Installing on Unix

Typically, the Perl kit will be packed as either a tar file or a set of shar (shell archive) scripts; in either case, the file will be in a compressed format. If you got your version of Perl directly from CPAN, it is probably in “tar-gzipped” format; tar and gzip are popular Unix data-archiving formats. In any case, once you’ve downloaded the distribution, you need to uncompress and unpack it. The filename indicates the kind of compression that was used. A .Z extension indicates you need to uncompress the file first, while a .gz extension indicates you need to gunzip the file. You then unpack the file as appropriate, read the README and INSTALL files, and run a massive shell script called Configure , which tries to figure out everything about your system and creates the file to store the information. After this is done, you do a series of “makes” to find header file dependencies, to compile Perl (and a2p, which translates awk scripts to Perl), to run regression tests, and to install Perl in your system directories.

If you opt to build your own Perl under Win32, you will find that the Perl source kit is also shipped in zip format, which you can easily extract with pkunzip or Winzip (

If you’re building Perl under Unix, it is likely that your architecture and development environment is supported by Configure. You shouldn’t have any problems with the build process or running the test suite. One common problem is not making sure ...

Get Perl in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.