This is a live mirror of the Perl 5 development currently hosted at https://github.com/perl/perl5
include info about Perl Mongers in perlfaq2 (from David H. Adler
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1=head1 NAME
2
90bb42f6 3perlfaq2 - Obtaining and Learning about Perl ($Revision: 1.32 $, $Date: 1999/10/14 18:46:09 $)
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4
5=head1 DESCRIPTION
6
7This section of the FAQ answers questions about where to find
92c2ed05 8source and documentation for Perl, support, and
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9related matters.
10
11=head2 What machines support Perl? Where do I get it?
12
13The standard release of Perl (the one maintained by the perl
5e3006a4 14development team) is distributed only in source code form. You
65acb1b1 15can find this at http://www.perl.com/CPAN/src/latest.tar.gz , which
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16in standard Internet format (a gzipped archive in POSIX tar format).
17
18Perl builds and runs on a bewildering number of platforms. Virtually
19all known and current Unix derivatives are supported (Perl's native
87275199 20platform), as are other systems like VMS, DOS, OS/2, Windows,
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21QNX, BeOS, and the Amiga. There are also the beginnings of support
22for MPE/iX.
23
24Binary distributions for some proprietary platforms, including
65acb1b1 25Apple systems, can be found http://www.perl.com/CPAN/ports/ directory.
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26Because these are not part of the standard distribution, they may
27and in fact do differ from the base Perl port in a variety of ways.
28You'll have to check their respective release notes to see just
29what the differences are. These differences can be either positive
30(e.g. extensions for the features of the particular platform that
31are not supported in the source release of perl) or negative (e.g.
32might be based upon a less current source release of perl).
92c2ed05 33
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34=head2 How can I get a binary version of Perl?
35
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36If you don't have a C compiler because your vendor for whatever
37reasons did not include one with your system, the best thing to do is
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38grab a binary version of gcc from the net and use that to compile perl
39with. CPAN only has binaries for systems that are terribly hard to
40get free compilers for, not for Unix systems.
41
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42Some URLs that might help you are:
43
44 http://language.perl.com/info/software.html
45 http://www.perl.com/latest/
46 http://www.perl.com/CPAN/ports/
47
87275199 48Someone looking for a Perl for Win16 might look to Laszlo Molnar's djgpp
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49port in http://www.perl.com/CPAN/ports/msdos/ , which comes with clear
50installation instructions. A simple installation guide for MS-DOS using
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51Ilya Zakharevich's OS/2 port is available at
52http://www.cs.ruu.nl/%7Epiet/perl5dos.html
53and similarly for Windows 3.1 at http://www.cs.ruu.nl/%7Epiet/perlwin3.html .
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54
55=head2 I don't have a C compiler on my system. How can I compile perl?
56
57Since you don't have a C compiler, you're doomed and your vendor
58should be sacrificed to the Sun gods. But that doesn't help you.
59
60What you need to do is get a binary version of gcc for your system
61first. Consult the Usenet FAQs for your operating system for
62information on where to get such a binary version.
63
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64=head2 I copied the Perl binary from one machine to another, but scripts don't work.
65
66That's probably because you forgot libraries, or library paths differ.
67You really should build the whole distribution on the machine it will
68eventually live on, and then type C<make install>. Most other
69approaches are doomed to failure.
70
71One simple way to check that things are in the right place is to print out
46fc3d4c 72the hard-coded @INC which perl is looking for.
68dc0745 73
65acb1b1 74 % perl -e 'print join("\n",@INC)'
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75
76If this command lists any paths which don't exist on your system, then you
77may need to move the appropriate libraries to these locations, or create
87275199 78symbolic links, aliases, or shortcuts appropriately. @INC is also printed as
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79part of the output of
80
81 % perl -V
68dc0745 82
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83You might also want to check out L<perlfaq8/"How do I keep my own
84module/library directory?">.
85
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86=head2 I grabbed the sources and tried to compile but gdbm/dynamic loading/malloc/linking/... failed. How do I make it work?
87
88Read the F<INSTALL> file, which is part of the source distribution.
65acb1b1 89It describes in detail how to cope with most idiosyncrasies that the
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90Configure script can't work around for any given system or
91architecture.
92
93=head2 What modules and extensions are available for Perl? What is CPAN? What does CPAN/src/... mean?
