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perlfaq2(1) - perlfaq2 - Obtaining and Learning about Perl ($Revision: 1.25 $, $Date: 2003/10/16 04:57:38 $) - man 1 perlfaq2

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PERLFAQ2(1)            Perl Programmers Reference Guide            PERLFAQ2(1)

       perlfaq2 - Obtaining and Learning about Perl ($Revision: 1.25 $, $Date:
       2003/10/16 04:57:38 $)

       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 develop-
       ment team) is distributed only in(1,8) source code form.  You can find this
       at , which is in(1,8) a standard
       Internet format (a gzipped archive in(1,8) 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 Amiga.

       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(1,8) fact
       do differ from the base Perl port in(1,8) 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(1,8) the
       source release of perl) or negative (e.g.  might be based upon a less(1,3)
       current source release of perl).

       How can I get a binary version(1,3,5) 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(1,3,5) 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(1,8,3 Search::Dict) to Laszlo Molnar's
       djgpp port in(1,8) , which comes with clear(1,3x,3x clrtobot)
       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 perl?

       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(1,3,5) of gcc for your system
       first.  Consult the Usenet FAQs for your operating system for informa-
       tion on where to get such a binary version.

       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(1,8) 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(3x,7,3x curs_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(1,8) perlfaq8.

       I grabbed the sources and tried to compile but gdbm/dynamic load-
       ing/malloc/linking/... failed.  How do I make it work?

       Read the INSTALL file(1,n), which is part of the source distribution.  It
       describes in(1,8) detail how to cope with most idiosyncrasies that the Con-
       figure 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(5,8) web site for CPAN is and
       there is the CPAN Multiplexer at which
       will choose a mirror near you via DNS.  See
       (without a slash at the end) for how this process works. Also, has a nice(1,2) interface to the mirror directory.

       See the CPAN FAQ at 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(3,n)
       you're using as your CPAN
       site, the file(1,n) CPAN/misc/japh is downloadable as .

       Considering that there are close(2,7,n) to two thousand existing modules in(1,8)
       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; net-
       working, devices, and interprocess communication; data type utilities;
       database interfaces; user interfaces; interfaces to other languages;
       filenames, file(1,n) systems, and file(1,n) locking; internationalization and
       locale(3,5,7); world wide web support; server and daemon utilities; archiving
       and compression; image manipulation; mail(1,8) and news; control flow utili-
       ties; filehandle and I/O; Microsoft Windows modules; and miscellaneous

       See or for a more complete list of modules by cate-

       CPAN is not affiliated with O'Reilly and Associates.

       Is there an ISO or ANSI certified version(1,3,5) 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 distribu-
       tion.  If you have Perl installed locally, you probably have the docu-
       mentation installed as well: type "man(1,5,7) perl" if(3,n) you're on a system
       resembling Unix.  This will lead you to other important man(1,5,7) pages,
       including how to set(7,n,1 builtins) your $MANPATH.  If you're not on a Unix system,
       access(2,5) to the documentation will be different; for example, documenta-
       tion might only be in(1,8) HTML format.  All proper Perl installations have
       fully-accessible documentation.

       You might also try "perldoc perl" in(1,8) case your system doesn't have a
       proper man(1,5,7) command, or it's been misinstalled.  If that doesn't work,
       try looking in(1,8) /usr/local/lib/perl5/pod for documentation.

       If all else fails, consult or http://www.perl- both offer the complete documentation in(1,8) html format.

       Many good books have been written about Perl--see the section below for
       more details.

       Tutorial documents are included in(1,8) current or upcoming Perl releases
       include perltoot for objects or perlboot for a beginner's approach to
       objects, perlopentut for file(1,n) opening semantics, perlreftut for manag-
       ing 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(1,2,n) you read(2,n,1 builtins) this.  The following
       URLs might also be of assistance:


       What are the Perl newsgroups on Usenet?  Where do I post questions?

       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 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.

       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 at nntp:// , a web interface to the same lists at and these lists are also available under
       the "perl.*" hierarchy at . Other groups are
       listed at ( also known as

       A nice(1,2) place to ask questions is the PerlMonks site, http://www.perl- , or the Perl Beginners mailing list .

