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perlfaq2 ()
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         perlfaq2 - Obtaining and Learning about Perl ($Revision:
         1.32 $, $Date: 1999/10/14 18:46:09 $)


         This section of the FAQ answers questions about where to
         find source and documentation for Perl, support, and related
         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 this at , which in
         standard Internet format (a gzipped archive in POSIX tar
         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, and the Amiga.
         There are also the beginnings of support for MPE/iX.
         Binary distributions for some proprietary platforms,
         including Apple systems, can be found 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?
         If you don't have a C compiler because your vendor for
         whatever reasons did not include one with your system, the
         best thing to do is grab a binary version of gcc from the
         net and use that to compile perl with.  CPAN only has
         binaries for systems that are terribly hard to get free
         compilers for, not for Unix systems.
         Some URLs that might help you are:
         Someone looking for a Perl for Win16 might look to Laszlo
         Molnar's djgpp port in
         , which comes with clear installation instructions.  A
         simple installation guide for MS-DOS using Ilya
         Zakharevich's OS/2 port is available at and similarly for
         Windows 3.1 at .
         I don't have a C compiler on my system.  How can I compile
         Since you don't have a C compiler, you're doomed and your
         vendor should be sacrificed to the Sun gods.  But that
         doesn't help you.
         What you need to do is get a binary version of gcc for your
         system first.  Consult the Usenet FAQs for your operating
         system for information on where to get such a binary
         I copied the Perl binary from one machine to another, but
         scripts don't work.
         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 which perl is looking
             % perl -e 'print join("\n",@INC)'
         If this command lists any paths which 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 the How do I keep my own
         module/library directory? entry in the perlfaq8 manpage.
         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 architecture.
         What modules and extensions are available for Perl?  What is
         CPAN?  What does CPAN/src/... mean?
         CPAN stands for Comprehensive Perl Archive Network, a huge
         archive replicated on dozens of machines all over the world.
         CPAN contains source code, non-native ports, documentation,
         scripts, and many third-party modules and extensions,
         designed for everything from commercial database interfaces
         to keyboard/screen control to web walking and CGI scripts.
         The master machine for CPAN is, but you can use
         the address to fetch a
         copy from a "site near you".  See
         (without a slash at the end) for how this process works.
         CPAN/path/... is a naming convention for files available on
         CPAN sites.  CPAN indicates the base directory of a CPAN
         mirror, and the rest of the path is the path from that
         directory to the file.  For instance, if you're using as your CPAN
         site, the file CPAN/misc/japh file is downloadable as .
         Considering that there are hundreds of existing modules in
         the archive, one probably exists to do nearly anything you
         can think of.  Current categories under CPAN/modules/by-
         category/ include Perl core modules; development support;
         operating system interfaces; networking, devices, and
         interprocess communication; data type utilities; database
         interfaces; user interfaces; interfaces to other languages;
         filenames, file systems, and file locking;
         internationalization and locale; world wide web support;
         server and daemon utilities; archiving and compression;
         image manipulation; mail and news; control flow utilities;
         filehandle and I/O; Microsoft Windows modules; and
         miscellaneous modules.
         Is there an ISO or ANSI certified version of Perl?
         Certainly not.  Larry expects that he'll be certified before
         Perl is.
         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 `man
         perl' if you're on a system resembling Unix.  This will lead
         you to other important man pages, including how to set your
         $MANPATH.  If you're not on a Unix system, access to the
         documentation will be different; for example, it might be
         only in HTML format.  But all proper Perl installations have
         fully-accessible documentation.
         You might also try `perldoc perl' in case your system
         doesn't have a proper man command, or it's been
         misinstalled.  If that doesn't work, try looking in
         /usr/local/lib/perl5/pod for documentation.
         If all else fails, consult the CPAN/doc directory, which
         contains the complete documentation in various formats,
         including native pod, troff, html, and plain text.  There's
         also a web page at that might
         Many good books have been written about Perl -- see the
         section below for more details.
         Tutorial documents are included in current or upcoming Perl
         releases include the perltoot manpage for objects, the
         perlopentut manpage for file opening semantics, the
         perlreftut manpage for managing references, and the
         perlxstut manpage for linking C and Perl together.  There
         may be more by the time you read this.  The following URLs
         might also be of assistance:
         What are the Perl newsgroups on Usenet?  Where do I post
         The now defunct comp.lang.perl newsgroup has been superseded
         by the following groups:
             comp.lang.perl.announce             Moderated announcement group
             comp.lang.perl.misc                 Very busy group about Perl in general
             comp.lang.perl.moderated            Moderated discussion group
             comp.lang.perl.modules              Use and development of Perl modules
                      Using Tk (and X) from Perl
             comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi  Writing CGI scripts for the Web.
