Go 1 Release Notes

Introduction to Go 1

Go version 1, Go 1 for short, defines a language and a set of core libraries that provide a stable foundation for creating reliable products, projects, and publications.

The driving motivation for Go 1 is stability for its users. People should be able to write Go programs and expect that they will continue to compile and run without change, on a time scale of years, including in production environments such as Google App Engine. Similarly, people should be able to write books about Go, be able to say which version of Go the book is describing, and have that version number still be meaningful much later.

Code that compiles in Go 1 should, with few exceptions, continue to compile and run throughout the lifetime of that version, even as we issue updates and bug fixes such as Go version 1.1, 1.2, and so on. Other than critical fixes, changes made to the language and library for subsequent releases of Go 1 may add functionality but will not break existing Go 1 programs. The Go 1 compatibility document explains the compatibility guidelines in more detail.

Go 1 is a representation of Go as it used today, not a wholesale rethinking of the language. We avoided designing new features and instead focused on cleaning up problems and inconsistencies and improving portability. There are a number changes to the Go language and packages that we had considered for some time and prototyped but not released primarily because they are significant and backwards-incompatible. Go 1 was an opportunity to get them out, which is helpful for the long term, but also means that Go 1 introduces incompatibilities for old programs. Fortunately, the go fix tool can automate much of the work needed to bring programs up to the Go 1 standard.

This document outlines the major changes in Go 1 that will affect programmers updating existing code; its reference point is the prior release, r60 (tagged as r60.3). It also explains how to update code from r60 to run under Go 1.

Changes to the language


The append predeclared variadic function makes it easy to grow a slice by adding elements to the end. A common use is to add bytes to the end of a byte slice when generating output. However, append did not provide a way to append a string to a []byte, which is another common case.

    greeting := []byte{}
    greeting = append(greeting, []byte("hello ")...)

By analogy with the similar property of copy, Go 1 permits a string to be appended (byte-wise) directly to a byte slice, reducing the friction between strings and byte slices. The conversion is no longer necessary:

    greeting = append(greeting, "world"...)

Updating: This is a new feature, so existing code needs no changes.


The close predeclared function provides a mechanism for a sender to signal that no more values will be sent. It is important to the implementation of for range loops over channels and is helpful in other situations. Partly by design and partly because of race conditions that can occur otherwise, it is intended for use only by the goroutine sending on the channel, not by the goroutine receiving data. However, before Go 1 there was no compile-time checking that close was being used correctly.

To close this gap, at least in part, Go 1 disallows close on receive-only channels. Attempting to close such a channel is a compile-time error.

    var c chan int
    var csend chan<- int = c
    var crecv <-chan int = c
    close(c)     // legal
    close(csend) // legal
    close(crecv) // illegal

Updating: Existing code that attempts to close a receive-only channel was erroneous even before Go 1 and should be fixed. The compiler will now reject such code.

Composite literals

In Go 1, a composite literal of array, slice, or map type can elide the type specification for the elements’ initializers if they are of pointer type. All four of the initializations in this example are legal; the last one was illegal before Go 1.

    type Date struct {
        month string
        day   int
    // Struct values, fully qualified; always legal.
    holiday1 := []Date{
        Date{"Feb", 14},
        Date{"Nov", 11},
        Date{"Dec", 25},
    // Struct values, type name elided; always legal.
    holiday2 := []Date{
        {"Feb", 14},
        {"Nov", 11},
        {"Dec", 25},
    // Pointers, fully qualified, always legal.
    holiday3 := []*Date{
        &Date{"Feb", 14},
        &Date{"Nov", 11},
        &Date{"Dec", 25},
    // Pointers, type name elided; legal in Go 1.
    holiday4 := []*Date{
        {"Feb", 14},
        {"Nov", 11},
        {"Dec", 25},

Updating: This change has no effect on existing code, but the command gofmt -s applied to existing source will, among other things, elide explicit element types wherever permitted.

Goroutines during init

The old language defined that go statements executed during initialization created goroutines but that they did not begin to run until initialization of the entire program was complete. This introduced clumsiness in many places and, in effect, limited the utility of the init construct: if it was possible for another package to use the library during initialization, the library was forced to avoid goroutines. This design was done for reasons of simplicity and safety but, as our confidence in the language grew, it seemed unnecessary. Running goroutines during initialization is no more complex or unsafe than running them during normal execution.

In Go 1, code that uses goroutines can be called from init routines and global initialization expressions without introducing a deadlock.

var PackageGlobal int

func init() {
    c := make(chan int)
    go initializationFunction(c)
    PackageGlobal = <-c

Updating: This is a new feature, so existing code needs no changes, although it’s possible that code that depends on goroutines not starting before main will break. There was no such code in the standard repository.

The rune type

The language spec allows the int type to be 32 or 64 bits wide, but current implementations set int to 32 bits even on 64-bit platforms. It would be preferable to have int be 64 bits on 64-bit platforms. (There are important consequences for indexing large slices.) However, this change would waste space when processing Unicode characters with the old language because the int type was also used to hold Unicode code points: each code point would waste an extra 32 bits of storage if int grew from 32 bits to 64.

To make changing to 64-bit int feasible, Go 1 introduces a new basic type, rune, to represent individual Unicode code points. It is an alias for int32, analogous to byte as an alias for uint8.

Character literals such as 'a', '語', and '\u0345' now have default type rune, analogous to 1.0 having default type float64. A variable initialized to a character constant will therefore have type rune unless otherwise specified.

