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NAME    [Toc]    [Back]

       perlfaq2 - Obtaining and Learning about Perl ($Revision:
       1.7 $, $Date: 2004/04/07 21:33:08 $)

DESCRIPTION    [Toc]    [Back]

       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 this at http://www.cpan.org/src/lat-
       est.tar.gz , which is in a standard Internet format (a
       gzipped archive in POSIX tar format).

       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

       Binary distributions for some proprietary platforms,
       including Apple systems, 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?

       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 http://www.cpan.org/ports/#msdos ,
       which comes with clear installation instructions.  A simple
 installation guide for MS-DOS using Ilya Zakharevich's
       OS/2 port is available at
       http://www.cs.ruu.nl/%7Epiet/perl5dos.html and similarly
       for Windows 3.1 at http://www.cs.ruu.nl/%7Epiet/perlwin3.html

       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

       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    [Toc]    [Back]
       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
       ~1.2Gb archive replicated on nearly 200 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 web site for CPAN is
       http://www.cpan.org/ and there is the CPAN Multiplexer at
       http://www.cpan.org/CPAN.html which will choose a mirror
       near you via DNS.  See http://www.perl.com/CPAN (without a
       slash at the end) for how this process works. Also,
       http://mirror.cpan.org/ has a nice interface to the
       http://www.cpan.org/MIRRORED.BY mirror directory.

       See the CPAN FAQ at http://www.cpan.org/misc/cpan-faq.html
       for answers to the most frequently asked questions about
       CPAN including how to become a mirror.

       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
       ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/languages/perl/CPAN as your CPAN
       site, the file CPAN/misc/japh is downloadable as
       ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/languages/perl/CPAN/misc/japh .

       Considering that there are close to two thousand 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.

       See http://www.cpan.org/modules/00modlist.long.html or
       http://search.cpan.org/ for a more complete list of modules
 by category.

       CPAN is not affiliated with O'Reilly and Associates.

       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,
 documentation might only be in HTML format.  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 http://perldoc.cpan.org/ or
       http://www.perldoc.com/ both offer the complete documentation
 in html format.

       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 perltoot for objects or perlboot for
       a beginner's approach to objects, perlopentut for file
       opening semantics, perlreftut for managing references,
       perlretut for regular expressions, perlthrtut for threads,
       perldebtut for debugging, and perlxstut 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

       Several groups devoted to the Perl language are on Usenet:

           comp.lang.perl.announce               Moderated    announcement group
           comp.lang.perl.misc                  High traffic general Perl discussion
           comp.lang.perl.moderated         Moderated  discussion
           comp.lang.perl.modules               Use  and development of Perl modules
           comp.lang.perl.tk                   Using Tk  (and  X)
from Perl

           comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi      Writing    CGI
scripts for the Web.

       Some years ago, comp.lang.perl was divided into those
       groups, and comp.lang.perl itself officially removed.
       While that group may still be found on some news servers,
       it is unwise to use it, because postings there will not
       appear on news servers which honour the official list of
       group names.  Use comp.lang.perl.misc for topics which do
       not have a more-appropriate specific group.

       There is also a Usenet gateway to Perl mailing lists sponsored
 by perl.org at nntp://nntp.perl.org , a web interface
 to the same lists at http://nntp.perl.org/group/ and
       these lists are also available under the "perl.*" hierarchy
 at http://groups.google.com . Other groups are listed
       at http://lists.perl.org/ ( also known as
       http://lists.cpan.org/ ).

       A nice place to ask questions is the PerlMonks site,
       http://www.perlmonks.org/ , or the Perl Beginners mailing
       list http://lists.perl.org/showlist.cgi?name=beginners .

       Note that none of the above are supposed to write your
       code for you: asking questions about particular problems
       or general advice is fine, but asking someone to write
       your code for free is not very cool.

       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 (
       http://www.faqs.org/faqs/alt-sources-intro/ ) for details.

       If you're just looking for software, first use Google (
       http://www.google.com ), Google's usenet search interface
       ( http://groups.google.com ),  and CPAN Search (
       http://search.cpan.org ).  This is faster and more productive
 than just posting a request.

