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Bits from the perl maintainers

In this update:

- Completion of perl 5.12 transition
- perl 5.12 breakage
- Upgrade trigger
- Plans for 5.14

Completion of 5.12 transition

As you'll probably have noticed by now, around 12 months after
the first upstream 5.12 release, perl 5.12.3 was uploaded to unstable
and has now, thanks to the superb work of the release team, has
migrated to testing. This marks the first major new version of perl in
Debian for three years.

perl 5.12 breakage

Whilst we did our best to minimise perl 5.12 specific breakage
in the run-up to the upload by regularly rebuilding perl-related
packages, there will inevitably be the occasional problem to be
fixed. The upstream manpage[0] documents potentially incompatible changes.

In addition to changes documented upstream, the perl 5.12 packages
also included a change to the compilation flags, enabling use of
64 bit integers on 32 bit platforms. This triggered a few extra bugs
during rebuild testing.

If you find or fix a bug in a package which is triggered by the
use of perl 5.12, please let us know (at <perl@packages.debian.org>)
once it's fixed so that we can add a Breaks entry in the perl package.
This will help reduce problems appearing during partial upgrades to
wheezy. Note that this does not apply to cosmetic bugs where only
deprecation warnings appear. You can also add the usertag
perl-5.12-transition owned by the debian-perl@lists.debian.org user
to such bugs.

Upgrade trigger

If you are responsible for a long-running daemon which uses perl
and would be broken by a major version change, you can now make use of
the perl-major-upgrade trigger which was introduced in the 5.12 packages.
For example, your package could restart the daemon when this is

For more information about this, please see the debian-policy bug report[1]
on the subject. The first package to use this was spamassassin.

Plans for 5.14

The upstream perl community's plans now include a new major release
of perl 5 once a year, and Saturday's transition of perl 5.12 to testing
coincided with upstream's 5.14.0 release. An initial 5.14 package will
make its way to experimental soon, and we're hoping to start some archive
rebuild testing soon after that, with a view to (subject to approval from
the release team) an upload to unstable later this year. This should put
us in a good position for the wheezy release (although it will remain to
be seen which version wheezy ends up with).

It's not too soon to be checking your packages (and encouraging your
upstreams to do the same) for compatibility with perl 5.14, although
we'll be filing bugs where we discover issues during the course of
our testing. The release notes[2] at may be of use here.

Dominic, on behalf of the Debian perl maintainers.

[0] <http://perldoc.perl.org/perl5120delta.html#Potentially-Incompatible-Changes>
[1] <http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=619275>
[2] <http://search.cpan.org/~jesse/perl-5.14.0/pod/perldelta.pod>

Dominic Hargreaves | http://www.larted.org.uk/~dom/
PGP key 5178E2A5 from the.earth.li (keyserver,web,email)

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