         There is also Usenet gateway to the mailing list used by the
         crack Perl development team (perl5-porters) at
         news:// .
         Where should I post source code?
         You should post source code to whichever group is most
         appropriate, but feel free to cross-post to
         comp.lang.perl.misc.  If you want to cross-post to
         alt.sources, please make sure it follows their posting
         standards, including setting the Followup-To header line to
         NOT include alt.sources; see their FAQ
         ( for details.
         If you're just looking for software, first use AltaVista
         (, Deja (, and
         search CPAN.  This is faster and more productive than just
         posting a request.
         Perl Books
         A number of books on Perl and/or CGI programming are
         available.  A few of these are good, some are OK, but many
         aren't worth your money.  Tom Christiansen maintains a list
         of these books, some with extensive reviews, at
         The incontestably definitive reference book on Perl, written
         by the creator of Perl, is now in its second edition:
             Programming Perl (the "Camel Book"):
                 by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Randal Schwartz
                 ISBN 1-56592-149-6      (English)
                 ISBN 4-89052-384-7      (Japanese)
             (French, German, Italian, and Hungarian translations also
         The companion volume to the Camel containing thousands of
         real-world examples, mini-tutorials, and complete programs
         (first premiering at the 1998 Perl Conference), is:
             The Perl Cookbook (the "Ram Book"):
                 by Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington,
                             with Foreword by Larry Wall
                 ISBN: 1-56592-243-3
         If you're already a hard-core systems programmer, then the
         Camel Book might suffice for you to learn Perl from.  But if
         you're not, check out:
             Learning Perl (the "Llama Book"):
                 by Randal Schwartz and Tom Christiansen
                             with Foreword by Larry Wall
                 ISBN: 1-56592-284-0
         Despite the picture at the URL above, the second edition of
         "Llama Book" really has a blue cover, and is updated for the
         5.004 release of Perl.  Various foreign language editions
         are available, including Learning Perl on Win32 Systems (the
         Gecko Book).
         If you're not an accidental programmer, but a more serious
         and possibly even degreed computer scientist who doesn't
         need as much hand-holding as we try to provide in the Llama
         or its defurred cousin the Gecko, please check out the
         delightful book, Perl: The Programmer's Companion, written
         by Nigel Chapman.
         You can order O'Reilly books directly from O'Reilly &
         Associates, 1-800-998-9938.  Local/overseas is
         1-707-829-0515.  If you can locate an O'Reilly order form,
         you can also fax to 1-707-829-0104.  See
         on the Web.
         What follows is a list of the books that the FAQ authors
         found personally useful.  Your mileage may (but, we hope,
         probably won't) vary.
         Recommended books on (or mostly on) Perl follow; those
         marked with a star may be ordered from O'Reilly.
                 *Programming Perl
                     by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Randal L. Schwartz
                 *Perl 5 Desktop Reference
                     by Johan Vromans
                 *Perl in a Nutshell
                     by Ellen Siever, Stephan Spainhour, and Nathan Patwardhan
                 *Learning Perl [2nd edition]
                     by Randal L. Schwartz and Tom Christiansen
                         with foreword by Larry Wall
                 *Learning Perl on Win32 Systems
                     by Randal L. Schwartz, Erik Olson, and Tom Christiansen,
                         with foreword by Larry Wall
                 Perl: The Programmer's Companion
                     by Nigel Chapman
                 Cross-Platform Perl
                     by Eric F. Johnson
                 MacPerl: Power and Ease
                     by Vicki Brown and Chris Nandor, foreword by Matthias Neeracher
                 *The Perl Cookbook
                     by Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington
                         with foreword by Larry Wall
                 Perl5 Interactive Course [2nd edition]
                     by Jon Orwant
                 *Advanced Perl Programming
                     by Sriram Srinivasan
                 Effective Perl Programming
                     by Joseph Hall
         Special Topics
                 *Mastering Regular Expressions
                     by Jeffrey Friedl
                 How to Set up and Maintain a World Wide Web Site [2nd edition]
                     by Lincoln Stein
                 *Learning Perl/Tk
                     by Nancy Walsh
         Perl in Magazines
         The first and only periodical devoted to All Things Perl,
         The Perl Journal contains tutorials, demonstrations, case
         studies, announcements, contests, and much more.  TPJ has
         columns on web development, databases, Win32 Perl, graphical
         programming, regular expressions, and networking, and
         sponsors the Obfuscated Perl Contest.  It is published
         quarterly under the gentle hand of its editor, Jon Orwant.
         See or send mail to .
