docs/gettingstarted.pod - Parrot Developer FAQ


I'm interested in helping out. What should I do? ^

You're already on the right track. This FAQ should help you find everything you need to become an active member of the Parrot community. Just look through the questions below and read the ones that apply to you.

Where can I get Parrot? ^

For the Parrot CVS website with the above instructions, check out:

Now that I've got Parrot, what do I do? ^

Now that you've downloaded Parrot, you probably want to try it out. All you need is Perl 5.005_03 or later, a C compiler (any ANSI C compliant compiler should do - if you find one that doesn't work, please report it to us), and some reasonable form of make. To do this, follow these three easy steps.

  1. cd to your parrot directory and run to create the makefile for your platform.
  2. Run make to compile everything and build parrot.
  3. Run make test to run the test suite and verify that everything works on your system.

Where's the Parrot documentation? ^

Well, Parrot documentation is a great place to contribute, should you be looking for something to do. Figure out which parts were confusing, and either help us fix them, or let us know where we should fix them. Luckily, all of the current Parrot documentation is included along with the Parrot distribution, in the /docs/ directory.

There is also some experimental auto-generated HTML documentation available by running the following command in the Parrot distribution's root directory:

    % perl tools/docs/ -s

To view the HTML documentation start with the page docs/html/index.html.

There are a few categories of documentation, each with different intents. It'll probably help to be aware of them before you go digging in. I highly suggest you check out /docs/pdds/pdd07_codingstd.pod for guidelines on how documentation is supposed to be laid out. For now, here's the executive summary:

Where can I find the main developer mailing list? ^

Most of the Parrot-related development discussion occurs on the perl6-internals mailing list. There are a variety of interfaces to the list:

In addition, there is a mailing list which logs all commits to the Parrot CVS repository. If you're interested in Parrot development, you might find it very helpful to subscribe and keep up on changes that people are making.

What other ways can I get in contact with the Parrot developers? ^

The mailing list is the main resource for Parrot development. However, there is an IRC channel which you may find useful if your problem is better solved with real-time discussion. To find this channel, visit the channel #parrot in the following IRC servers (either one will do):

irc:// or irc://

I've developed a patch. What should I do with it? ^

There's a lot of traffic that goes through the mailing list, and it's quite possible that if you send patches directly to the mailing list, they will get lost in the mailboxes of those with commit access.

As such, a better solution would be to submit your patch to RT, the request tracker system that maintains bugs and patches for the Parrot project. To visit RT, go here:

Or if you want to submit a patch, send an email to with the moniker [PATCH] (including the brackets) at the start of the subject so that it can be appropriately tagged in the RT system. Please note that you do not have to CC when reporting a bug. The RT system will correctly handle that on its own.

A listing of the pending patches can be found here:

I've found a bug, what now? ^

Well, if you know enough about the bug that you can fix the problem, please do so. Then you can create a patch and submit it to the list, with a better chance of your bug getting attention. If you're not able to solve it on your own, we're still interested in seeing what the problem is, and hopefully helping to resolve it. To report a bug, email with a brief description of your bug in the subject. For more information about the bug management system, see the previous question.

What other useful resources are there for developers? ^

There are several other useful resources that can be found via:


Revision 0.1 - 27 July 2002

Written to prepare for the fallout from TPC 6.