Scripting languages refreshed

Updated versions of two of the most widely used tools of systems administrators were released recently.

Earlier this month, the Perl volunteer developer community released Version 5.10 of its dynamic programming language ( The Tool Command Language and its associated toolkit, Tcl/Tk, also sport new features. The combined package of both is now up to Version 8.5.

While Perl originator Larry Wall has been promising a major update to Perl for several years ' the revamped version will be known as Perl 6 ' this newly released version, marking the 20th anniversary of the language's birth, mostly tweaks existing features.

The new Tcl features reduced memory use, faster list searches, improvements in specifying measurements in time, and support of arbitrary-precision integers.

The latest version of the toolkit features an improved look-and-feel.

In conjunction with these new versions, software company ActiveState ( has production versions of both languages. Version 8.5 of its ActiveTcl 8.5 is a production-ready distribution of Tcl for Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, and HP-UX. The company also released ActivePerl 5.10, a production version of Perl 5.10 used widely on Microsoft Windows and other operating systems.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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