This Week on perl5-porters (7-13 October 2002)

This Week on perl5-porters (7-13 October 2002)
  A new week, a new p5p summary. This week, the porters were busy with
  small bugs, compilation problems, and a few interesting new ideas. Read

Speeding up Unicode handling
  Jarkko Hietaniemi introduced his new idea by saying *I have a task for
  someone.* The purpose is to speed up string handling functions
  (length(), substr(), index(), etc.) on Unicode strings. Various
  technical solutions (involving different types of caching) were proposed
  in the discussion, but nobody volunteered yet to begin experimentation
  and implementation.

Module signatures
  Well, this is not strictly perl-core-related, but interesting
  nonetheless. Autrijus Tang reported that Module::Signature begins to be
  usable and deployed. This module allows to PGP-sign CPAN modules, via a
  special SIGNATURE file. now lists the signature
  on the module information pages, and the development version of CPANPLUS
  recognizes it optionally.

Taint propagation
  Jerome Quelin wondered why

      perl -Tle '$cmd="print q(foo)";$cmd.=".q(bar)" if pop; eval $cmd' foo

  fails with an *insecure dependency* error (bug #17867), while it doesn't
  fail when the regular form of "if" is used. Benjamin Goldberg explains
  that this construct is strictly equivalent to the expression

      pop and ($cmd.=".q(bar)")

  and an expression is tainted whenever one of its parts is tainted.
  Michael Schwern still thinks that's is a weird behavior, from a control
  modifier (tainting affects data, not control flow).

Versions too accurate
  The newest version patches (by J. Peacock) made a new test failure
  appear (on ext/Storable/t/code.t). Apparently, when a module is required
  from XS code, using a bare floating point value as the required version,
  the usual rounding of floats may transform the required version in a
  higher version number -- hence the require() failure.

Too safe signals
  Slaven Rezic remarked that the new safe signals may cause problems, when
  one wants to timeout an operation that involves a C library function.
  Hence some code that used alarm() for this purpose may stop working with
  perl 5.8.0. (See also bug #17341.) But this code was fragile anyway,
  being at risk of the SIGALRM perl handler being called in a manner which
  could segfault.

In brief
  Paul Johnson reported that the "for" statement modifier, used inside a
  "map", segfaults (bug #17771). Fixed.

  Nicholas Clark improved the error reporting and the documentation on
  "pack "w"" (compressed integers) (bug #17772).

  Nicholas Clark provided a few patches to Storable (version 2.06 should
  appear on CPAN in the near future.)

  Simon Cozens provided a patch to perldoc, to remove the annoying message
  *Superuser must not run perldoc without security audit and taint
  checks*. Applied with a few tweaks by Hugo, who added : *patches to make
  it run securely under tainting would also be welcome.*

  H.Merijn Brand reported that DB_File doesn't compile with db-4.1.24. He
  investigated the problem with Paul Marquess, but apparently it's not
  completely solved yet.

  Dan Sugalski uploaded the helpful module "Devel::Size" to CPAN, to find
  the memory usage of Perl variables.

  Tommy Wareing reported that the precompiled regular expression "qr/##/x"
  corrupts memory (bug #17776). Fixed.

  Nicholas Clark reported that "tr///" stringifies its argument, even when
  it's used to count occurrences of a character (bug #17823). Fixed.

  Brian Ingerson reported that $/ is not initialized at compile-time by
  the -0 command-line switch. Fixed.

About this summary
  This summary brought to you by Rafael Garcia-Suarez. It's also available
  via a mailing list, which subscription address is Comments and corrections are, as
  always, welcome.
10/14/2002 8:25:07 PM
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