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FAQ 1.4 What are Perl 4, Perl 5, or Perl 6? #5

This is an excerpt from the latest version perlfaq1.pod, which
comes with the standard Perl distribution. These postings aim to 
reduce the number of repeated questions as well as allow the community
to review and update the answers. The latest version of the complete
perlfaq is at http://faq.perl.org .

--------------------------------------------------------------------

1.4: What are Perl 4, Perl 5, or Perl 6?

    (contributed by brian d foy)

    In short, Perl 4 is the past, Perl 5 is the present, and Perl 6 is the
    future.

    The number after perl (i.e. the 5 after Perl 5) is the major release of
    the perl interpreter as well as the version of the language. Each major
    version has significant differences that earlier versions cannot
    support.

    The current major release of Perl is Perl 5, and was released in 1994.
    It can run scripts from the previous major release, Perl 4 (March 1991),
    but has significant differences. It introduced the concept of
    references, complex data structures, and modules. The Perl 5 interpreter
    was a complete re-write of the previous perl sources.

    Perl 6 is the next major version of Perl, but it's still in development
    in both its syntax and design. The work started in 2002 and is still
    ongoing. Many of the most interesting features have shown up in the
    latest versions of Perl 5, and some Perl 5 modules allow you to use some
    Perl 6 syntax in your programs. You can learn more about Perl 6 at
    http://dev.perl.org/perl6/ .

    See perlhist for a history of Perl revisions.



--------------------------------------------------------------------

The perlfaq-workers, a group of volunteers, maintain the perlfaq. They
are not necessarily experts in every domain where Perl might show up,
so please include as much information as possible and relevant in any
corrections. The perlfaq-workers also don't have access to every
operating system or platform, so please include relevant details for
corrections to examples that do not work on particular platforms.
Working code is greatly appreciated.

If you'd like to help maintain the perlfaq, see the details in 
perlfaq.pod.
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