This document describes various features of Sun's Solaris operating
system that will affect how Perl version 5 (hereafter just perl) is
compiled and/or runs. Some issues relating to the older SunOS 4.x are
also discussed, though they may be out of date.
For the most part, everything should just work.
Starting with Solaris 8, perl5.00503 (or higher) is supplied with the
operating system, so you might not even need to build a newer version
of perl at all. The Sun-supplied version is installed in /usr/perl5
with /usr/bin/perl pointing to /usr/perl5/bin/perl. Do not disturb
that installation unless you really know what you are doing. If you
remove the perl supplied with the OS, you will render some bits of your
system inoperable. If you wish to install a newer version of perl,
install it under a different prefix from /usr/perl5. Common prefixes
to use are /usr/local and /opt/perl.
You may wish to put your version of perl in the PATH of all users by
changing the link /usr/bin/perl. This is probably OK, as most perl
scripts shipped with Solaris use an explicit path. (There are a few
exceptions, such as /usr/bin/rpm2cpio and /etc/rcm/scripts/README, but
these are also sufficiently generic that the actual version of perl
probably doesn't matter too much.)
Solaris ships with a range of Solaris-specific modules. If you choose
to install your own version of perl you will find the source of many of
these modules is available on CPAN under the Sun::Solaris:: namespace.
Solaris may include two versions of perl, e.g. Solaris 9 includes both
5.005_03 and 5.6.1. This is to provide stability across Solaris
releases, in cases where a later perl version has incompatibilities
with the version included in the preceding Solaris release. The
default perl version will always be the most recent, and in general the
old version will only be retained for one Solaris release. Note also
that the default perl will NOT be configured to search for modules in
the older version, again due to compatibility/stability concerns. As a
consequence if you upgrade Solaris, you will have to rebuild/reinstall
any additional CPAN modules that you installed for the previous Solaris
version. See the CPAN manpage under 'autobundle' for a quick way of
As an interim measure, you may either change the #! line of your
scripts to specifically refer to the old perl version, e.g. on Solaris
9 use #!/usr/perl5/5.00503/bin/perl to use the perl version that was
the default for Solaris 8, or if you have a large number of scripts it
may be more convenient to make the old version of perl the default on
your system. You can do this by changing the appropriate symlinks
under /usr/perl5 as follows (example for Solaris 9):
# cd /usr/perl5
# rm bin man pod
# ln -s ./5.00503/bin
Solaris Version Numbers.
For consistency with common usage, perl's Configure script performs
some minor manipulations on the operating system name and version
number as reported by uname. Here's a partial translation table:
Sun: perl's Configure:
uname uname -r Name osname osvers
SunOS 4.1.3 Solaris 1.1 sunos 4.1.3
SunOS 5.6 Solaris 2.6 solaris 2.6
SunOS 5.8 Solaris 8 solaris 2.8
SunOS 5.9 Solaris 9 solaris 2.9
SunOS 5.10 Solaris 10 solaris 2.10
The complete table can be found in the Sun Managers' FAQ
<ftp://ftp.cs.toronto.edu/pub/jdd/sunmanagers/faq> under "9.1) Which
Sun models run which versions of SunOS?".
There are many, many sources for Solaris information. A few of the
important ones for perl:
The Solaris FAQ is available at
The Sun Managers' FAQ is available at
Precompiled binaries, links to many sites, and much, much more are
available at <http://www.sunfreeware.com/> and
All Solaris documentation is available on-line at
File Extraction Problems on Solaris.
Be sure to use a tar program compiled under Solaris (not SunOS 4.x) to
extract the perl-5.x.x.tar.gz file. Do not use GNU tar compiled for
SunOS4 on Solaris. (GNU tar compiled for Solaris should be fine.)
When you run SunOS4 binaries on Solaris, the run-time system magically
alters pathnames matching m#lib/locale# so that when tar tries to
create lib/locale.pm, a file named lib/oldlocale.pm gets created
instead. If you found this advice too late and used a SunOS4-compiled
tar anyway, you must find the incorrectly renamed file and move it back
Compiler and Related Tools on Solaris.