Libraries have been updated to use rune rather than int when appropriate. For instance, the functions unicode.ToLower and relatives now take and return a rune.

    delta := 'δ' // delta has type rune.
    var DELTA rune
    DELTA = unicode.ToUpper(delta)
    epsilon := unicode.ToLower(DELTA + 1)
    if epsilon != 'δ'+1 {
        log.Fatal("inconsistent casing for Greek")

Updating: Most source code will be unaffected by this because the type inference from := initializers introduces the new type silently, and it propagates from there. Some code may get type errors that a trivial conversion will resolve.

The error type

Go 1 introduces a new built-in type, error, which has the following definition:

    type error interface {
        Error() string

Since the consequences of this type are all in the package library, it is discussed below.

Deleting from maps

In the old language, to delete the entry with key k from map m, one wrote the statement,

    m[k] = value, false

This syntax was a peculiar special case, the only two-to-one assignment. It required passing a value (usually ignored) that is evaluated but discarded, plus a boolean that was nearly always the constant false. It did the job but was odd and a point of contention.

In Go 1, that syntax has gone; instead there is a new built-in function, delete. The call

    delete(m, k)

will delete the map entry retrieved by the expression m[k]. There is no return value. Deleting a non-existent entry is a no-op.

Updating: Running go fix will convert expressions of the form m[k] = value, false into delete(m, k) when it is clear that the ignored value can be safely discarded from the program and false refers to the predefined boolean constant. The fix tool will flag other uses of the syntax for inspection by the programmer.

Iterating in maps

The old language specification did not define the order of iteration for maps, and in practice it differed across hardware platforms. This caused tests that iterated over maps to be fragile and non-portable, with the unpleasant property that a test might always pass on one machine but break on another.

In Go 1, the order in which elements are visited when iterating over a map using a for range statement is defined to be unpredictable, even if the same loop is run multiple times with the same map. Code should not assume that the elements are visited in any particular order.

This change means that code that depends on iteration order is very likely to break early and be fixed long before it becomes a problem. Just as important, it allows the map implementation to ensure better map balancing even when programs are using range loops to select an element from a mapl.

    m := map[string]int{"Sunday": 0, "Monday": 1}
    for name, value := range m {
        // This loop should not assume Sunday will be visited first.
        f(name, value)

Updating: This is one change where tools cannot help. Most existing code will be unaffected, but some programs may break or misbehave; we recommend manual checking of all range statements over maps to verify they do not depend on iteration order. There were a few such examples in the standard repository; they have been fixed. Note that it was already incorrect to depend on the iteration order, which was unspecified. This change codifies the unpredictability.

Multiple assignment

The language specification has long guaranteed that in assignments the right-hand-side expressions are all evaluated before any left-hand-side expressions are assigned. To guarantee predictable behavior, Go 1 refines the specification further.

If the left-hand side of the assignment statement contains expressions that require evaluation, such as function calls or array indexing operations, these will all be done using the usual left-to-right rule before any variables are assigned their value. Once everything is evaluated, the actual assignments proceed in left-to-right order.

These examples illustrate the behavior.

    sa := []int{1, 2, 3}
    i := 0
    i, sa[i] = 1, 2 // sets i = 1, sa[0] = 2

    sb := []int{1, 2, 3}
    j := 0
    sb[j], j = 2, 1 // sets sb[0] = 2, j = 1

    sc := []int{1, 2, 3}
    sc[0], sc[0] = 1, 2 // sets sc[0] = 1, then sc[0] = 2 (so sc[0] = 2 at end)

Updating: This is one change where tools cannot help, but breakage is unlikely. No code in the standard repository was broken by this change, and code that depended on the previous unspecified behavior was already incorrect.

Returns and shadowed variables

A common mistake is to use return (without arguments) after an assignment to a variable that has the same name as a result variable but is not the same variable. This situation is called shadowing: the result variable has been shadowed by another variable with the same name declared in an inner scope.

In functions with named return values, the Go 1 compilers disallow return statements without arguments if any of the named return values is shadowed at the point of the return statement. (It isn’t part of the specification, because this is one area we are still exploring; the situation is analogous to the compilers rejecting functions that do not end with an explicit return statement.)

This function implicitly returns a shadowed return value and will be rejected by the compiler:

func Bug() (i, j, k int) {
    for i = 0; i < 5; i++ {
        for j := 0; j < 5; j++ { // Redeclares j.
            k += i * j
            if k > 100 {
                return // Rejected: j is shadowed here.
    return // OK: j is not shadowed here.

Updating: Code that shadows return values in this way will be rejected by the compiler and will need to be fixed by hand. The few cases that arose in the standard repository were mostly bugs.

Copying structs with unexported fields

The old language did not allow a package to make a copy of a struct value containing unexported fields belonging to a different package. There was, however, a required exception for a method receiver; also, the implementations of copy and append have never honored the restriction.

Go 1 will allow packages to copy struct values containing unexported fields from other packages. Besides resolving the inconsistency, this change admits a new kind of API: a package can return an opaque value without resorting to a pointer or interface. The new implementations of time.Time and reflect.Value are examples of types taking advantage of this new property.

As an example, if package p includes the definitions,

    type Struct struct {
        Public int
        secret int
    func NewStruct(a int) Struct {  // Note: not a pointer.
        return Struct{a, f(a)}
    func (s Struct) String() string {
        return fmt.Sprintf("{%d (secret %d)}", s.Public, s.secret)

a package that imports p can assign and copy values of type p.Struct at will. Behind the scenes the unexported fields will be assigned and copied just as if they were exported, but the client code will never be aware of them. The code

    import "p"

    myStruct := p.NewStruct(23)
    copyOfMyStruct := myStruct
    fmt.Println(myStruct, copyOfMyStruct)

will show that the secret field of the struct has been copied to the new value.

