ppm - Perl Package Manager, version 4


Invoke the graphical user interface:

    ppm gui

Install, upgrade and remove packages:

    ppm install [--area <area>] [--force] <pkg> ...
    ppm install [--area <area>] [--force] <module> ...
    ppm install [--area <area>] <url>
    ppm install [--area <area>] <file>.ppmx
    ppm install [--area <area>] <file>.ppd
    ppm install [--area <area>] <num>
    ppm upgrade [--install]
    ppm upgrade [--area <area>] <pkg>
    ppm upgrade [--area <area>] <module>
    ppm remove [--area <area>] [--force] <pkg>

Manage and search install areas:

    ppm area list [--csv] [--no-header]
    ppm area sync
    ppm list [--fields <fieldnames>] [--csv]
    ppm list <area> [--fields <fieldnames>] [--csv]
    ppm files <pkg>
    ppm verify [<pkg>]

Manage and search repositories:

    ppm repo list [--csv] [--no-header]
    ppm repo sync [--force] [<num>]
    ppm repo on <num>
    ppm repo off <num>
    ppm repo describe <num>
    ppm repo add <name>
    ppm repo add <url> [<name>] [--username <user> [--password <passwd>]]
    ppm repo rename <num> <name>
    ppm repo location <num> <url>
    ppm repo suggest
    ppm search <pattern>
    ppm describe <num>
    ppm tree <package>
    ppm tree <num>

Obtain version and copyright information about this program:

    ppm --version
    ppm version


The ppm program is the package manager for ActivePerl. It simplifies the task of locating, installing, upgrading and removing Perl packages.

Invoking ppm without arguments brings up the graphical user interface, but ppm can also be used as a command line tool where the first argument provide the name of the sub-command to invoke. The following sub-commands are recognized:

ppm area init area

Will initialize the given area so that PPM starts tracking the packages it contains.

PPM allows for the addition of new install areas, which is useful for shared ActivePerl installations where the user does not have write permissions for the site and perl areas. New install areas are added by simply setting up new library directories for perl to search, and PPM will set up install areas to match. The easiest way to add library directories for perl is to specify them in the PERL5LIB environment variable, see perlrun for details. PPM will create etc, bin, html directories as needed when installing packages. If the last segment of the library directory path is lib then the other directories will be created as siblings of the lib directory, otherwise they will be subdirectories.

ppm area list [ --csv [ sep ] ] [ --no-header ]

Lists the available install areas. The list displays the name, number of installed packages and lib directory location for each install area. If that area is read-only, the name appears in parenthesis. You will not be able to install packages or remove packages in these areas. The default install area is marked with a * after its name.

The order of the listed install areas is the order perl uses when searching for modules. Modules installed in earlier areas override modules installed in later ones.

The --csv option selects CSV (comma-separated values) format for the output. The default field separator can be overridden by the argument following --csv.

The --no-header option suppresses column headings.

ppm area sync [ area ... ]

Synchronizes installed packages, including those installed by means other than PPM (e.g. the CPAN shell), with the ppm database. PPM searches the install area(s) for packages, making PPM database entries if they do not already exist, or dropping entries for packages that no longer exist. When used without an area argument, all install areas are synced.

ppm config name [ value ]

Get or set various PPM configuration values.

The following configuration options might be of interest:


The architecture of the current database. For internal use. Don't change this.


If set to '1' look for package.db.gz indexes in repositories before looking for the package.xml file.


If set to '0' don't generate and install the HTML version of the documentation for the modules installed. This makes installation considerably faster.


Various settings for the graphical user interface.

ppm config list

List all configuration options currently set.

ppm describe num

Shows all properties for a particular package from the last search result.

ppm files pkg

Lists the full path name of the files belonging to the given package, one line per file.

ppm help [ subcommand ]

Prints the documentation for ppm (this file).

ppm info [ name ]

List information about ppm and its environment. With argument print the value of the given variable. See also "ppm config list".

ppm install pkg ... [ --area area ] [ --force ] [ --nodeps ]
ppm install module ... [ --area area ] [ --force ] [ --nodeps ]
ppm install file.ppmx [ --area area ] [ --nodeps ]
ppm install file.ppd [ --area area ] [ --nodeps ]
ppm install url [ --area area ] [ --nodeps ]
ppm install num [ --area area ] [ --nodeps ]

Install a package and its dependencies.

The argument to ppm install can be the name of a package, the name of a module provided by the package, the file name or the URL of a PPMX or PPD file, or the associated number for the package returned by the last ppm search command.

Package or module names can be repeated to install multiple modules in one go. These forms can also be intermixed.

If the package or module requested is already installed, PPM installs nothing. The --force option can be used to make PPM install a package even if it's already present. With --force PPM resolves file conflicts during package installation or upgrade by allowing files already installed by other packages to be overwritten and ownership transferred to the new package. This may break the package that originally owned the file.

By default, new packages are installed in the site area, but if the site area is read only, and there are user-defined areas set up, the first user-defined area is used as the default instead. Use the --area option to install the package into an alternative location.

The --nodeps option makes PPM attempt to install the package without resolving any dependencies the package might have.

ppm list [ area ] [ --matching pattern ] [ --csv [ sep ] ] [ --no-header ] [ ---fields fieldlist ]

List installed packages. If the area argument is not provided, list the content of all install areas.

The --matching option limits the output to only include packages matching the given pattern. See ppm search for pattern syntax.

The --csv option selects CSV (comma-separated values) format for the output. The default field separator can be overridden by the argument following --csv.

The --no-header option suppress printing of the column headings.

The --fields argument can be used to select what fields to show. The argument is a comma separated list of the following field names:


The package name. This field is always shown, but if specified alone get rid of the decorative box.