94
95CPAN stands for Comprehensive Perl Archive Network, a huge archive
96replicated on dozens of machines all over the world. CPAN contains
46fc3d4c 97source code, non-native ports, documentation, scripts, and many
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98third-party modules and extensions, designed for everything from
99commercial database interfaces to keyboard/screen control to web
100walking and CGI scripts. The master machine for CPAN is
101ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/languages/perl/CPAN/, but you can use the
102address http://www.perl.com/CPAN/CPAN.html to fetch a copy from a
103"site near you". See http://www.perl.com/CPAN (without a slash at the
104end) for how this process works.
105
106CPAN/path/... is a naming convention for files available on CPAN
107sites. CPAN indicates the base directory of a CPAN mirror, and the
108rest of the path is the path from that directory to the file. For
109instance, if you're using ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/languages/perl/CPAN
110as your CPAN site, the file CPAN/misc/japh file is downloadable as
111ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/languages/perl/CPAN/misc/japh .
112
113Considering that there are hundreds of existing modules in the
114archive, one probably exists to do nearly anything you can think of.
87275199 115Current categories under CPAN/modules/by-category/ include Perl core
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116modules; development support; operating system interfaces; networking,
117devices, and interprocess communication; data type utilities; database
118interfaces; user interfaces; interfaces to other languages; filenames,
119file systems, and file locking; internationalization and locale; world
120wide web support; server and daemon utilities; archiving and
121compression; image manipulation; mail and news; control flow
122utilities; filehandle and I/O; Microsoft Windows modules; and
123miscellaneous modules.
124
125=head2 Is there an ISO or ANSI certified version of Perl?
126
127Certainly not. Larry expects that he'll be certified before Perl is.
128
129=head2 Where can I get information on Perl?
130
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131The complete Perl documentation is available with the Perl distribution.
132If you have Perl installed locally, you probably have the documentation
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133installed as well: type C<man perl> if you're on a system resembling Unix.
134This will lead you to other important man pages, including how to set your
135$MANPATH. If you're not on a Unix system, access to the documentation
136will be different; for example, it might be only in HTML format. But all
87275199 137proper Perl installations have fully-accessible documentation.
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138
139You might also try C<perldoc perl> in case your system doesn't
140have a proper man command, or it's been misinstalled. If that doesn't
141work, try looking in /usr/local/lib/perl5/pod for documentation.
142
143If all else fails, consult the CPAN/doc directory, which contains the
144complete documentation in various formats, including native pod,
145troff, html, and plain text. There's also a web page at
146http://www.perl.com/perl/info/documentation.html that might help.
147
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148Many good books have been written about Perl -- see the section below
149for more details.
150
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151Tutorial documents are included in current or upcoming Perl releases
152include L<perltoot> for objects, L<perlopentut> for file opening
153semantics, L<perlreftut> for managing references, and L<perlxstut>
154for linking C and Perl together. There may be more by the
155time you read this. The following URLs might also be of
156assistance:
157
158 http://language.perl.com/info/documentation.html
159 http://reference.perl.com/query.cgi?tutorials
160
87275199 161=head2 What are the Perl newsgroups on Usenet? Where do I post questions?
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162
163The now defunct comp.lang.perl newsgroup has been superseded by the
164following groups:
165
166 comp.lang.perl.announce Moderated announcement group
167 comp.lang.perl.misc Very busy group about Perl in general
5a964f20 168 comp.lang.perl.moderated Moderated discussion group
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169 comp.lang.perl.modules Use and development of Perl modules
170 comp.lang.perl.tk Using Tk (and X) from Perl
171
172 comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi Writing CGI scripts for the Web.
173
87275199 174There is also Usenet gateway to the mailing list used by the crack
68dc0745 175Perl development team (perl5-porters) at
5a964f20 176news://news.perl.com/perl.porters-gw/ .
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177
178=head2 Where should I post source code?
179
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180You should post source code to whichever group is most appropriate, but
181feel free to cross-post to comp.lang.perl.misc. If you want to cross-post
182to alt.sources, please make sure it follows their posting standards,
183including setting the Followup-To header line to NOT include alt.sources;
184see their FAQ (http://www.faqs.org/faqs/alt-sources-intro/) for details.
68dc0745 185
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186If you're just looking for software, first use AltaVista
187(http://www.altavista.com), Deja (http://www.deja.com), and
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188search CPAN. This is faster and more productive than just posting
189a request.
