docs/gettingstarted.pod - Parrot Developer FAQ


This document is the Developer FAQ for Parrot.


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.

More current information is also available at

Where can I get Parrot?

The above instructions are also on the Parrot website:

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 5.8.0 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 perl 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.

We also have auto-generated HTML documentation, which is available through executing the following command in the Parrot distribution's root directory:

    % make html

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

We have several categories of documentation, each with a different purpose. It will, probably, prove useful to you if you are aware of them before you go digging around in them. We strongly suggest you review /docs/pdds/pdd07_codingstd.pod for guidance on how best to layout the documentation. But 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 parrot-dev (previously known as parrot-porters and 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 Git 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. Visit the channel #parrot on the IRC server Alternative IRC servers are and

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

See docs/submissions.pod for details.

I've found a bug, what now?

See docs/submissions.pod for details.

What other useful resources are there for developers?

A number of other useful resources that can be found via on the Parrot wiki, located at