Updating: This is a new feature, so existing code needs no changes.


Before Go 1, the language did not define equality on struct and array values. This meant, among other things, that structs and arrays could not be used as map keys. On the other hand, Go did define equality on function and map values. Function equality was problematic in the presence of closures (when are two closures equal?) while map equality compared pointers, not the maps’ content, which was usually not what the user would want.

Go 1 addressed these issues. First, structs and arrays can be compared for equality and inequality (== and !=), and therefore be used as map keys, provided they are composed from elements for which equality is also defined, using element-wise comparison.

    type Day struct {
        long  string
        short string
    Christmas := Day{"Christmas", "XMas"}
    Thanksgiving := Day{"Thanksgiving", "Turkey"}
    holiday := map[Day]bool{
        Christmas:    true,
        Thanksgiving: true,
    fmt.Printf("Christmas is a holiday: %t\n", holiday[Christmas])

Second, Go 1 removes the definition of equality for function values, except for comparison with nil. Finally, map equality is gone too, also except for comparison with nil.

Note that equality is still undefined for slices, for which the calculation is in general infeasible. Also note that the ordered comparison operators (< <= > >=) are still undefined for structs and arrays.

Updating: Struct and array equality is a new feature, so existing code needs no changes. Existing code that depends on function or map equality will be rejected by the compiler and will need to be fixed by hand. Few programs will be affected, but the fix may require some redesign.

The package hierarchy

Go 1 addresses many deficiencies in the old standard library and cleans up a number of packages, making them more internally consistent and portable.

This section describes how the packages have been rearranged in Go 1. Some have moved, some have been renamed, some have been deleted. New packages are described in later sections.

The package hierarchy

Go 1 has a rearranged package hierarchy that groups related items into subdirectories. For instance, utf8 and utf16 now occupy subdirectories of unicode. Also, some packages have moved into subrepositories of code.google.com/p/go while others have been deleted outright.

Old path New path

asn1 encoding/asn1
csv encoding/csv
gob encoding/gob
json encoding/json
xml encoding/xml

exp/template/html html/template

big math/big
cmath math/cmplx
rand math/rand

http net/http
http/cgi net/http/cgi
http/fcgi net/http/fcgi
http/httptest net/http/httptest
http/pprof net/http/pprof
mail net/mail
rpc net/rpc
rpc/jsonrpc net/rpc/jsonrpc
smtp net/smtp
url net/url

exec os/exec

scanner text/scanner
tabwriter text/tabwriter
template text/template
template/parse text/template/parse

utf8 unicode/utf8
utf16 unicode/utf16

Note that the package names for the old cmath and exp/template/html packages have changed to cmplx and template.

Updating: Running go fix will update all imports and package renames for packages that remain inside the standard repository. Programs that import packages that are no longer in the standard repository will need to be edited by hand.

The package tree exp

Because they are not standardized, the packages under the exp directory will not be available in the standard Go 1 release distributions, although they will be available in source code form in the repository for developers who wish to use them.

Several packages have moved under exp at the time of Go 1’s release:

(The EscapeString and UnescapeString types remain in package html.)

All these packages are available under the same names, with the prefix exp/: exp/ebnf etc.

Also, the utf8.String type has been moved to its own package, exp/utf8string.

Finally, the gotype command now resides in exp/gotype, while ebnflint is now in exp/ebnflint. If they are installed, they now reside in $GOROOT/bin/tool.

Updating: Code that uses packages in exp will need to be updated by hand, or else compiled from an installation that has exp available. The go fix tool or the compiler will complain about such uses.

The package tree old

Because they are deprecated, the packages under the old directory will not be available in the standard Go 1 release distributions, although they will be available in source code form for developers who wish to use them.

The packages in their new locations are:

Updating: Code that uses packages now in old will need to be updated by hand, or else compiled from an installation that has old available. The go fix tool will warn about such uses.

Deleted packages

Go 1 deletes several packages outright:

and also the command gotry.

Updating: Code that uses container/vector should be updated to use slices directly. See the Go Language Community Wiki for some suggestions. Code that uses the other packages (there should be almost zero) will need to be rethought.

Packages moving to subrepositories

Go 1 has moved a number of packages into other repositories, usually sub-repositories of the main Go repository. This table lists the old and new import paths:

Old New

crypto/bcrypt code.google.com/p/go.crypto/bcrypt
crypto/blowfish code.google.com/p/go.crypto/blowfish
crypto/cast5 code.google.com/p/go.crypto/cast5
crypto/md4 code.google.com/p/go.crypto/md4
crypto/ocsp code.google.com/p/go.crypto/ocsp
crypto/openpgp code.google.com/p/go.crypto/openpgp
crypto/openpgp/armor code.google.com/p/go.crypto/openpgp/armor
crypto/openpgp/elgamal code.google.com/p/go.crypto/openpgp/elgamal
crypto/openpgp/errors code.google.com/p/go.crypto/openpgp/errors
crypto/openpgp/packet code.google.com/p/go.crypto/openpgp/packet
crypto/openpgp/s2k code.google.com/p/go.crypto/openpgp/s2k
crypto/ripemd160 code.google.com/p/go.crypto/ripemd160
crypto/twofish code.google.com/p/go.crypto/twofish
crypto/xtea code.google.com/p/go.crypto/xtea
exp/ssh code.google.com/p/go.crypto/ssh

image/bmp code.google.com/p/go.image/bmp
image/tiff code.google.com/p/go.image/tiff

net/dict code.google.com/p/go.net/dict
net/websocket code.google.com/p/go.net/websocket
exp/spdy code.google.com/p/go.net/spdy

encoding/git85 code.google.com/p/go.codereview/git85
patch code.google.com/p/go.codereview/patch

exp/wingui code.google.com/p/gowingui

Updating: Running go fix will update imports of these packages to use the new import paths. Installations that depend on these packages will need to install them using a go get command.