You must use an ANSI C compiler to build perl. Perl can be compiled
with either Sun's add-on C compiler or with gcc. The C compiler that
shipped with SunOS4 will not do.
for libraries & headers: SUNWhea, SUNWarc, SUNWlibm, SUNWlibms,
SUNWdfbh, SUNWcg6h, SUNWxwinc
Additionaly, on Solaris 8 and 9 you also need:
for 64 bit development: SUNWarcx, SUNWbtoox, SUNWdplx, SUNWscpux,
SUNWsprox, SUNWtoox, SUNWlmsx, SUNWlmx, SUNWlibCx
And only on Solaris 8 you also need:
for libraries & headers: SUNWolinc
If you are in doubt which package contains a file you are missing, try
to find an installation that has that file. Then do a
$ grep /my/missing/file /var/sadm/install/contents
This will display a line like this:
/usr/include/sys/errno.h f none 0644 root bin 7471 37605 956241356
The last item listed (SUNWhea in this example) is the package you need.
You don't need to have /usr/ucb/ in your PATH to build perl. If you
want /usr/ucb/ in your PATH anyway, make sure that /usr/ucb/ is NOT in
your PATH before the directory containing the right C compiler.
Sun's C Compiler
If you use Sun's C compiler, make sure the correct directory (usually
/opt/SUNWspro/bin/) is in your PATH (before /usr/ucb/).
If you use gcc, make sure your installation is recent and complete.
perl versions since 5.6.0 build fine with gcc > 2.8.1 on Solaris >=
You must Configure perl with
$ sh Configure -Dcc=gcc
If you don't, you may experience strange build errors.
If you have updated your Solaris version, you may also have to update
your gcc. For example, if you are running Solaris 2.6 and your gcc is
installed under /usr/local, check in /usr/local/lib/gcc-lib and make
sure you have the appropriate directory, sparc-sun-solaris2.6/ or
i386-pc-solaris2.6/. If gcc's directory is for a different version of
Solaris than you are running, then you will need to rebuild gcc for
that is correct for gcc - see the module for details.
GNU as and GNU ld
The following information applies to gcc version 2. Volunteers to
update it as appropriately for gcc version 3 would be appreciated.
The versions of as and ld supplied with Solaris work fine for building
perl. There is normally no need to install the GNU versions to compile
If you decide to ignore this advice and use the GNU versions anyway,
then be sure that they are relatively recent. Versions newer than 2.7
are apparently new enough. Older versions may have trouble with
If you wish to use GNU ld, then you need to pass it the -Wl,-E flag.
The hints/solaris_2.sh file tries to do this automatically by setting
the following Configure variables:
lddlflags="$lddlflags -Wl,-E -G"
However, over the years, changes in gcc, GNU ld, and Solaris ld have
made it difficult to automatically detect which ld ultimately gets
called. You may have to manually edit config.sh and add the -Wl,-E
flags yourself, or else run Configure interactively and add the flags
at the appropriate prompts.
If your gcc is configured to use GNU as and ld but you want to use the
Solaris ones instead to build perl, then you'll need to add
-B/usr/ccs/bin/ to the gcc command line. One convenient way to do that
$ sh Configure -Dcc='gcc -B/usr/ccs/bin/'
Note that the trailing slash is required. This will result in some
harmless warnings as Configure is run:
gcc: file path prefix `/usr/ccs/bin/' never used
These messages may safely be ignored. (Note that for a SunOS4 system,
you must use -B/bin/ instead.)
Alternatively, you can use the GCC_EXEC_PREFIX environment variable to
ensure that Sun's as and ld are used. Consult your gcc documentation
for further information on the -B option and the GCC_EXEC_PREFIX
Sun and GNU make
The make under /usr/ccs/bin works fine for building perl. If you have
the Sun C compilers, you will also have a parallel version of make
(dmake). This works fine to build perl, but can sometimes cause
/usr/ucblib/libucb.a. Perl will not build and run correctly if linked
against -lucb since it contains routines that are incompatible with the
standard Solaris libc. Normally this is not a problem since the
solaris hints file prevents Configure from even looking in /usr/ucblib
for libraries, and also explicitly omits -lucb.