       Perl Books    [Toc]    [Back]

       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
       http://www.perl.com/perl/critiques/index.html .

       The incontestably definitive reference book on Perl, written
 by the creator of Perl, is now (July 2000) in its
       third edition:
           Programming Perl (the "Camel Book"):
               by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Jon Orwant
               0-596-00027-8  [3rd edition July 2000]
           (English,  translations  to several languages are also

       The companion volume to the Camel containing thousands of
       real-world examples, mini-tutorials, and complete programs

           The Perl Cookbook (the "Ram Book"):
               by Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington,
                   with Foreword by Larry Wall
               ISBN 1-56592-243-3 [1st Edition August 1998]

       If you're already a seasoned programmer, then the Camel
       Book might suffice for you to learn Perl from.  If you're
       not, check out the Llama book:

           Learning Perl (the "Llama Book")
               by Randal L. Schwartz and Tom Phoenix
               ISBN 0-596-00132-0 [3rd edition July 2001]

       And for more advanced information on writing larger programs,
 presented in the same style as the Llama book, continue
 your education with the Alpaca book:

           Learning Perl Objects, References,  and  Modules  (the
"Alpaca Book")
              by  Randal  L. Schwartz, with Tom Phoenix (foreword
by Damian Conway)
              ISBN 0-596-00478-8 [1st edition June 2003]

       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, please check out the delightful book

           Perl: The Programmer's Companion
               by Nigel Chapman
               ISBN  0-471-97563-X  [1997,  3rd  printing  Spring
pc.html (errata etc)

       If you are more at home in Windows the following is available
 (though unfortunately rather dated).

           Learning Perl on Win32 Systems (the "Gecko Book")
               by  Randal L. Schwartz, Erik Olson, and Tom Christiansen,
                   with foreword by Larry Wall
               ISBN 1-56592-324-3 [1st edition August 1997]
       Addison-Wesley ( http://www.awlonline.com/ ) and Manning (
       http://www.manning.com/ ) are also publishers of some fine
       Perl books such as Object Oriented Programming with Perl
       by Damian Conway and Network Programming with Perl by Lincoln

       An excellent technical book discounter is Bookpool at
       http://www.bookpool.com/ where a 30% discount or more is
       not unusual.

       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.

               Programming Perl
                   by  Larry  Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Jon Orwant
                   ISBN 0-596-00027-8 [3rd edition July 2000]

               Perl 5 Pocket Reference
               by Johan Vromans
                   ISBN 0-596-00032-4 [3rd edition May 2000]

               Perl in a Nutshell
               by Ellen Siever,  Stephan  Spainhour,  and  Nathan
                   ISBN 1-56592-286-7 [1st edition December 1998]

               Elements of Programming with Perl
                   by Andrew L. Johnson
                   ISBN 1-884777-80-5 [1st edition October 1999]

               Learning Perl
                   by Randal L. Schwartz and Tom Phoenix
                   ISBN 0-596-00132-0 [3rd edition July 2001]

               Learning Perl Objects, References, and Modules
                  by Randal L. Schwartz, with Tom Phoenix  (foreword by Damian Conway)
                  ISBN 0-596-00478-8 [1st edition June 2003]

               Learning Perl on Win32 Systems
                   by  Randal  L.  Schwartz,  Erik Olson, and Tom
                       with foreword by Larry Wall
                   ISBN 1-56592-324-3 [1st edition August 1997]
               Perl: The Programmer's Companion
                   by Nigel Chapman
                   ISBN 0-471-97563-X [1997, 3rd printing  Spring
pc.html (errata etc)

               Cross-Platform Perl
                   by Eric Foster-Johnson
                   ISBN   1-55851-483-X  [2nd  edition  September

               MacPerl: Power and Ease
                   by Vicki Brown and Chris Nandor,
                       with foreword by Matthias Neeracher
                   ISBN 1-881957-32-2 [1st edition May 1998]

