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

NAME
       perlfaq2 - Obtaining and Learning about Perl ($Revision: 10144 $)

DESCRIPTION
       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 distrib-
       uted only in source code form.  You can find this at http://www.cpan.org/src/latest.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 cur-
       rent 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
       http://www.cpan.org/ports/ directory.  Because these are not part of the standard distri-
       bution, 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 particu-
       lar 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?

       For Windows, ActiveState provides a pre-built Perl for free:

	       http://www.activestate.com/

       Sunfreeware.com provides binaries for many utilities, including Perl, for Solaris on both
       Intel and SPARC hardware:

	       http://www.sunfreeware.com/

       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:

	       http://www.cpan.org/ports/
	       http://www.perl.com/pub/language/info/software.html

       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.

       I don't have a C compiler. How can I build my own Perl interpreter?

       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 ver-
       sion.

       You might look around the net for a pre-built binary of Perl (or a C compiler!) that meets
       your needs, though:

       For Windows, Vanilla Perl ( http://vanillaperl.com/ ) and Strawberry Perl ( http://straw-
       berryperl.com/ ) come with a bundled C compiler. ActivePerl is a pre-compiled version of
       Perl ready-to-use.

       For Sun systems, SunFreeware.com provides binaries of most popular applications, including
       compilers and Perl.

       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 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 short-
       cuts 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 perl-
       faq8.

       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 multi-gigabyte archive replicated on
       hundreds of machines all over the world. CPAN contains source code, non-native ports, doc-
       umentation, 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 Multi-
       plexer 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 fre-
       quently 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 direc-
       tory 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/lan-
       guages/perl/CPAN/misc/japh .

       Considering that, as of 2006, there are over ten 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 sys-
       tems, and file locking; internationalization and locale; world wide web support; server
       and daemon utilities; archiving and compression; image manipulation; mail and news; con-
       trol flow utilities; filehandle and I/O; Microsoft Windows modules; and miscellaneous mod-
       ules.

       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 a free service and is not affiliated with O'Reilly Media.

       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 docu-
       mentation 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.perl.org/ which has the complete documentation
       in HTML and PDF format.

       Many good books have been written about Perl--see the section later in perlfaq2 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.	These URLs might also be useful:

	   http://perldoc.perl.org/
	   http://bookmarks.cpan.org/search.cgi?cat=Training%2FTutorials

       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
	   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

       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.  There is a list of these books, some with
       extensive reviews, at http://books.perl.org/ . If you don't see your book listed here, you
       can write to perlfaq-workers@perl.org .

       The incontestably definitive reference book on Perl, written by the creator of Perl, is
       Programming Perl:

	       Programming Perl (the "Camel Book"):
	       by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Jon Orwant
	       ISBN 0-596-00027-8  [3rd edition July 2000]
	       http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/pperl3/
	       (English, translations to several languages are also available)

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

	       The Perl Cookbook (the "Ram Book"):
	       by Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington,
		   with Foreword by Larry Wall
	       ISBN 0-596-00313-7 [2nd Edition August 2003]
	       http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/perlckbk2/

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

	       Learning Perl
	       by Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix, and brian d foy
	       ISBN 0-596-10105-8 [4th edition July 2005]
	       http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/learnperl4/

       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:

	       Intermediate Perl (the "Alpaca Book")
	       by Randal L. Schwartz and brian d foy, with Tom Phoenix (foreword by Damian Conway)
	       ISBN 0-596-10206-2 [1st edition March 2006]
	       http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/lrnperlorm/

       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 Stein.

       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.

       References
		   Programming Perl
		   by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Jon Orwant
		   ISBN 0-596-00027-8 [3rd edition July 2000]
		   http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/pperl3/

		   Perl 5 Pocket Reference
		   by Johan Vromans
		   ISBN 0-596-00032-4 [3rd edition May 2000]
		   http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/perlpr3/

       Tutorials
		   Beginning Perl
		   by James Lee
		   ISBN 1-59059-391-X [2nd edition August 2004]
		   http://apress.com/book/bookDisplay.html?bID=344

		   Elements of Programming with Perl
		   by Andrew L. Johnson
		   ISBN 1-884777-80-5 [1st edition October 1999]
		   http://www.manning.com/johnson/

		   Learning Perl
		   by Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix, and brian d foy
		   ISBN 0-596-10105-8 [4th edition July 2005]
		   http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/learnperl4/

		   Intermediate Perl (the "Alpaca Book")
		   by Randal L. Schwartz and brian d foy, with Tom Phoenix (foreword by Damian Conway)
		   ISBN 0-596-10206-2 [1st edition March 2006]
		   http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/intermediateperl/

		   Mastering Perl
		   by brian d foy
		   ISBN 0-596-52724-1 [1st edition July 2007]
		   http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/9780596527242/