       Note that none of the above are supposed to write(1,2) your code for you:
       asking questions about particular problems or general advice is fine,
       but asking someone to write(1,2) 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 stan-
       dards, 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 Google ( ), Google's usenet search interface ( ),  and CPAN Search (
       ).  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 (July 2000) in(1,8) 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 available)

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

           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 suf-
       fice for you to learn Perl from.  If you're not, check out the Llama

           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(1,8) 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(1,8) 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 1998]
      (errata etc)

       If you are more at home in(1,8) 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 ( ) and Manning ( ) are also publishers of some fine Perl books
       such as Object Oriented Programming with Perl by Damian Conway and Net-
       work Programming with Perl by Lincoln Stein.

       An excellent technical book discounter is Bookpool at where a 30% discount or more is not unusual.

       What follows is a list of the books that the FAQ authors found person-
       ally 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(1,8) a Nutshell
               by Ellen Siever, Stephan Spainhour, and Nathan Patwardhan
                   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 Christiansen,
                       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 1998]
      (errata etc)

               Cross-Platform Perl
                   by Eric Foster-Johnson
                   ISBN 1-55851-483-X [2nd edition September 2000]

               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(1,8) Magazines

       The first (and for a long time(1,2,n), only) periodical devoted to All Things
       Perl, The Perl Journal contains tutorials, demonstrations, case stud-
       ies, 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(1,8) November 2002, TPJ moved to
       a reader-supported monthly e-zine format in(1,8) which subscribers can down-
       load(7,n) issues as PDF documents. For more details on TPJ, see

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

       The Perl columns of Randal L. Schwartz are available on the web at , http://www.stone- , and
       lyn/LinuxMag/ .

       Perl on the Net: FTP and WWW Access

       To get the best performance, pick a site from the list at . From there you can find the quickest
       site for you.

       You may also use where "xx" is the 2-letter country code
       for your domain; e.g. Australia would use [Note: This only
       applies to countries that host(1,5) 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 sub-
       scription information.

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


       Archives of comp.lang.perl.misc

       The Google search engine now carries archived and searchable newsgroup

       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(1,2,n) and
       patience to sift through all the content but often you will find the
       answer you seek.

       Where can I buy a commercial version(1,3,5) of Perl?

       In a real sense, Perl already is commercial software: it has a license
       that you can grab and carefully read(2,n,1 builtins) to your manager. It is distributed
       in(1,8) releases and comes in(1,8) 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(1,8) near real-time.  Perl has traditionally been sup-
       ported by Larry, scores of software designers and developers, and myr-
       iad 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 pur-
       chase order from a company whom they can sue should anything go awry.
       Or maybe they need very serious hand-holding and contractual obliga-
       tions.  Shrink-wrapped CDs with Perl on them are available from several
       sources if(3,n) that will help.  For example, many Perl books include a dis-
       tribution of Perl, as do the O'Reilly Perl Resource Kits (in(1,8) both the
       Unix flavor and in(1,8) 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 platforms.

       "Through our group of highly experienced and well-trained support engi-
       neers, 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(2,n) bug reports?

       If you are reporting a bug in(1,8) the perl interpreter or the modules
       shipped with Perl, use the perlbug program in(1,8) the Perl distribution or
       mail(1,8) 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 docu-
       mentation that came with it to determine the correct place to post

       Read the perlbug(1) man(1,5,7) page (perl5.004 or later) for more information.

       What is Perl Mongers?

       The Perl Home Page at 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 as a general advocacy site
       for the Perl language.

       Perl Mongers uses the 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 for more information
       about joining, starting, or requesting services for a Perl user group.

       Perl Mongers also maintain the domain to provide general sup-
       port 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

  is the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network, a
       replicated worlwide repository of Perl software, see the What is CPAN?
       question earlier in(1,8) 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(1,8) the
       public domain.  You are permitted and encouraged to use this code and
       any derivatives thereof in(1,8) your own programs for fun or for profit as
       you see fit.  A simple comment in(1,8) the code giving credit to the FAQ
       would be courteous but is not required.

perl v5.8.5                       2004-04-23                       PERLFAQ2(1)

References for this manual (incoming links)