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Alias (5735)

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Journal of Alias (5735)

Sunday April 13, 2008
11:51 PM

Strawberry Perl July release will be targeting mobility

[ #36142 ]

With the majority of changes in April Strawberry being aimed at business and server folks (XML, PAR, PPM and so on), the time has come to move in the opposite direction.

Sitting in Oslo airport with my my laptop auto-connecting to the "captured" wireless hotspot, and with a minicpan mirror on a flash drive that I couldn't get working properly, it struck me that by the time the Strawberry release is out I'm going to be on tour, somewhere between YAPC::NA and OSCON, and this lack of Do What I Mean (DWIM) trickery is really going to piss me off if I don't fix it.

So although I know I'm supposed to be waiting a month to review the situation, I'm going to shortcut that process, because after a week I already know what is pissing me off by not existing.

And so (in addition to the usual extra lib bundling and toolchain updates) the July release of Strawberry Perl is going to be all about scratching my itch and making Perl more mobile.

Captured Wireless Support

Watching CPAN clients explode because they trust that the index file is really an index file needs to be sorted. Whether this means LWP::Online support, or something more mirror-specific, either way we trust the CPAN mirror configuration far too much.

MiniCPAN Support

I want minicpan installed out the box. I don't want it automatically pulling mirror data (especially by default), but it really should be zero-configuration out of the box, just like is zero-configuration, and all I should need to do is run it from the Start menu for it to Just Work.

And the CPAN client should Just Know that it has a minicpan mirror to work with and automagically use it properly.

I also often hold a minicpan install on a flash drive I carry around. So if I plug in a flash drive with minicpan on it, I want the CPAN to Just Know it exists, and use that instead if the one on the flash drive is newer than the one on the laptop (or if there isn't one on the laptop).

Perl on a Stick

Speaking of Flash drives, I want to have a serious first shot at a "proper" Perl on a Stick implementation. I've done some experimentation with and CPAN/ in Vanilla that suggests it's mostly doable, but it's all very hacky. So I'm starting a slightly more formal second attempt based on a module I'm calling Perl::Portable (currently in only).

Fortunately, since nobody else has done this before I have some license to be bold and define some standards of my own.

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  • When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary to not make a decision.
  • (in addition to the usual extra lib bundling and toolchain updates)
    Will these include fixing the compiler chain to work under Vista? I realize that the OS is held in low esteem by just about everyone, but its out there and it's being used. What can I do to help? I keep trying various fixes I find on google vis-a-vis putting the parts of the tool chain explicitly in the PATH, but I still cannot compile consistently.
    "If you were supposed to understand it, we wouldn't call it code." - FedEx
    • Support for Vista will arrive as soon as the mingw bits and pieces become Vista-compliant.

      In the last week of March, there was a supposed-compatible release of the MinGW tools, but instead of making the default releases compatible, there's an ALTERNATIVE Vista package.

      So if you wanted to get started, I would checkout Perl::Dist, add a vista => 1 property to the constructor, and then start modifying the "install_mingw" type methods to install the regular or vista version depending on vista or not.
      • Hmm. I guess I need to look at the current installation to see which stuff is installed. Then I guess I install MinGW, copy the pieces we need and build another installation? Ok, let me see what I can do. I did not see evidence of an ALTERNATE Vista install at the Sourceforge site. Maybe it becomes evident with the installer.
        "If you were supposed to understand it, we wouldn't call it code." - FedEx
  • I've been wrestling with the same problem using the platform provided by the One Laptop Per Child Project. It has limited memory and no hard drive. They only provide support for Python. I could make a minicpan easy enough, but building the compile toolchain is daunting. It's on a FD7 Linux platform and uses an AMD chip.
  • On a slightly different subject of mobility, do you know off hand if strawberry perl would work on those new treo 700wx phones that run windows mobile 5?