Major changes to the library

This section describes significant changes to the core libraries, the ones that affect the most programs.

The error type and errors package

The placement of os.Error in package os is mostly historical: errors first came up when implementing package os, and they seemed system-related at the time. Since then it has become clear that errors are more fundamental than the operating system. For example, it would be nice to use Errors in packages that os depends on, like syscall. Also, having Error in os introduces many dependencies on os that would otherwise not exist.

Go 1 solves these problems by introducing a built-in error interface type and a separate errors package (analogous to bytes and strings) that contains utility functions. It replaces os.NewError with errors.New, giving errors a more central place in the environment.

So the widely-used String method does not cause accidental satisfaction of the error interface, the error interface uses instead the name Error for that method:

    type error interface {
        Error() string

The fmt library automatically invokes Error, as it already does for String, for easy printing of error values.

type SyntaxError struct {
    File    string
    Line    int
    Message string

func (se *SyntaxError) Error() string {
    return fmt.Sprintf("%s:%d: %s", se.File, se.Line, se.Message)

All standard packages have been updated to use the new interface; the old os.Error is gone.

A new package, errors, contains the function

func New(text string) error

to turn a string into an error. It replaces the old os.NewError.

    var ErrSyntax = errors.New("syntax error")

Updating: Running go fix will update almost all code affected by the change. Code that defines error types with a String method will need to be updated by hand to rename the methods to Error.

System call errors

The old syscall package, which predated os.Error (and just about everything else), returned errors as int values. In turn, the os package forwarded many of these errors, such as EINVAL, but using a different set of errors on each platform. This behavior was unpleasant and unportable.

In Go 1, the syscall package instead returns an error for system call errors. On Unix, the implementation is done by a syscall.Errno type that satisfies error and replaces the old os.Errno.

The changes affecting os.EINVAL and relatives are described elsewhere.

Updating: Running go fix will update almost all code affected by the change. Regardless, most code should use the os package rather than syscall and so will be unaffected.


Time is always a challenge to support well in a programming language. The old Go time package had int64 units, no real type safety, and no distinction between absolute times and durations.

One of the most sweeping changes in the Go 1 library is therefore a complete redesign of the time package. Instead of an integer number of nanoseconds as an int64, and a separate *time.Time type to deal with human units such as hours and years, there are now two fundamental types: time.Time (a value, so the * is gone), which represents a moment in time; and time.Duration, which represents an interval. Both have nanosecond resolution. A Time can represent any time into the ancient past and remote future, while a Duration can span plus or minus only about 290 years. There are methods on these types, plus a number of helpful predefined constant durations such as time.Second.

Among the new methods are things like Time.Add, which adds a Duration to a Time, and Time.Sub, which subtracts two Times to yield a Duration.

The most important semantic change is that the Unix epoch (Jan 1, 1970) is now relevant only for those functions and methods that mention Unix: time.Unix and the Unix and UnixNano methods of the Time type. In particular, time.Now returns a time.Time value rather than, in the old API, an integer nanosecond count since the Unix epoch.

// sleepUntil sleeps until the specified time. It returns immediately if it's too late.
func sleepUntil(wakeup time.Time) {
    now := time.Now() // A Time.
    if !wakeup.After(now) {
    delta := wakeup.Sub(now) // A Duration.
    fmt.Printf("Sleeping for %.3fs\n", delta.Seconds())

The new types, methods, and constants have been propagated through all the standard packages that use time, such as os and its representation of file time stamps.

Updating: The go fix tool will update many uses of the old time package to use the new types and methods, although it does not replace values such as 1e9 representing nanoseconds per second. Also, because of type changes in some of the values that arise, some of the expressions rewritten by the fix tool may require further hand editing; in such cases the rewrite will include the correct function or method for the old functionality, but may have the wrong type or require further analysis.

Minor changes to the library

This section describes smaller changes, such as those to less commonly used packages or that affect few programs beyond the need to run go fix. This category includes packages that are new in Go 1. Collectively they improve portability, regularize behavior, and make the interfaces more modern and Go-like.

The archive/zip package

In Go 1, *zip.Writer no longer has a Write method. Its presence was a mistake.

Updating: What little code is affected will be caught by the compiler and must be updated by hand.

The bufio package

In Go 1, bufio.NewReaderSize and bufio.NewWriterSize functions no longer return an error for invalid sizes. If the argument size is too small or invalid, it is adjusted.

Updating: Running go fix will update calls that assign the error to _. Calls that aren’t fixed will be caught by the compiler and must be updated by hand.

The compress/flate, compress/gzip and compress/zlib packages

In Go 1, the NewWriterXxx functions in compress/flate, compress/gzip and compress/zlib all return (*Writer, error) if they take a compression level, and *Writer otherwise. Package gzip’s Compressor and Decompressor types have been renamed to Writer and Reader. Package flate’s WrongValueError type has been removed.