Environment for Compiling perl on Solaris
Make sure your PATH includes the compiler (/opt/SUNWspro/bin/ if you're
using Sun's compiler) as well as /usr/ccs/bin/ to pick up the other
development tools (such as make, ar, as, and ld). Make sure your path
either doesn't include /usr/ucb or that it includes it after the
compiler and compiler tools and other standard Solaris directories.
You definitely don't want /usr/ucb/cc.
If you have the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable set, be sure that
it does NOT include /lib or /usr/lib. If you will be building
extensions that call third-party shared libraries (e.g. Berkeley DB)
then make sure that your LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable includes
the directory with that library (e.g. /usr/local/lib).
If you get an error message
dlopen: stub interception failed
it is probably because your LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable
includes a directory which is a symlink to /usr/lib (such as /lib).
The reason this causes a problem is quite subtle. The file
libdl.so.1.0 actually *only* contains functions which generate 'stub
interception failed' errors! The runtime linker intercepts links to
"/usr/lib/libdl.so.1.0" and links in internal implementations of those
functions instead. [Thanks to Tim Bunce for this explanation.]
See the INSTALL file for general information regarding Configure. Only
Solaris-specific issues are discussed here. Usually, the defaults
should be fine.
64-bit perl on Solaris.
See the INSTALL file for general information regarding 64-bit compiles.
In general, the defaults should be fine for most people.
By default, perl-5.6.0 (or later) is compiled as a 32-bit application
with largefile and long-long support.
General 32-bit vs. 64-bit issues.
Solaris 7 and above will run in either 32 bit or 64 bit mode on SPARC
CPUs, via a reboot. You can build 64 bit apps whilst running 32 bit
mode and vice-versa. 32 bit apps will run under Solaris running in
either 32 or 64 bit mode. 64 bit apps require Solaris to be running 64
You can detect the OS mode using "isainfo -v", e.g.
$ isainfo -v # Ultra 30 in 64 bit mode
64-bit sparcv9 applications
32-bit sparc applications
By default, perl will be compiled as a 32-bit application. Unless you
want to allocate more than ~ 4GB of memory inside perl, or unless you
need more than 255 open file descriptors, you probably don't need perl
to be a 64-bit app.
Large File Support
For Solaris 2.6 and onwards, there are two different ways for 32-bit
applications to manipulate large files (files whose size is > 2GByte).
(A 64-bit application automatically has largefile support built in by
First is the "transitional compilation environment", described in
lfcompile64(5). According to the man page,
The transitional compilation environment exports all the
explicit 64-bit functions (xxx64()) and types in addition to
all the regular functions (xxx()) and types. Both xxx() and
xxx64() functions are available to the program source. A
32-bit application must use the xxx64() functions in order
to access large files. See the lf64(5) manual page for a
complete listing of the 64-bit transitional interfaces.
The transitional compilation environment is obtained with the following
compiler and linker flags:
getconf LFS64_CFLAGS -D_LARGEFILE64_SOURCE
getconf LFS64_LDFLAG # nothing special needed
getconf LFS64_LIBS # nothing special needed
Second is the "large file compilation environment", described in
lfcompile(5). According to the man page,
Each interface named xxx() that needs to access 64-bit entities
to access large files maps to a xxx64() call in the
resulting binary. All relevant data types are defined to be
of correct size (for example, off_t has a typedef definition
for a 64-bit entity).
An application compiled in this environment is able to use
the xxx() source interfaces to access both large and small
files, rather than having to explicitly utilize the transitional
xxx64() interface calls to access large files.
Two exceptions are fseek() and ftell(). 32-bit applications should use
fseeko(3C) and ftello(3C). These will get automatically mapped to
fseeko64() and ftello64().
Compiler, you need to use the flag "-xarch=v9". getconf(1) will tell
you this, e.g.
$ getconf -a | grep v9
This flag is supported in Sun WorkShop Compilers 5.0 and onwards (now
marketed under the name Forte) when used on Solaris 7 or later on
If you are using gcc, you would need to use -mcpu=v9 -m64 instead.
