of Unicode support".  That's just my opinion, though.
>> I don't know if perl 5.8 on FreeBSD will cause the same issues.
>> I have the impression that the default for unicode-handling can
>> be changed on a system-wide basis (at least on Redhat), but I am
>> not sure of the details.
>> Even though I have hit some of these problems, I do think it is a
>> good idea to make the change to 5.8 as part of FreeBSD 5.3-release.
>> People should be taking a bit more time to check, cross-check, and
>> re-check everything they are running if they are upgrading to
>> 5.3-release from 4.x-release.
> Having 5.3 default to perl 5.8 will add a lot of delay in several peoples
> migration from 4.x for sure.

I think that you might be overstating the status of perl in FreeBSD 5.x.
When you install 5.x, you get no PERL at all.  It's up to you to decide
which PERL you want.  Sysinstall has a hack that will install a PERL
package for you (which defaults to 5.6 right now but will soon default
to 5.8), but you can very easily say 'no' to this option and install
5.6.  Both 5.6 and 5.8 are on the disc1 media.  The choice is yours.


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