Updating Running go fix will update old names and calls that assign the error to _. Calls that aren’t fixed will be caught by the compiler and must be updated by hand.

The crypto/aes and crypto/des packages

In Go 1, the Reset method has been removed. Go does not guarantee that memory is not copied and therefore this method was misleading.

The cipher-specific types *aes.Cipher, *des.Cipher, and *des.TripleDESCipher have been removed in favor of cipher.Block.

Updating: Remove the calls to Reset. Replace uses of the specific cipher types with cipher.Block.

The crypto/elliptic package

In Go 1, elliptic.Curve has been made an interface to permit alternative implementations. The curve parameters have been moved to the elliptic.CurveParams structure.

Updating: Existing users of *elliptic.Curve will need to change to simply elliptic.Curve. Calls to Marshal, Unmarshal and GenerateKey are now functions in crypto/elliptic that take an elliptic.Curve as their first argument.

The crypto/hmac package

In Go 1, the hash-specific functions, such as hmac.NewMD5, have been removed from crypto/hmac. Instead, hmac.New takes a function that returns a hash.Hash, such as md5.New.

Updating: Running go fix will perform the needed changes.

The crypto/x509 package

In Go 1, the CreateCertificate function and CreateCRL method in crypto/x509 have been altered to take an interface{} where they previously took a *rsa.PublicKey or *rsa.PrivateKey. This will allow other public key algorithms to be implemented in the future.

Updating: No changes will be needed.

The encoding/binary package

In Go 1, the binary.TotalSize function has been replaced by Size, which takes an interface{} argument rather than a reflect.Value.

Updating: What little code is affected will be caught by the compiler and must be updated by hand.

The encoding/xml package

In Go 1, the xml package has been brought closer in design to the other marshaling packages such as encoding/gob.

The old Parser type is renamed Decoder and has a new Decode method. An Encoder type was also introduced.

The functions Marshal and Unmarshal work with []byte values now. To work with streams, use the new Encoder and Decoder types.

When marshaling or unmarshaling values, the format of supported flags in field tags has changed to be closer to the json package (`xml:"name,flag"`). The matching done between field tags, field names, and the XML attribute and element names is now case-sensitive. The XMLName field tag, if present, must also match the name of the XML element being marshaled.

Updating: Running go fix will update most uses of the package except for some calls to Unmarshal. Special care must be taken with field tags, since the fix tool will not update them and if not fixed by hand they will misbehave silently in some cases. For example, the old "attr" is now written ",attr" while plain "attr" remains valid but with a different meaning.

The expvar package

In Go 1, the RemoveAll function has been removed. The Iter function and Iter method on *Map have been replaced by Do and (*Map).Do.

Updating: Most code using expvar will not need changing. The rare code that used Iter can be updated to pass a closure to Do to achieve the same effect.

The flag package

In Go 1, the interface flag.Value has changed slightly. The Set method now returns an error instead of a bool to indicate success or failure.

There is also a new kind of flag, Duration, to support argument values specifying time intervals. Values for such flags must be given units, just as time.Duration formats them: 10s, 1h30m, etc.

var timeout = flag.Duration("timeout", 30*time.Second, "how long to wait for completion")

Updating: Programs that implement their own flags will need minor manual fixes to update their Set methods. The Duration flag is new and affects no existing code.

The go/* packages

Several packages under go have slightly revised APIs.

A concrete Mode type was introduced for configuration mode flags in the packages go/scanner, go/parser, go/printer, and go/doc.

The modes AllowIllegalChars and InsertSemis have been removed from the go/scanner package. They were mostly useful for scanning text other then Go source files. Instead, the text/scanner package should be used for that purpose.

The ErrorHandler provided to the scanner’s Init method is now simply a function rather than an interface. The ErrorVector type has been removed in favor of the (existing) ErrorList type, and the ErrorVector methods have been migrated. Instead of embedding an ErrorVector in a client of the scanner, now a client should maintain an ErrorList.

The set of parse functions provided by the go/parser package has been reduced to the primary parse function ParseFile, and a couple of convenience functions ParseDir and ParseExpr.

The go/printer package supports an additional configuration mode SourcePos; if set, the printer will emit //line comments such that the generated output contains the original source code position information. The new type CommentedNode can be used to provide comments associated with an arbitrary ast.Node (until now only ast.File carried comment information).

The type names of the go/doc package have been streamlined by removing the Doc suffix: PackageDoc is now Package, ValueDoc is Value, etc. Also, all types now consistently have a Name field (or Names, in the case of type Value) and Type.Factories has become Type.Funcs. Instead of calling doc.NewPackageDoc(pkg, importpath), documentation for a package is created with:

    doc.New(pkg, importpath, mode)

where the new mode parameter specifies the operation mode: if set to AllDecls, all declarations (not just exported ones) are considered. The function NewFileDoc was removed, and the function CommentText has become the method Text of ast.CommentGroup.

In package go/token, the token.FileSet method Files (which originally returned a channel of *token.Files) has been replaced with the iterator Iterate that accepts a function argument instead.

In package go/build, the API has been nearly completely replaced. The package still computes Go package information but it does not run the build: the Cmd and Script types are gone. (To build code, use the new go command instead.) The DirInfo type is now named Package. FindTree and ScanDir are replaced by Import and ImportDir.

