The Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) is a repository of all things Perl, including the perl source code, Perl libraries and modules, and Perl applications. The skill of Perl programmers is largely judged by their ability to effectively use CPAN. As we write this, CPAN is over 6 GB, with 16,835 modules from 7,758 authors.

In 1993, Tim Bunce, Jarkko Hietaniemi, and Andreas König organized the perl-packrats mailing list. Larry Wall was working on Perl 5, a major upgrade to Perl that would allow people to extend the language through modules. As Perl was becoming more and more popular, people were creating very useful libraries, but they didn’t have a formal way to distribute them. If you knew about a library and could find it on ...

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