       Task-Oriented
		   Writing Perl Modules for CPAN
		   by Sam Tregar
		   ISBN 1-59059-018-X [1st edition Aug 2002]
		   http://apress.com/book/bookDisplay.html?bID=14

		   The Perl Cookbook
		   by Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington
		       with foreword by Larry Wall
		   ISBN 1-56592-243-3 [1st edition August 1998]
		   http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/cookbook/

		   Effective Perl Programming
		   by Joseph Hall
		   ISBN 0-201-41975-0 [1st edition 1998]
		   http://www.awl.com/

		   Real World SQL Server Administration with Perl
		   by Linchi Shea
		   ISBN 1-59059-097-X [1st edition July 2003]
		   http://apress.com/book/bookDisplay.html?bID=171

       Special Topics
		   Perl Best Practices
		   by Damian Conway
		   ISBN: 0-596-00173-8 [1st edition July 2005]
		   http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/perlbp/

		   Higher Order Perl
		   by Mark-Jason Dominus
		   ISBN: 1558607013 [1st edition March 2005]
		   http://hop.perl.plover.com/

		   Perl 6 Now: The Core Ideas Illustrated with Perl 5
		   by Scott Walters
		   ISBN 1-59059-395-2 [1st edition December 2004]
		   http://apress.com/book/bookDisplay.html?bID=355

		   Mastering Regular Expressions
		   by Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
		   ISBN 0-596-00289-0 [2nd edition July 2002]
		   http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/regex2/

		   Network Programming with Perl
		   by Lincoln Stein
		   ISBN 0-201-61571-1 [1st edition 2001]
		   http://www.awlonline.com/

		   Object Oriented Perl
		   Damian Conway
		       with foreword by Randal L. Schwartz
		   ISBN 1-884777-79-1 [1st edition August 1999]
		   http://www.manning.com/conway/

		   Data Munging with Perl
		   Dave Cross
		   ISBN 1-930110-00-6 [1st edition 2001]
		   http://www.manning.com/cross

		   Mastering Perl/Tk
		   by Steve Lidie and Nancy Walsh
		   ISBN 1-56592-716-8 [1st edition January 2002]
		   http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/mastperltk/

		   Extending and Embedding Perl
		   by Tim Jenness and Simon Cozens
		   ISBN 1-930110-82-0 [1st edition August 2002]
		   http://www.manning.com/jenness

		   Perl Debugger Pocket Reference
		   by Richard Foley
		   ISBN 0-596-00503-2 [1st edition January 2004]
		   http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/perldebugpr/

		   Pro Perl Debugging
		   by Richard Foley with Andy Lester
		   ISBN 1-59059-454-1 [1st edition July 2005]
		   http://www.apress.com/book/view/1590594541

       Which magazines have Perl content?

       The Perl Review ( http://www.theperlreview.com ) focuses on Perl almost completely
       (although it sometimes sneaks in an article about another language). There's also $foo
       Magazin, a german magazine dedicated to Perl, at ( http://www.foo-magazin.de ).

       Magazines that frequently carry quality articles on Perl include The Perl Review (
       http://www.theperlreview.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.stone-
       henge.com/merlyn/WebTechniques/ , http://www.stonehenge.com/merlyn/UnixReview/ , and
       http://www.stonehenge.com/merlyn/LinuxMag/ .

       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 program-
       ming, 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. In 2006,
       TPJ merged with Dr.  Dobbs Journal (online edition). To read old TPJ articles, see
       http://www.ddj.com/ .

       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:

	       http://lists.perl.org/

       Where are the archives for comp.lang.perl.misc?

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

       http://groups.google.com/groups?group=comp.lang.perl.misc

       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 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 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 distribu-
       tion 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.

       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 or at
       http://rt.perl.org/perlbug/ .

       For Perl modules, you can submit bug reports to the Request Tracker set up at
       http://rt.cpan.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 information.

       What is perl.com? Perl Mongers? pm.org? perl.org? cpan.org?

       Perl.com at http://www.perl.com/ is part of the O'Reilly Network, a subsidiary of O'Reilly
       Media.

       The Perl Foundation 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. It uses
       the domain to provide general support services to the Perl community, including the host-
       ing of mailing lists, web sites, and other services.  There are also many other sub-
       domains for special topics like learning Perl, Perl news, jobs in Perl, such as:

	       http://learn.perl.org/
	       http://use.perl.org/
	       http://jobs.perl.org/
	       http://lists.perl.org/

       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.

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

REVISION
       Revision: $Revision: 10144 $

       Date: $Date: 2007-10-31 13:50:01 +0100 (Wed, 31 Oct 2007) $

       See perlfaq for source control details and availability.

AUTHOR AND COPYRIGHT
       Copyright (c) 1997-2007 Tom Christiansen, Nathan Torkington, and other authors as noted.
       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 pro-
       grams 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 v5.8.9				    2007-11-17				      PERLFAQ2(1)
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