190
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191=head2 Perl Books
192
7b8d334a 193A number of books on Perl and/or CGI programming are available. A few of
87275199 194these are good, some are OK, but many aren't worth your money. Tom
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195Christiansen maintains a list of these books, some with extensive
196reviews, at http://www.perl.com/perl/critiques/index.html.
197
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198The incontestably definitive reference book on Perl, written by
199the creator of Perl, is now in its second edition:
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200
201 Programming Perl (the "Camel Book"):
65acb1b1 202 by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Randal Schwartz
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203 ISBN 1-56592-149-6 (English)
204 ISBN 4-89052-384-7 (Japanese)
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205 URL: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/pperl2/
206 (French, German, Italian, and Hungarian translations also
207 available)
68dc0745 208
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209The companion volume to the Camel containing thousands
210of real-world examples, mini-tutorials, and complete programs
211(first premiering at the 1998 Perl Conference), is:
212
213 The Perl Cookbook (the "Ram Book"):
65acb1b1 214 by Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington,
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215 with Foreword by Larry Wall
216 ISBN: 1-56592-243-3
217 URL: http://perl.oreilly.com/cookbook/
68dc0745 218
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219If you're already a hard-core systems programmer, then the Camel Book
220might suffice for you to learn Perl from. But if you're not, check
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221out:
222
223 Learning Perl (the "Llama Book"):
65acb1b1 224 by Randal Schwartz and Tom Christiansen
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225 with Foreword by Larry Wall
226 ISBN: 1-56592-284-0
227 URL: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/lperl2/
228
229Despite the picture at the URL above, the second edition of "Llama
230Book" really has a blue cover, and is updated for the 5.004 release
231of Perl. Various foreign language editions are available, including
232I<Learning Perl on Win32 Systems> (the Gecko Book).
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233
234If you're not an accidental programmer, but a more serious and possibly
235even degreed computer scientist who doesn't need as much hand-holding as
236we try to provide in the Llama or its defurred cousin the Gecko, please
237check out the delightful book, I<Perl: The Programmer's Companion>,
238written by Nigel Chapman.
239
c8db1d39 240You can order O'Reilly books directly from O'Reilly & Associates,
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2411-800-998-9938. Local/overseas is 1-707-829-0515. If you can
242locate an O'Reilly order form, you can also fax to 1-707-829-0104.
243See http://www.ora.com/ on the Web.
244
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245What follows is a list of the books that the FAQ authors found personally
246useful. Your mileage may (but, we hope, probably won't) vary.
247
65acb1b1 248Recommended books on (or mostly on) Perl follow; those marked with
5e3006a4 249a star may be ordered from O'Reilly.
68dc0745 250
5a964f20 251=over
68dc0745 252
5a964f20 253=item References
68dc0745 254
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255 *Programming Perl
256 by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Randal L. Schwartz
68dc0745 257
5a964f20 258 *Perl 5 Desktop Reference
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259 by Johan Vromans
260
261 *Perl in a Nutshell
262 by Ellen Siever, Stephan Spainhour, and Nathan Patwardhan
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264=item Tutorials
265
266 *Learning Perl [2nd edition]
267 by Randal L. Schwartz and Tom Christiansen
5e3006a4 268 with foreword by Larry Wall
68dc0745 269
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270 *Learning Perl on Win32 Systems
271 by Randal L. Schwartz, Erik Olson, and Tom Christiansen,
272 with foreword by Larry Wall
68dc0745 273
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274 Perl: The Programmer's Companion
275 by Nigel Chapman
68dc0745 276
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277 Cross-Platform Perl
278 by Eric F. Johnson
68dc0745 279
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280 MacPerl: Power and Ease
281 by Vicki Brown and Chris Nandor, foreword by Matthias Neeracher
68dc0745 282
65acb1b1 283=item Task-Oriented
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284
285 *The Perl Cookbook
286 by Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington
287 with foreword by Larry Wall
288
289 Perl5 Interactive Course [2nd edition]
290 by Jon Orwant
291
292 *Advanced Perl Programming
293 by Sriram Srinivasan
68dc0745 294
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295 Effective Perl Programming
296 by Joseph Hall
68dc0745 297
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298=item Special Topics
299
300 *Mastering Regular Expressions
301 by Jeffrey Friedl
302
303 How to Set up and Maintain a World Wide Web Site [2nd edition]
304 by Lincoln Stein
305
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306 *Learning Perl/Tk
307 by Nancy Walsh
308
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309=back
310
311=head2 Perl in Magazines
312
313The first and only periodical devoted to All Things Perl, I<The
314Perl Journal> contains tutorials, demonstrations, case studies,
315announcements, contests, and much more. TPJ has columns on web
316development, databases, Win32 Perl, graphical programming, regular
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317expressions, and networking, and sponsors the Obfuscated Perl
318Contest. It is published quarterly under the gentle hand of its
319editor, Jon Orwant. See http://www.tpj.com/ or send mail to
65acb1b1 320subscriptions@tpj.com .
