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Next: How stable is Perl?
Perl4 and perl5 are informal names for different versions of the Perl
programming language. It's easier to say ``perl5'' than it is to say ``the
5(.004) release of Perl'', but some people have interpreted
this to mean there's a language called ``perl5'', which isn't the case.
Perl5 is merely the popular name for the fifth major release (October
1994), while perl4 was the fourth major release (March 1991). There was
also a perl1 (in January 1988), a perl2 (June 1988), and a perl3 (October
The 5.0 release is, essentially, a complete rewrite of the perl source code
from the ground up. It has been modularized, object-oriented, tweaked,
trimmed, and optimized until it almost doesn't look like the old code.
However, the interface is mostly the same, and compatibility with previous
releases is very high.
To avoid the ``what language is perl5?'' confusion, some people prefer to
simply use ``perl'' to refer to the latest version of perl and avoid using
``perl5'' altogether. It's not really that big a deal, though.
Source: Perl FAQ: General Questions About Perl
Copyright: Copyright (c) 1997 Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington.
Previous: Which version of Perl should I use?
(Corrections, notes, and links courtesy of RocketAware.com)
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