               The Perl Cookbook
                   by Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington
                       with foreword by Larry Wall
                   ISBN 1-56592-243-3 [1st edition August 1998]

               Effective Perl Programming
                   by Joseph Hall
                   ISBN 0-201-41975-0 [1st edition 1998]

       Special Topics
               Mastering Regular Expressions
                   by Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
                   ISBN 0-596-00289-0 [2nd edition July 2002]

               Network Programming with Perl
                   by Lincoln Stein
                   ISBN 0-201-61571-1 [1st edition 2001]

               Object Oriented Perl
                   Damian Conway
                       with foreword by Randal L. Schwartz
                   ISBN 1-884777-79-1 [1st edition August 1999]

               Data Munging with Perl
                   Dave Cross
                   ISBN 1-930110-00-6 [1st edition 2001]
               Mastering Perl/Tk
                   by Steve Lidie and Nancy Walsh
                   ISBN 1-56592-716-8 [1st edition January 2002]

               Extending and Embedding Perl
                  by Tim Jenness and Simon Cozens
                  ISBN 1-930110-82-0 [1st edition August 2002]

       Perl in Magazines    [Toc]    [Back]

       The first (and for a long time, 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
       and the Perl Poetry Contests.  Beginning in November 2002,
       TPJ moved to a reader-supported monthly e-zine format in
       which subscribers can download issues as PDF documents.
       For more details on TPJ, see http://www.tpj.com/

       Beyond this, magazines that frequently carry quality articles
 on Perl are The Perl Review ( http://www.theperlre-
       view.com ), Unix Review ( http://www.unixreview.com/ ),
       Linux Magazine ( http://www.linuxmagazine.com/ ), and
       Usenix's newsletter/magazine to its members, login: (
       http://www.usenix.org/ )

       The Perl columns of Randal L. Schwartz are available on
       the web at http://www.stonehenge.com/merlyn/WebTechniques/
       , http://www.stonehenge.com/merlyn/UnixReview/ , and
       http://www.stonehenge.com/merlyn/LinuxMag/ .

       Perl on the Net: FTP and WWW Access

       To get the best performance, pick a site from the list at
       http://www.cpan.org/SITES.html . From there you can find
       the quickest site for you.

       You may also use xx.cpan.org where "xx" is the 2-letter
       country code for your domain; e.g. Australia would use
       au.cpan.org. [Note: This only applies to countries that
       host at least one 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.

       A comprehensive list of Perl related mailing lists can be
       found at:

       Archives of comp.lang.perl.misc    [Toc]    [Back]

       The Google search engine now carries archived and searchable
 newsgroup content.


       If you have a question, you can be sure someone has
       already  asked the same question at some point on c.l.p.m.
       It requires some time and patience to sift through all the
       content but often you will find the answer you seek.

       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 welldefined
 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 myriad 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 include a
       distribution of Perl, 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 Perl.

       Alternatively, you can purchase commercial incidence based
       support through the Perl Clinic.  The following is a commercial
 from them:

       "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 www.perl.com 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 perlbug@perl.org

       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.com? Perl Mongers? pm.org? perl.org?

       The Perl Home Page at http://www.perl.com/ is currently
       hosted by The O'Reilly Network, a subsidiary of O'Reilly
       and Associates.

       Perl Mongers 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.

       Perl Mongers uses the pm.org domain for services related
       to Perl user groups, including the hosting of mailing
       lists and web sites.  See the Perl user group web site at
       http://www.pm.org/ for more information about joining,
       starting, or requesting services for a Perl user group.

       Perl Mongers also maintain the perl.org domain to provide
       general support services to the Perl community, including
       the hosting of mailing lists, web sites, and other services.
  The web site http://www.perl.org/ is a general
       advocacy site for the Perl language, and there are many
       other sub-domains for special topics, such as

       http://www.cpan.org/ is the Comprehensive Perl Archive
       Network, a replicated worlwide repository of Perl software,
 see the What is CPAN? question earlier in this document.


       Copyright (c) 1997-2001 Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington.
  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.

perl v5.8.5                 2002-11-06                         12
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