Updating: Code that uses packages in go will have to be updated by hand; the compiler will reject incorrect uses. Templates used in conjunction with any of the go/doc types may need manual fixes; the renamed fields will lead to run-time errors.

The hash package

In Go 1, the definition of hash.Hash includes a new method, BlockSize. This new method is used primarily in the cryptographic libraries.

The Sum method of the hash.Hash interface now takes a []byte argument, to which the hash value will be appended. The previous behavior can be recreated by adding a nil argument to the call.

Updating: Existing implementations of hash.Hash will need to add a BlockSize method. Hashes that process the input one byte at a time can implement BlockSize to return 1. Running go fix will update calls to the Sum methods of the various implementations of hash.Hash.

Updating: Since the package’s functionality is new, no updating is necessary.

The http package

In Go 1 the http package is refactored, putting some of the utilities into a httputil subdirectory. These pieces are only rarely needed by HTTP clients. The affected items are:

The Request.RawURL field has been removed; it was a historical artifact.

The Handle and HandleFunc functions, and the similarly-named methods of ServeMux, now panic if an attempt is made to register the same pattern twice.

Updating: Running go fix will update the few programs that are affected except for uses of RawURL, which must be fixed by hand.

The image package

The image package has had a number of minor changes, rearrangements and renamings.

Most of the color handling code has been moved into its own package, image/color. For the elements that moved, a symmetry arises; for instance, each pixel of an image.RGBA is a color.RGBA.

The old image/ycbcr package has been folded, with some renamings, into the image and image/color packages.

The old image.ColorImage type is still in the image package but has been renamed image.Uniform, while image.Tiled has been removed.

This table lists the renamings.

Old New

image.Color color.Color
image.ColorModel color.Model
image.ColorModelFunc color.ModelFunc
image.PalettedColorModel color.Palette

image.RGBAColor color.RGBA
image.RGBA64Color color.RGBA64
image.NRGBAColor color.NRGBA
image.NRGBA64Color color.NRGBA64
image.AlphaColor color.Alpha
image.Alpha16Color color.Alpha16
image.GrayColor color.Gray
image.Gray16Color color.Gray16

image.RGBAColorModel color.RGBAModel
image.RGBA64ColorModel color.RGBA64Model
image.NRGBAColorModel color.NRGBAModel
image.NRGBA64ColorModel color.NRGBA64Model
image.AlphaColorModel color.AlphaModel
image.Alpha16ColorModel color.Alpha16Model
image.GrayColorModel color.GrayModel
image.Gray16ColorModel color.Gray16Model

ycbcr.RGBToYCbCr color.RGBToYCbCr
ycbcr.YCbCrToRGB color.YCbCrToRGB
ycbcr.YCbCrColorModel color.YCbCrModel
ycbcr.YCbCrColor color.YCbCr
ycbcr.YCbCr image.YCbCr

ycbcr.SubsampleRatio444 image.YCbCrSubsampleRatio444
ycbcr.SubsampleRatio422 image.YCbCrSubsampleRatio422
ycbcr.SubsampleRatio420 image.YCbCrSubsampleRatio420

image.ColorImage image.Uniform

The image package’s New functions (NewRGBA, NewRGBA64, etc.) take an image.Rectangle as an argument instead of four integers.

Finally, there are new predefined color.Color variables color.Black, color.White, color.Opaque and color.Transparent.

Updating: Running go fix will update almost all code affected by the change.

The log/syslog package

In Go 1, the syslog.NewLogger function returns an error as well as a log.Logger.

Updating: What little code is affected will be caught by the compiler and must be updated by hand.

The mime package

In Go 1, the FormatMediaType function of the mime package has been simplified to make it consistent with ParseMediaType. It now takes "text/html" rather than "text" and "html".

Updating: What little code is affected will be caught by the compiler and must be updated by hand.

The net package

In Go 1, the various SetTimeout, SetReadTimeout, and SetWriteTimeout methods have been replaced with SetDeadline, SetReadDeadline, and SetWriteDeadline, respectively. Rather than taking a timeout value in nanoseconds that apply to any activity on the connection, the new methods set an absolute deadline (as a time.Time value) after which reads and writes will time out and no longer block.

There are also new functions net.DialTimeout to simplify timing out dialing a network address and net.ListenMulticastUDP to allow multicast UDP to listen concurrently across multiple listeners. The net.ListenMulticastUDP function replaces the old JoinGroup and LeaveGroup methods.

Updating: Code that uses the old methods will fail to compile and must be updated by hand. The semantic change makes it difficult for the fix tool to update automatically.

The os package

The Time function has been removed; callers should use the Time type from the time package.

The Exec function has been removed; callers should use Exec from the syscall package, where available.

The ShellExpand function has been renamed to ExpandEnv.

The NewFile function now takes a uintptr fd, instead of an int. The Fd method on files now also returns a uintptr.

There are no longer error constants such as EINVAL in the os package, since the set of values varied with the underlying operating system. There are new portable functions like IsPermission to test common error properties, plus a few new error values with more Go-like names, such as ErrPermission and ErrNotExist.

The Getenverror function has been removed. To distinguish between a non-existent environment variable and an empty string, use os.Environ or syscall.Getenv.

The Process.Wait method has dropped its option argument and the associated constants are gone from the package. Also, the function Wait is gone; only the method of the Process type persists.

The Waitmsg type returned by Process.Wait has been replaced with a more portable ProcessState type with accessor methods to recover information about the process. Because of changes to Wait, the ProcessState value always describes an exited process. Portability concerns simplified the interface in other ways, but the values returned by the ProcessState.Sys and ProcessState.SysUsage methods can be type-asserted to underlying system-specific data structures such as syscall.WaitStatus and syscall.Rusage on Unix.