This option is not yet supported as of gcc 2.95.2; from
install/SPECIFIC in that release:
GCC version 2.95 is not able to compile code correctly for sparc64
targets. Users of the Linux kernel, at least, can use the sparc32
program to start up a new shell invocation with an environment that
causes configure to recognize (via uname -a) the system as sparc-*-*
All this should be handled automatically by the hints file, if
As of 5.8.1, long doubles are working if you use the Sun compilers
(needed for additional math routines not included in libm).
Threads in perl on Solaris.
It is possible to build a threaded version of perl on Solaris. The
entire perl thread implementation is still experimental, however, so
Malloc Issues with perl on Solaris.
Starting from perl 5.7.1 perl uses the Solaris malloc, since the perl
malloc breaks when dealing with more than 2GB of memory, and the
Solaris malloc also seems to be faster.
If you for some reason (such as binary backward compatibility) really
need to use perl's malloc, you can rebuild perl from the sources and
Configure the build with
$ sh Configure -Dusemymalloc
ld.so.1: ./perl: fatal: relocation error:
If you get this message on SunOS or Solaris, and you're using gcc,
it's probably the GNU as or GNU ld problem in the previous item
"GNU as and GNU ld".
dlopen: stub interception failed
The primary cause of the 'dlopen: stub interception failed' message
is that the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable includes a
directory which is a symlink to /usr/lib (such as /lib). See
#error "No DATAMODEL_NATIVE specified"
This is a common error when trying to build perl on Solaris 2.6
with a gcc installation from Solaris 2.5 or 2.5.1. The Solaris
header files changed, so you need to update your gcc installation.
You can either rerun the fixincludes script from gcc or take the
opportunity to update your gcc installation.
sh: ar: not found
This is a message from your shell telling you that the command 'ar'
was not found. You need to check your PATH environment variable to
make sure that it includes the directory with the 'ar' command.
This is a common problem on Solaris, where 'ar' is in the
op/stat.t test 4 in Solaris
op/stat.t test 4 may fail if you are on a tmpfs of some sort. Building
in /tmp sometimes shows this behavior. The test suite detects if you
are building in /tmp, but it may not be able to catch all tmpfs
nss_delete core dump from op/pwent or op/grent
See "nss_delete core dump from op/pwent or op/grent" in perlhpux.
PREBUILT BINARIES OF PERL FOR SOLARIS.
You can pick up prebuilt binaries for Solaris from
<http://www.sunfreeware.com/>, <http://www.blastwave.org>, ActiveState
<http://www.activestate.com/>, and <http://www.perl.com/> under the
Binaries list at the top of the page. There are probably other sources
as well. Please note that these sites are under the control of their
respective owners, not the perl developers.
RUNTIME ISSUES FOR PERL ON SOLARIS.
Limits on Numbers of Open Files on Solaris.
The stdio(3C) manpage notes that for LP32 applications, only 255 files
may be opened using fopen(), and only file descriptors 0 through 255
can be used in a stream. Since perl calls open() and then fdopen(3C)
with the resulting file descriptor, perl is limited to 255 simultaneous
open files, even if sysopen() is used. If this proves to be an
insurmountable problem, you can compile perl as a LP64 application, see
"Building an LP64 perl" for details. Note also that the default
resource limit for open file descriptors on Solaris is 255, so you will
The problem is that various structures visible via procfs use off_t,
and if you compile with largefile support these change from 32 bits to
64 bits. Thus what you get back from procfs doesn't match up with the
structures in perl, resulting in garbage. See proc(4) for further
A fix for Proc::ProcessTable is to edit Makefile to explicitly remove
the largefile flags from the ones MakeMaker picks up from Config.pm.
This will result in Proc::ProcessTable being built under the correct
environment. Everything should then be OK as long as
Proc::ProcessTable doesn't try to share off_t's with the rest of perl,
or if it does they should be explicitly specified as off64_t.
BSD::Resource on Solaris
BSD::Resource versions earlier than 1.09 do not compile on Solaris with
perl 5.6.0 and higher, for the same reasons as Proc::ProcessTable.