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321
322Beyond this, magazines that frequently carry high-quality articles
323on Perl are I<Web Techniques> (see http://www.webtechniques.com/),
c8db1d39 324I<Performance Computing> (http://www.performance-computing.com/), and Usenix's
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325newsletter/magazine to its members, I<login:>, at http://www.usenix.org/.
326Randal's Web Technique's columns are available on the web at
327http://www.stonehenge.com/merlyn/WebTechniques/.
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328
329=head2 Perl on the Net: FTP and WWW Access
330
331To get the best (and possibly cheapest) performance, pick a site from
332the list below and use it to grab the complete list of mirror sites.
87275199 333From there you can find the quickest site for you. Remember, the
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334following list is I<not> the complete list of CPAN mirrors.
335
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336 http://www.perl.com/CPAN-local
337 http://www.perl.com/CPAN (redirects to an ftp mirror)
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338 http://www.perl.org/CPAN
339 ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/languages/perl/CPAN/
340 http://www.cs.ruu.nl/pub/PERL/CPAN/
341 ftp://ftp.cs.colorado.edu/pub/perl/CPAN/
342
87275199 343=head2 What mailing lists are there for Perl?
68dc0745 344
87275199 345Most of the major modules (Tk, CGI, libwww-perl) have their own
68dc0745 346mailing lists. Consult the documentation that came with the module for
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347subscription information. The Perl Institute attempts to maintain a
348list of mailing lists at:
68dc0745 349
65acb1b1 350 http://www.perl.org/maillist.html
68dc0745 351
65acb1b1 352=head2 Archives of comp.lang.perl.misc
68dc0745 353
87275199 354Have you tried Deja or AltaVista? Those are the
65acb1b1 355best archives. Just look up "*perl*" as a newsgroup.
68dc0745 356
87275199 357 http://www.deja.com/dnquery.xp?QRY=&DBS=2&ST=PS&defaultOp=AND&LNG=ALL&format=terse&showsort=date&maxhits=25&subjects=&groups=*perl*&authors=&fromdate=&todate=
68dc0745 358
65acb1b1 359You'll probably want to trim that down a bit, though.
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360
361ftp.cis.ufl.edu:/pub/perl/comp.lang.perl.*/monthly has an almost
362complete collection dating back to 12/89 (missing 08/91 through
36312/93). They are kept as one large file for each month.
364
365You'll probably want more a sophisticated query and retrieval mechanism
366than a file listing, preferably one that allows you to retrieve
367articles using a fast-access indices, keyed on at least author, date,
368subject, thread (as in "trn") and probably keywords. The best
369solution the FAQ authors know of is the MH pick command, but it is
370very slow to select on 18000 articles.
371
372If you have, or know where can be found, the missing sections, please
373let perlfaq-suggestions@perl.com know.
374
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375=head2 Where can I buy a commercial version of Perl?
376
d92eb7b0 377In a real sense, Perl already I<is> commercial software: It has a license
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378that you can grab and carefully read to your manager. It is distributed
379in releases and comes in well-defined packages. There is a very large
380user community and an extensive literature. The comp.lang.perl.*
381newsgroups and several of the mailing lists provide free answers to your
382questions in near real-time. Perl has traditionally been supported by
383Larry, scores of software designers and developers, and myriads of
384programmers, all working for free to create a useful thing to make life
385better for everyone.
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386
387However, these answers may not suffice for managers who require a
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388purchase order from a company whom they can sue should anything go awry.
389Or maybe they need very serious hand-holding and contractual obligations.
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390Shrink-wrapped CDs with Perl on them are available from several sources if
391that will help. For example, many Perl books carry a Perl distribution
d92eb7b0 392on them, as do the O'Reilly Perl Resource Kits (in both the Unix flavor
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393and in the proprietary Microsoft flavor); the free Unix distributions
394also all come with Perl.