Updating: Running go fix will drop a zero argument to Process.Wait. All other changes will be caught by the compiler and must be updated by hand.

The os.FileInfo type

Go 1 redefines the os.FileInfo type, changing it from a struct to an interface:

    type FileInfo interface {
        Name() string       // base name of the file
        Size() int64        // length in bytes
        Mode() FileMode     // file mode bits
        ModTime() time.Time // modification time
        IsDir() bool        // abbreviation for Mode().IsDir()
        Sys() interface{}   // underlying data source (can return nil)

The file mode information has been moved into a subtype called os.FileMode, a simple integer type with IsDir, Perm, and String methods.

The system-specific details of file modes and properties such as (on Unix) i-number have been removed from FileInfo altogether. Instead, each operating system’s os package provides an implementation of the FileInfo interface, which has a Sys method that returns the system-specific representation of file metadata. For instance, to discover the i-number of a file on a Unix system, unpack the FileInfo like this:

    fi, err := os.Stat("hello.go")
    if err != nil {
    // Check that it's a Unix file.
    unixStat, ok := fi.Sys().(*syscall.Stat_t)
    if !ok {
        log.Fatal("hello.go: not a Unix file")
    fmt.Printf("file i-number: %d\n", unixStat.Ino)

Assuming (which is unwise) that "hello.go" is a Unix file, the i-number expression could be contracted to


The vast majority of uses of FileInfo need only the methods of the standard interface.

The os package no longer contains wrappers for the POSIX errors such as ENOENT. For the few programs that need to verify particular error conditions, there are now the boolean functions IsExist, IsNotExist and IsPermission.

    f, err := os.OpenFile(name, os.O_RDWR|os.O_CREATE|os.O_EXCL, 0600)
    if os.IsExist(err) {
        log.Printf("%s already exists", name)

Updating: Running go fix will update code that uses the old equivalent of the current os.FileInfo and os.FileMode API. Code that needs system-specific file details will need to be updated by hand. Code that uses the old POSIX error values from the os package will fail to compile and will also need to be updated by hand.

The os/signal package

The os/signal package in Go 1 replaces the Incoming function, which returned a channel that received all incoming signals, with the selective Notify function, which asks for delivery of specific signals on an existing channel.

Updating: Code must be updated by hand. A literal translation of

c := signal.Incoming()


c := make(chan os.Signal, 1)
signal.Notify(c) // ask for all signals

but most code should list the specific signals it wants to handle instead:

c := make(chan os.Signal, 1)
signal.Notify(c, syscall.SIGHUP, syscall.SIGQUIT)

The path/filepath package

In Go 1, the Walk function of the path/filepath package has been changed to take a function value of type WalkFunc instead of a Visitor interface value. WalkFunc unifies the handling of both files and directories.

    type WalkFunc func(path string, info os.FileInfo, err error) error

The WalkFunc function will be called even for files or directories that could not be opened; in such cases the error argument will describe the failure. If a directory’s contents are to be skipped, the function should return the value filepath.SkipDir

    markFn := func(path string, info os.FileInfo, err error) error {
        if path == "pictures" { // Will skip walking of directory pictures and its contents.
            return filepath.SkipDir
        if err != nil {
            return err
        return nil
    err := filepath.Walk(".", markFn)
    if err != nil {

Updating: The change simplifies most code but has subtle consequences, so affected programs will need to be updated by hand. The compiler will catch code using the old interface.

The regexp package

The regexp package has been rewritten. It has the same interface but the specification of the regular expressions it supports has changed from the old “egrep” form to that of RE2.

Updating: Code that uses the package should have its regular expressions checked by hand.

The runtime package

In Go 1, much of the API exported by package runtime has been removed in favor of functionality provided by other packages. Code using the runtime.Type interface or its specific concrete type implementations should now use package reflect. Code using runtime.Semacquire or runtime.Semrelease should use channels or the abstractions in package sync. The runtime.Alloc, runtime.Free, and runtime.Lookup functions, an unsafe API created for debugging the memory allocator, have no replacement.

Before, runtime.MemStats was a global variable holding statistics about memory allocation, and calls to runtime.UpdateMemStats ensured that it was up to date. In Go 1, runtime.MemStats is a struct type, and code should use runtime.ReadMemStats to obtain the current statistics.

The package adds a new function, runtime.NumCPU, that returns the number of CPUs available for parallel execution, as reported by the operating system kernel. Its value can inform the setting of GOMAXPROCS. The runtime.Cgocalls and runtime.Goroutines functions have been renamed to runtime.NumCgoCall and runtime.NumGoroutine.

Updating: Running go fix will update code for the function renamings. Other code will need to be updated by hand.

The strconv package

In Go 1, the strconv package has been significantly reworked to make it more Go-like and less C-like, although Atoi lives on (it’s similar to int(ParseInt(x, 10, 0)), as does Itoa(x) (FormatInt(int64(x), 10)). There are also new variants of some of the functions that append to byte slices rather than return strings, to allow control over allocation.

This table summarizes the renamings; see the package documentation for full details.