BSD::Resource versions starting from 1.09 have a workaround for the
Net::SSLeay on Solaris
Net::SSLeay requires a /dev/urandom to be present. This device is
available from Solaris 9 onwards. For earlier Solaris versions you can
either get the package SUNWski (packaged with several Sun software
products, for example the Sun WebServer, which is part of the Solaris
Server Intranet Extension, or the Sun Directory Services, part of
Solaris for ISPs) or download the ANDIrand package from
<http://www.cosy.sbg.ac.at/~andi/>. If you use SUNWski, make a symbolic
link /dev/urandom pointing to /dev/random. For more details, see
Document ID27606 entitled "Differing /dev/random support requirements
within Solaris[TM] Operating Environments", available at
It may be possible to use the Entropy Gathering Daemon (written in
Perl!), available from <http://www.lothar.com/tech/crypto/>.
In SunOS 4.x you most probably want to use the SunOS ld, /usr/bin/ld,
since the more recent versions of GNU ld (like 2.13) do not seem to
work for building Perl anymore. When linking the extensions, the GNU
ld gets very unhappy and spews a lot of errors like this
... relocation truncated to fit: BASE13 ...
and dies. Therefore the SunOS 4.1 hints file explicitly sets the ld to
As of Perl 5.8.1 the dynamic loading of libraries (DynaLoader,
XSLoader) also seems to have become broken in in SunOS 4.x. Therefore
the default is to build Perl statically.
Running the test suite in SunOS 4.1 is a bit tricky since the
lib/Tie/File/t/09_gen_rs test hangs (subtest #51, FWIW) for some
Failed 27 test scripts out of 745, 96.38% okay.
Running the "harness" is painful because of the many failing Unicode-
related tests will output megabytes of failure messages, but if one
patiently waits, one gets these results:
Failed Test Stat Wstat Total Fail Failed List of Failed
../ext/Encode/t/at-cn.t 4 1024 29 4 13.79% 14-17
../ext/Encode/t/at-tw.t 10 2560 17 10 58.82% 2 4 6 8 10 12
../ext/Encode/t/enc_data.t 29 7424 ?? ?? % ??
../ext/Encode/t/enc_eucjp.t 29 7424 ?? ?? % ??
../ext/Encode/t/enc_module.t 29 7424 ?? ?? % ??
../ext/Encode/t/encoding.t 29 7424 ?? ?? % ??
../ext/Encode/t/grow.t 12 3072 24 12 50.00% 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
16 18 20 22 24
Failed Test Stat Wstat Total Fail Failed List of Failed
../ext/Encode/t/guess.t 255 65280 29 40 137.93% 10-29
../ext/Encode/t/jperl.t 29 7424 15 30 200.00% 1-15
../ext/Encode/t/mime-header.t 2 512 10 2 20.00% 2-3
../ext/Encode/t/perlio.t 22 5632 38 22 57.89% 1-4 9-16 19-20
../ext/List/Util/t/shuffle.t 0 139 ?? ?? % ??
../ext/PerlIO/t/encoding.t 14 1 7.14% 11
../ext/PerlIO/t/fallback.t 9 2 22.22% 3 5
../ext/Socket/t/socketpair.t 0 2 45 70 155.56% 11-45
../lib/CPAN/t/vcmp.t 30 1 3.33% 25
../lib/Tie/File/t/09_gen_rs.t 0 15 ?? ?? % ??
../lib/Unicode/Collate/t/test.t 199 30 15.08% 7 26-27 71-75
81-88 95 101
103-104 106 108-
109 122 124 161
../lib/sort.t 0 139 119 26 21.85% 107-119
op/alarm.t 4 1 25.00% 4
op/utfhash.t 97 1 1.03% 31
run/fresh_perl.t 91 1 1.10% 32
uni/tr_7jis.t ?? ?? % ??
uni/tr_eucjp.t 29 7424 6 12 200.00% 1-6
uni/tr_sjis.t 29 7424 6 12 200.00% 1-6
56 tests and 467 subtests skipped.
Failed 27/811 test scripts, 96.67% okay. 1383/75399 subtests failed, 98.17% okay.
The alarm() test failure is caused by system() apparently blocking
alarm(). That is probably a libc bug, and given that SunOS 4.x has
been end-of-lifed years ago, don't hold your breath for a fix. In
addition to that, don't try anything too Unicode-y, especially with
Encode, and you should be fine in SunOS 4.x.
The original was written by Andy Dougherty email@example.com
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