PERLFAQ2(1) Perl Programmers Reference Guide PERLFAQ2(1)
perlfaq2 - Obtaining and Learning about Perl
This section of the FAQ answers questions about where to find source
and documentation for Perl, support, and related matters.
What machines support Perl? Where do I get it?
The standard release of Perl (the one maintained by the Perl
development team) is distributed only in source code form. You can find
the latest releases at <http://www.cpan.org/src/>.
Perl builds and runs on a bewildering number of platforms. Virtually
all known and current Unix derivatives are supported (perl's native
platform), as are other systems like VMS, DOS, OS/2, Windows, QNX,
BeOS, OS X, MPE/iX and the Amiga.
Binary distributions for some proprietary platforms can be found
<http://www.cpan.org/ports/> directory. Because these are not part of
the standard distribution, they may and in fact do differ from the base
perl port in a variety of ways. You'll have to check their respective
release notes to see just what the differences are. These differences
can be either positive (e.g. extensions for the features of the
particular platform that are not supported in the source release of
perl) or negative (e.g. might be based upon a less current source
release of perl).
How can I get a binary version of Perl?
See CPAN Ports <http://www.cpan.org/ports/>
I don't have a C compiler. How can I build my own Perl interpreter?
For Windows, use a binary version of Perl, Strawberry Perl
<http://strawberryperl.com/> and ActivePerl
<http://www.activestate.com/activeperl> come with a bundled C compiler.
Otherwise if you really do want to build Perl, you need to get a binary
version of "gcc" for your system first. Use a search engine to find out
how to do this for your operating system.
I copied the Perl binary from one machine to another, but scripts don't
That's probably because you forgot libraries, or library paths differ.
You really should build the whole distribution on the machine it will
eventually live on, and then type "make install". Most other approaches
are doomed to failure.
One simple way to check that things are in the right place is to print
out the hard-coded @INC that perl looks through for libraries:
% perl -le 'print for @INC'
If this command lists any paths that don't exist on your system, then
you may need to move the appropriate libraries to these locations, or
create symbolic links, aliases, or shortcuts appropriately. @INC is
also printed as part of the output of
% perl -V
You might also want to check out "How do I keep my own module/library
directory?" in perlfaq8.
I grabbed the sources and tried to compile but gdbm/dynamic
loading/malloc/linking/... failed. How do I make it work?
Read the INSTALL file, which is part of the source distribution. It
describes in detail how to cope with most idiosyncrasies that the
"Configure" script can't work around for any given system or
What modules and extensions are available for Perl? What is CPAN?
CPAN stands for Comprehensive Perl Archive Network, a multi-gigabyte
archive replicated on hundreds of machines all over the world. CPAN
contains tens of thousands of modules and extensions, source code and
documentation, designed for everything from commercial database
interfaces to keyboard/screen control and running large web sites.
You can search CPAN on <http://metacpan.org> or
The master web site for CPAN is <http://www.cpan.org/>,
<http://www.cpan.org/SITES.html> lists all mirrors.
See the CPAN FAQ at <http://www.cpan.org/misc/cpan-faq.html> for
answers to the most frequently asked questions about CPAN.
The Task::Kensho module has a list of recommended modules which you
should review as a good starting point.
Where can I get information on Perl?
The complete Perl documentation is available with the Perl
distribution. If you have Perl installed locally, you probably have
the documentation installed as well: type "perldoc perl" in a terminal
or view online <http://perldoc.perl.org/perl.html>.
(Some operating system distributions may ship the documentation in a
different package; for instance, on Debian, you need to install the
Many good books have been written about Perl--see the section later in
perlfaq2 for more details.
What is perl.com? Perl Mongers? pm.org? perl.org? cpan.org?
Perl.com <http://www.perl.com/> used to be part of the O'Reilly
Network, a subsidiary of O'Reilly Media. Although it retains most of
the original content from its O'Reilly Network, it is now hosted by The
Perl Foundation <http://www.perlfoundation.org/>.
The Perl Foundation is an advocacy organization for the Perl language
which maintains the web site <http://www.perl.org/> as a general
advocacy site for the Perl language. It uses the domain to provide
general support services to the Perl community, including the hosting
of mailing lists, web sites, and other services. There are also many
other sub-domains for special topics like learning Perl and jobs in
Perl, such as:
Perl Mongers <http://www.pm.org/> uses the pm.org domain for services
related to local Perl user groups, including the hosting of mailing
lists and web sites. See the Perl Mongers web site <http://www.pm.org/>
for more information about joining, starting, or requesting services
for a Perl user group.
CPAN, or the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network <http://www.cpan.org/>,
is a replicated, worldwide repository of Perl software. See What is
Where can I post questions?
There are many Perl mailing lists for various topics, specifically the
beginners list <http://lists.perl.org/list/beginners.html> may be of
Other places to ask questions are on the PerlMonks site
<http://www.perlmonks.org/> or stackoverflow
There are many good books on Perl
Which magazines have Perl content?
There's also $foo Magazin, a German magazine dedicated to Perl, at (
<http://www.foo-magazin.de> ). The Perl-Zeitung is another German-
speaking magazine for Perl beginners (see <http://perl-zeitung.at.tf>
Several Unix/Linux related magazines frequently include articles on
Which Perl blogs should I read?
Perl News <http://perlnews.org/> covers some of the major events in the
Perl world, Perl Weekly <http://perlweekly.com/> is a weekly e-mail
(and RSS feed) of hand-picked Perl articles.
<http://blogs.perl.org/> hosts many Perl blogs, there are also several
blog aggregators: Perlsphere <http://perlsphere.net/> and IronMan
<http://ironman.enlightenedperl.org/> are two of them.
What mailing lists are there for Perl?
A comprehensive list of Perl-related mailing lists can be found at
Where can I buy a commercial version of Perl?
Perl already is commercial software: it has a license that you can grab
and carefully read to your manager. It is distributed in releases and
comes in well-defined packages. There is a very large and supportive
user community and an extensive literature.
If you still need commercial support ActiveState
<http://www.activestate.com/activeperl> offers this.
Where do I send bug reports?
(contributed by brian d foy)
First, ensure that you've found an actual bug. Second, ensure you've
found an actual bug.
If you've found a bug with the perl interpreter or one of the modules
in the standard library (those that come with Perl), you can use the
perlbug utility that comes with Perl (>= 5.004). It collects
information about your installation to include with your message, then
sends the message to the right place.
To determine if a module came with your version of Perl, you can
install and use the Module::CoreList module. It has the information
about the modules (with their versions) included with each release of
Every CPAN module has a bug tracker set up in RT, <http://rt.cpan.org>.
You can submit bugs to RT either through its web interface or by email.
To email a bug report, send it to bug-<distribution-name>@rt.cpan.org .
For example, if you wanted to report a bug in Business::ISBN, you could
send a message to bug-Business-ISBN@rt.cpan.org .
Some modules might have special reporting requirements, such as a
Github or Google Code tracking system, so you should check the module
AUTHOR AND COPYRIGHT
Copyright (c) 1997-2010 Tom Christiansen, Nathan Torkington, and other
authors as noted. All rights reserved.
This documentation is free; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
under the same terms as Perl itself.
Irrespective of its distribution, all code examples here are in the
public domain. You are permitted and encouraged to use this code and
any derivatives thereof in your own programs for fun or for profit as
you see fit. A simple comment in the code giving credit to the FAQ
would be courteous but is not required.
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