Acquiring Perl Software

Downloading the Future Version of the Interpreter
Perl 5.004 is now pre-released in beta form. Read the release notes and/or *documentation.

Downloading the Current Version of the Interpreter
Just click to *download the latest source for Perl version 5.003 from a fast link. This version is a stable, production release (not beta) that compiles out of the box for virtually all flavors of UNIX (its native environment), plus VMS and OS/2 as well. Check out its *installation notes for details (or see the INSTALL file in the src directory.) *Release notes were available for 5.002, but not yet for 5.003.

WARNING: You will have to recompile all unbundled extensions to install this (like curses, tk, etc.)

The Perl Compiler
The Perl Compiler, (yes, Virginia, you can compile to C) by *Malcolm Beattie is available in *alpha-3 release. This is still considered experimental, but is definitely firming up. See also his first announcement about it for details. Please read the *relevant FAQs about what it is and what it is not.

Alien Ports
If you are looking to run Perl on a non-native system, then have a look at the */CPAN/ports/ directory. WinDOS users will want to download the *new 5.003 beta. or the *old 5.001m release (Yes, the main release is at 5.004beta, but WinDOS as always lags behind.) Make sure you view the nifty NEW new FAQ from Evangelo Prodromou, or perhaps visit the *ActiveWare site (née HIP Communications) site directly.

Binary Distributions
Binaries are not available for native systems. For a lot of reasons, it's really much better if you configure and build Perl yourself. Anyway, it's contrary to the open and inquisitive spirit of Perl, the Internet, and software freedom to pass around potentially viral binaries that people can't open up and look at, fix up, learn from, rewrite, and simply enjoy for the pure sense of coding æsthetics. If your vendor didn't provide you with a C compiler, you will need to get a binary version of gcc to bootstrap.

Unbundled Modules
The Perl core destribution does not ship with all possible modules ever written for it. You may view the *CPAN index and the long *full modules file, or see my *brief module roadmap. There's also a biased list of the *most useful modules that everyone should get.

When downloading *CPAN software from Perl.COM, a *random CPAN site near you will be selected, or you may *select a specific CPAN site from a *list of several dozen.

Perl is free software. Read its *licence if you aren't sure what you can or can't do. The bottom line is that this is a kinder and gentler version of the GNU licence [*sic] -- one that doesn't infect your work if you care to borrow from Perl or package up pieces of it as part of a commercial product!

Related Matters
You might want to check out the pages on *documentation, training, and *support.

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Copyright 1996 Tom Christiansen.
All rights reserved.