         Beyond this, magazines that frequently carry high-quality
         articles on Perl are Web Techniques (see, Performance Computing
         (, and Usenix's
         newsletter/magazine to its members, login:, at  Randal's Web Technique's columns
         are available on the web at
         Perl on the Net: FTP and WWW Access
         To get the best (and possibly cheapest) performance, pick a
         site from the list below and use it to grab the complete
         list of mirror sites.  From there you can find the quickest
         site for you.  Remember, the following list is not the
         complete list of CPAN mirrors.
       (redirects to an ftp mirror)
         What mailing lists are there for Perl?
         Most of the major modules (Tk, CGI, libwww-perl) have their
         own mailing lists.  Consult the documentation that came with
         the module for subscription information.  The Perl Mongers
         attempt to maintain a list of mailing lists at:
         Archives of comp.lang.perl.misc
         Have you tried Deja or AltaVista?  Those are the best
         archives.  Just look up "*perl*" as a newsgroup.
         You'll probably want to trim that down a bit, though.
         You'll probably want more a sophisticated query and
         retrieval mechanism than a file listing, preferably one that
         allows you to retrieve articles using a fast-access indices,
         keyed on at least author, date, subject, thread (as in
         "trn") and probably keywords.  The best solution the FAQ
         authors know of is the MH pick command, but it is very slow
         to select on 18000 articles.
         If you have, or know where can be found, the missing
         sections, please let know.
         Where can I buy a commercial version of Perl?
         In a real sense, 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 user community and
         an extensive literature.  The comp.lang.perl.*  newsgroups
         and several of the mailing lists provide free answers to
         your questions in near real-time.  Perl has traditionally
         been supported by Larry, scores of software designers and
         developers, and myriads of programmers, all working for free
         to create a useful thing to make life better for everyone.
         However, these answers may not suffice for managers who
         require a purchase order from a company whom they can sue
         should anything go awry.  Or maybe they need very serious
         hand-holding and contractual obligations.  Shrink-wrapped
         CDs with Perl on them are available from several sources if
         that will help.  For example, many Perl books carry a Perl
         distribution on them, as do the O'Reilly Perl Resource Kits
         (in both the Unix flavor and in the proprietary Microsoft
         flavor); the free Unix distributions also all come with
         Or you can purchase commercial incidence based support
         through the Perl Clinic.  The following is a commercial from
         "The Perl Clinic is a commercial Perl support service
         operated by ActiveState Tool Corp. and The Ingram Group.
         The operators have many years of in-depth experience with
         Perl applications and Perl internals on a wide range of
         "Through our group of highly experienced and well-trained
         support engineers, we will put our best effort into
         understanding your problem, providing an explanation of the
         situation, and a recommendation on how to proceed."
         Contact The Perl Clinic at:
             North America Pacific Standard Time (GMT-8)
             Tel:    1 604 606-4611 hours 8am-6pm
             Fax:    1 604 606-4640
             Europe (GMT)
             Tel:    00 44 1483 862814
             Fax:    00 44 1483 862801
         See also for updates on tutorials, training,
         and support.
         Where do I send bug reports?
         If you are reporting a bug in the perl interpreter or the
         modules shipped with Perl, use the perlbug program in the
         Perl distribution or mail your report to .
         If you are posting a bug with a non-standard port (see the
         answer to "What platforms is Perl available for?"), a binary
         distribution, or a non-standard module (such as Tk, CGI,
         etc), then please see the documentation that came with it to
         determine the correct place to post bugs.
         Read the perlbug(1) man page (perl5.004 or later) for more
         What is Perl Mongers?
         The domain is owned by Tom Christiansen, who
         created it as a public service long before came
         about.  Despite the name, it's a pretty non-commercial site
         meant to be a clearinghouse for information about all things
         Perlian, accepting no paid advertisements, bouncy happy
         GIFs, or silly Java applets on its pages.  The Perl Home
         Page at is currently hosted on a T3
         line courtesy of Songline Systems, a software-oriented
         subsidiary of O'Reilly and Associates.  Other starting
         points include
         Perl Mongers is an advocacy organization for the Perl
         language.  For details, see the Perl Mongers web site at
         Perl Mongers uses the domain for services related to
         Perl user groups.  See the Perl user group web site at for more information about joining,
         starting, or requesting services for a Perl user group.
         Perl Mongers also maintains the domain to provide
         general support services to the Perl community, including
         the hosting of mailing lists, web sites, and other services.
         The web site is a general advocacy site
         for the Perl language, and there are many other sub-domains
         for special topics, such as


         Copyright (c) 1997-1999 Tom Christiansen and Nathan
         Torkington.  All rights reserved.
         When included as an integrated part of the Standard
         Distribution of Perl or of its documentation (printed or
         otherwise), this works is covered under Perl's Artistic
         License.  For separate distributions of all or part of this
         FAQ outside of that, see the perlfaq manpage.
         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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