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

       perlfaq2 - Obtaining and Learning about Perl ($Revision: 1.25 $, $Date:
       1998/08/05 11:47:25 $)

       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, which in
       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 proprietary systems like VMS, DOS, OS/2, Windows,
       QNX, BeOS, and the Amiga.  There are also the beginnings of support for

       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).

       A useful FAQ for Win32 Perl users is

       How can I get a binary version of Perl?

       If you don't have a C compiler because for whatever reasons your vendor
       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.

       Your first stop should be to see what
       information is already available.  A simple installation guide for
       MS-DOS 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 of gcc for your system
       first.  Consult the Usenet FAQs for your operating system for
       information 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 the right place is to print
       out the hard-coded @INC which perl is looking for.

               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 symlinks, aliases, or shortcuts appropriately.

       You might also want to check out the section on How do I keep my own
       module/library directory? 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 idiosyncracies that the
       Configure script can't work around for any given system or

       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

       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 help.

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

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

       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.

       Actually, the moderated group hasn't passed yet, but we're keeping our
       fingers crossed.

       There is also USENET gateway to the mailing list used by the crack Perl
       development team (perl5-porters) at news://
       gw/ .

       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 Alta Vista, Deja News,
       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"):
               Authors: 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"):
               Authors: 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

           Learning Perl (the "Llama Book"):
               Authors: 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)

       Recommended books on (or muchly 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

       Tutorials                *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

       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 another 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 following are a list of mailing lists
       related to perl itself.

       If you subscribe to a mailing list, it behooves you to know how to
       unsubscribe from it.  Strident pleas to the list itself to get you off
       will not be favorably received.

           There is a mailing list for discussing Macintosh Perl.  Contact

           Also see Matthias Neeracher's (the creator and maintainer of
           MacPerl) webpage at
  for many links
           to interesting MacPerl sites, and the applications/MPW tools,

           The core development team have a mailing list for discussing fixes
           and changes to the language.  Send mail to "perl5-porters-
 " with help in the body of the message for
           information on subscribing.

           This list is used to discuss issues involving Win32 Perl 5 (Windows
           NT and Win95). Subscribe by mailing with
           the message body:

               subscribe Perl-Win32-Users

           The list software, also written in perl, will automatically
           determine your address, and subscribe you automatically.  To
           unsubscribe, mail the following in the message body to the same
           address like so:

               unsubscribe Perl-Win32-Users

           You can also check and select "Mailing
           Lists" to join or leave this list.

           Discussion related to archiving of perl materials, particularly the
           Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN). Subscribe by emailing

               subscribe perl-packrats

           The list software, also written in perl, will automatically
           determine your address, and subscribe you automatically.  To
           unsubscribe, simple prepend the same command with an "un", and mail
           to the same address like so:

               unsubscribe perl-packrats

       Archives of comp.lang.perl.misc

       Have you tried Deja News or Alta Vista?*/monthly has an almost
       complete collection dating back to 12/89 (missing 08/91 through 12/93).
       They are kept as one large file for each month.

       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 sense, Perl already is commercial software: It has a licence 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,
       dozens of software designers and developers, and thousands 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
       wrong.  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.

       Or you can purchase a real support contract.  Although Cygnus
       historically provided this service, they no longer sell support
       contracts for Perl.  Instead, the Paul Ingram Group will be taking up
       the slack through The Perl Clinic.  The following is a commercial from

       "Do you need professional support for Perl and/or Oraperl?  Do you need
       a support contract with defined levels of service?  Do you want to pay
       only for what you need?

       "The Paul Ingram Group has provided quality software development and
       support services to some of the world's largest corporations for ten
       years.  We are now offering the same quality support services for Perl
       at The Perl Clinic.  This service is led by Tim Bunce, an active perl
       porter since 1994 and well known as the author and maintainer of the
       DBI, DBD::Oracle, and Oraperl modules and author/co-maintainer of The
       Perl 5 Module List.  We also offer Oracle users support for Perl5
       Oraperl and related modules (which Oracle is planning to ship as part
       of Oracle Web Server 3).  20% of the profit from our Perl support work
       will be donated to The Perl Institute."

       For more information, contact the The Perl Clinic:

           Tel:    +44 1483 424424
           Fax:    +44 1483 419419
           Email: or

       See also for updates on 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

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

       What is  The Perl Institute?

       The domain is managed 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. is the official vehicle for The Perl Institute.  The motto of
       TPI is "helping people help Perl help people" (or something like that).
       It's a non-profit organization supporting development, documentation,
       and dissemination of perl.

       How do I learn about object-oriented Perl programming?

       the perltoot manpage (distributed with 5.004 or later) is a good place
       to start.  Also, the perlobj manpage, the perlref manpage, and the
       perlmod manpage are useful references, while the perlbot manpage has
       some excellent tips and tricks.

       Copyright (c) 1997, 1998 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 Licence.  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 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.

3rd Berkeley Distribution    perl 5.005, patch 02                  PERLFAQ2(1)