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395
396Or you can purchase a real support contract. Although Cygnus historically
397provided this service, they no longer sell support contracts for Perl.
398Instead, the Paul Ingram Group will be taking up the slack through The
399Perl Clinic. The following is a commercial from them:
400
401"Do you need professional support for Perl and/or Oraperl? Do you need
402a support contract with defined levels of service? Do you want to pay
403only for what you need?
404
405"The Paul Ingram Group has provided quality software development and
406support services to some of the world's largest corporations for ten
407years. We are now offering the same quality support services for Perl
408at The Perl Clinic. This service is led by Tim Bunce, an active perl
409porter since 1994 and well known as the author and maintainer of the
410DBI, DBD::Oracle, and Oraperl modules and author/co-maintainer of The
411Perl 5 Module List. We also offer Oracle users support for Perl5
412Oraperl and related modules (which Oracle is planning to ship as part
413of Oracle Web Server 3). 20% of the profit from our Perl support work
414will be donated to The Perl Institute."
415
65acb1b1 416For more information, contact The Perl Clinic:
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417
418 Tel: +44 1483 424424
419 Fax: +44 1483 419419
420 Web: http://www.perl.co.uk/
421 Email: perl-support-info@perl.co.uk or Tim.Bunce@ig.co.uk
422
65acb1b1 423See also www.perl.com for updates on tutorials, training, and support.
5e3006a4 424
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425=head2 Where do I send bug reports?
426
427If you are reporting a bug in the perl interpreter or the modules
87275199 428shipped with Perl, use the I<perlbug> program in the Perl distribution or
65acb1b1 429mail your report to perlbug@perl.com .
68dc0745 430
46fc3d4c 431If you are posting a bug with a non-standard port (see the answer to
68dc0745 432"What platforms is Perl available for?"), a binary distribution, or a
46fc3d4c 433non-standard module (such as Tk, CGI, etc), then please see the
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434documentation that came with it to determine the correct place to post
435bugs.
436
5a964f20 437Read the perlbug(1) man page (perl5.004 or later) for more information.
68dc0745 438
90bb42f6 439=head2 What is perl.com? Perl Mongers? pm.org? perl.org?
68dc0745 440
65acb1b1 441The perl.com domain is owned by Tom Christiansen, who created it as a
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442public service long before perl.org came about. Despite the name, it's a
443pretty non-commercial site meant to be a clearinghouse for information
444about all things Perlian, accepting no paid advertisements, bouncy
87275199 445happy GIFs, or silly Java applets on its pages. The Perl Home Page at
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446http://www.perl.com/ is currently hosted on a T3 line courtesy of Songline
447Systems, a software-oriented subsidiary of O'Reilly and Associates.
65acb1b1 448Other starting points include
5a964f20 449
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450 http://language.perl.com/
451 http://conference.perl.com/
452 http://reference.perl.com/
68dc0745 453
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454Perl Mongers is an advocacy organization for the Perl language. For
455details, see the Perl Mongers web site at http://www.perlmongers.org/.
456
457Perl Mongers uses the pm.org domain for services related to Perl user
458groups. See the Perl user group web site at http://www.pm.org/ for more
459information about joining, starting, or requesting services for a Perl
460user group.
461
462Perl Mongers also maintains the perl.org domain to provide general
463support services to the Perl community, including the hosting of mailing
464lists, web sites, and other services. The web site
465http://www.perl.org/ is a general advocacy site for the Perl language,
466and there are many other sub-domains for special topics, such as
467
468 http://history.perl.org/
469 http://bugs.perl.org/
470 http://www.news.perl.org/
471
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472=head1 AUTHOR AND COPYRIGHT
473
65acb1b1 474Copyright (c) 1997-1999 Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington.
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475All rights reserved.
476
c8db1d39 477When included as an integrated part of the Standard Distribution
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478of Perl or of its documentation (printed or otherwise), this works is
479covered under Perl's Artistic License. For separate distributions of
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480all or part of this FAQ outside of that, see L<perlfaq>.
481
87275199 482Irrespective of its distribution, all code examples here are in the public
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483domain. You are permitted and encouraged to use this code and any
484derivatives thereof in your own programs for fun or for profit as you
485see fit. A simple comment in the code giving credit to the FAQ would
486be courteous but is not required.