Installing Perl 6 on Debian or Ubuntu

Keep in mind, this is written on 09-Sep-2016 and stuff can change over time.

Perl 6 is developing rapidly, specifically, the MoarVM and Rakudo which comprise the environment that implements the Perl 6 specifications.

Every Linux distribution comes with Perl. Many have Perl 6 now as well. With Perl 6’s rapid development, these distribution packages of Perl 6 can be outdated.

This is how I installed Perl 6 in Ubuntu and this should also work for Debian. We rely on a system much like Perlbrew, called Rakudobrew to automatically download and compile the necessary stuff for us, and change our environment to be able to find perl6

Git Your Compile Tools

First, you need to be certain you have the tools and libraries necessary to compile stuff on your local machine.

apt-get install build-essential git

This will install the gcc compiler and various libraries along with the git version control system so we can download the latest rakudobrew and keep up to date over time.

Download and Install Rakudobrew

git clone ~/.rakudobrew
 echo 'export PATH=~/.rakudobrew/bin:$PATH' >> ~/.bashrc
 source ~/.bashrc

The first line uses git to download the rakudobrew archive into your home directory in .rakudobrew. No biggie. These instructions are taken (mostly) directly from the Rakudo site.

The second line alters your shell environment PATH to include this directory’s “bin” subdirectory. This is wildly dangerous unless you trust absolutely where you are downloading from, which is never a good idea. You can always just compile it yourself if you follow the instructions on the above-linked Rakudo site.

The third line alters your currently-existing PATH in your terminal to add that .rakudobrew/bin directory (you could also close your terminal and open a new one instead).

Have Rakudobrew Compile Rakudo and MoarVM

This bit’s the easy part now, thanks to Rakudobrew.

rakudobrew build moar
rakudobrew build panda

The second line builds and installs Panda, which seems to be a cpanm-like thang for Perl 6 modules. To have a complete Perl 6 experience, you’ll need some of those modules that are commonly bundled up with Perl. You can get them with

panda install Task::Star

And they’re you’ll have Rakudo Star! Like cpan or cpanm, it will take a while to download and compile the modules.

How to Run a Perl 6 Program

Easy enough if you’ve done the bit above to include .rakudobrew/bin in your shell path. You can just type “perl6” and have an interactive interpreter to play around with.

Or if you prefer to edit a file, you can run the file with

perl6 filename

Tough, eh? Or if you’d rather the OS knows to do perl6 for you, give it that magic hashbang at the top of the file like so

#!/usr/bin/env perl6
my $code = "about normal";say "I know nothing " ~ $code;
("I know nothing" ~ $code).say;
say "The new $code";

No need for warnings. No need for use Modern::Perl . No need for strict, Try::Tiny, etc.

There ya go!

One thought on “Installing Perl 6 on Debian or Ubuntu”

  1. Thanks !

    As ‘panda install Task::Star’ runs tests with prove, you need to install TAP::Harness first :
    panda install TAP::Harness

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