Old call New call

Atob(x) ParseBool(x)

Atof32(x) ParseFloat(x, 32)§
Atof64(x) ParseFloat(x, 64)
AtofN(x, n) ParseFloat(x, n)

Atoi(x) Atoi(x)
Atoi(x) ParseInt(x, 10, 0)§
Atoi64(x) ParseInt(x, 10, 64)

Atoui(x) ParseUint(x, 10, 0)§
Atoui64(x) ParseUint(x, 10, 64)

Btoi64(x, b) ParseInt(x, b, 64)
Btoui64(x, b) ParseUint(x, b, 64)

Btoa(x) FormatBool(x)

Ftoa32(x, f, p) FormatFloat(float64(x), f, p, 32)
Ftoa64(x, f, p) FormatFloat(x, f, p, 64)
FtoaN(x, f, p, n) FormatFloat(x, f, p, n)

Itoa(x) Itoa(x)
Itoa(x) FormatInt(int64(x), 10)
Itoa64(x) FormatInt(x, 10)

Itob(x, b) FormatInt(int64(x), b)
Itob64(x, b) FormatInt(x, b)

Uitoa(x) FormatUint(uint64(x), 10)
Uitoa64(x) FormatUint(x, 10)

Uitob(x, b) FormatUint(uint64(x), b)
Uitob64(x, b) FormatUint(x, b)

Updating: Running go fix will update almost all code affected by the change.
§ Atoi persists but Atoui and Atof32 do not, so they may require a cast that must be added by hand; the go fix tool will warn about it.

The template packages

The template and exp/template/html packages have moved to text/template and html/template. More significant, the interface to these packages has been simplified. The template language is the same, but the concept of “template set” is gone and the functions and methods of the packages have changed accordingly, often by elimination.

Instead of sets, a Template object may contain multiple named template definitions, in effect constructing name spaces for template invocation. A template can invoke any other template associated with it, but only those templates associated with it. The simplest way to associate templates is to parse them together, something made easier with the new structure of the packages.

Updating: The imports will be updated by fix tool. Single-template uses will be otherwise be largely unaffected. Code that uses multiple templates in concert will need to be updated by hand. The examples in the documentation for text/template can provide guidance.

The testing package

The testing package has a type, B, passed as an argument to benchmark functions. In Go 1, B has new methods, analogous to those of T, enabling logging and failure reporting.

func BenchmarkSprintf(b *testing.B) {
    // Verify correctness before running benchmark.
    got := fmt.Sprintf("%x", 23)
    const expect = "17"
    if expect != got {
        b.Fatalf("expected %q; got %q", expect, got)
    for i := 0; i < b.N; i++ {
        fmt.Sprintf("%x", 23)

Updating: Existing code is unaffected, although benchmarks that use println or panic should be updated to use the new methods.

The testing/script package

The testing/script package has been deleted. It was a dreg.

Updating: No code is likely to be affected.

The unsafe package

In Go 1, the functions unsafe.Typeof, unsafe.Reflect, unsafe.Unreflect, unsafe.New, and unsafe.NewArray have been removed; they duplicated safer functionality provided by package reflect.

Updating: Code using these functions must be rewritten to use package reflect. The changes to encoding/gob and the protocol buffer library may be helpful as examples.

The url package

In Go 1 several fields from the url.URL type were removed or replaced.

The String method now predictably rebuilds an encoded URL string using all of URL’s fields as necessary. The resulting string will also no longer have passwords escaped.

The Raw field has been removed. In most cases the String method may be used in its place.

The old RawUserinfo field is replaced by the User field, of type *net.Userinfo. Values of this type may be created using the new net.User and net.UserPassword functions. The EscapeUserinfo and UnescapeUserinfo functions are also gone.

The RawAuthority field has been removed. The same information is available in the Host and User fields.

The RawPath field and the EncodedPath method have been removed. The path information in rooted URLs (with a slash following the schema) is now available only in decoded form in the Path field. Occasionally, the encoded data may be required to obtain information that was lost in the decoding process. These cases must be handled by accessing the data the URL was built from.

URLs with non-rooted paths, such as "mailto:dev@golang.org?subject=Hi", are also handled differently. The OpaquePath boolean field has been removed and a new Opaque string field introduced to hold the encoded path for such URLs. In Go 1, the cited URL parses as:

        Scheme: "mailto",
        Opaque: "dev@golang.org",
        RawQuery: "subject=Hi",

A new RequestURI method was added to URL.

The ParseWithReference function has been renamed to ParseWithFragment.

Updating: Code that uses the old fields will fail to compile and must be updated by hand. The semantic changes make it difficult for the fix tool to update automatically.

The go command

Go 1 introduces the go command, a tool for fetching, building, and installing Go packages and commands. The go command does away with makefiles, instead using Go source code to find dependencies and determine build conditions. Most existing Go programs will no longer require makefiles to be built.

See How to Write Go Code for a primer on the go command and the go command documentation for the full details.

Updating: Projects that depend on the Go project’s old makefile-based build infrastructure (Make.pkg, Make.cmd, and so on) should switch to using the go command for building Go code and, if necessary, rewrite their makefiles to perform any auxiliary build tasks.

The cgo command

In Go 1, the cgo command uses a different _cgo_export.h file, which is generated for packages containing //export lines. The _cgo_export.h file now begins with the C preamble comment, so that exported function definitions can use types defined there. This has the effect of compiling the preamble multiple times, so a package using //export must not put function definitions or variable initializations in the C preamble.

Packaged releases

One of the most significant changes associated with Go 1 is the availability of prepackaged, downloadable distributions. They are available for many combinations of architecture and operating system (including Windows) and the list will grow. Installation details are described on the Getting Started page, while the distributions themselves are listed on the downloads page.