The version number of the package.


The release date of the package.


A one sentence description of the purpose of the package.


The package author or maintainer.


Where the package is installed.


The number of files installed for the package.


The combined disk space used for the package.


The location of the package description file.

ppm log [ --errors ] [ minutes ]

Print entries from the log for the last few minutes. By default print log lines for the last minute. With --errors option suppress warnings, trace and debug events.

ppm profile restore [ filename ]

Install the packages listed in the given profile file. If no file is given try to read the profile from standard input.

ppm profile save [ filename ]

Write profile of configured repositories and installed packages to the given file. If no file is given then print the profile XML to standard output.

ppm query pattern

Alias for ppm list --matching pattern. Provided for PPM version 3 compatibility.

ppm remove [ --area area ] [ --force ] pkg ...

Uninstalls the specified package. If area is provided unininstall from the specified area only. With --force uninstall even if there are other packages that depend on features provided by the given package.

ppm rep ...

Alias for ppm repo. Provided for PPM version 3 compatibility.

ppm repo

Alias for ppm repo list.

ppm repo add name

Add the named resposity for PPM to fetch packages from. The names recognized are shown by the ppm repo suggest command. Use ppm repo add activestate if you want to restore the default ActiveState repo after deleting it.

ppm repo add url [ name ] [ --username user [ --password password ]

Set up a new repository for PPM to fetch packages from.

ppm repo delete num

Remove repository number num.

ppm repo describe num

Show all properties for repository number num.

ppm repo list [ --csv [ sep ] ] [ --no-header ]

List the repositories that PPM is currently configured to use. Use this to identify which number specifies a particular repository.

The --csv option selects comma-separated values format for the output. The default field separator can be overridden by the argument following --csv.

The --no-header option suppress printing of the column headings.

ppm repo num

Alias for ppm repo describe num.

ppm repo num cmd

Alias for ppm repo cmd num.

ppm repo off num

Disable repository number num for ppm install or ppm search.

ppm repo on num

Enable repository number num if it has been previously disabled with ppm repo off.

ppm repo rename num name

Change name by which the given repo is known.

ppm repo location num url

Change the location of the given repo. This will make PPM forget all cached data from the old repository and try to refetch it from the new location.

Alias for ppm search.

ppm repo suggest

List some known repositories that can be added with ppm add. The list only include repositories that are usable by this perl installation.

ppm repo sync [ --force ] [ --max-ppd max ] [ num ]

Synchronize local cache of packages found in the enabled repositories. With the --force option, download state from remote repositories even if the local state has not expired yet. If num is provided, only sync the given repository.

PPM will need to download every PPD file for repositories that don't provide a summary file (package.xml). This can be very slow for large repositories. Thus PPM refuses to start the downloads with repositores linking to more that 100 PPD files unless the --max-ppd option provides a higher limit.

ppm search pattern

Search for packages matching pattern in all enabled repositories.

For pattern, use the wildcard * to match any number of characters and the wildcard ? to match a single character. For example, to find packages starting with the string "List" search for list*. Searches are case insensitive.

If pattern contains ::, PPM will search for packages that provide modules matching the pattern.

If pattern matches the name of a package exactly (case-sensitively), only that package is shown. A pattern without wildcards that does not match any package names exactly is used for a substring search against available package names (i.e. treated the same as "*pattern*").

The output format depends on how many packages match. If there is only one match, the ppm describe format is used. If only a few packages match, limited information is displayed. If many packages match, only the package names and version numbers are displayed, one per line.

The number prefixing each entry in search output can be used to look up full information with ppm describe num, dependencies with ppm tree num or to install the package with ppm install num.

ppm tree package
ppm tree num

Shows all the dependencies (recusively) for a particular package. The package can be identified by a package name or the associated number for the package returned by the last ppm search command.

ppm uninstall ...

Alias for ppm remove.

ppm update ...

Alias for ppm upgrade.

ppm upgrade [ --install ] [ --area area ]

List packages that there are upgrades available for. With --install option install the upgrades as well.

ppm upgrade [ --area area ] pkg
ppm upgrade [ --area area ] module

Upgrades the specified package or module if an upgrade is available in one of the currently enabled repositories.

If area is given; install the upgrade to the given area instead of the default. You are responsible for making sure that the given area isn't shadowed by another that contains an older version of the upgraded module. If so the upgrade would be not effective.

If no area is given, then ppm tries to apply the upgrade to the same area that the module was previously installed in. If the module was installed in a read-only area or not installed, then the default install location is used.

ppm verify [ pkg ]

Checks that the installed files are still present and unmodified. If the package name is given, only that packages is verified.

ppm version

Will print the version of PPM and a copyright notice.


The following lists files and directories that PPM uses and creates:


Directory where PPM keeps its state. On Windows this directory is $LOCAL_APPDATA/ActiveState/ActivePerl/$VERSION. The $VERSION is a string like "818".


SQLite database where ppm keeps its configuration and caches meta information about the content of the enabled repositories.


Log file created to record actions that PPM takes. On Windows this is logged to $TEMPDIR/ppm4.log. On Mac OS X this is logged to $HOME/Library/Logs/ppm4.log.


SQLite database where PPM tracks packages installed in the install area under $PREFIX.


Temporary directories used during install. Packages to be installed are unpacked here.


These files contains a single package that can be installed by PPM. They are compressed tarballs containing the PPD file for the package and the blib tree to be installed.


XML files containing meta information about packages. Each package has its own .ppd file. See ActivePerl::PPM::PPD for additional information.


Meta information about repositories. When a repository is added, PPM looks for this file and if present, monitors it too stay in sync with the state of the repository.


Same as package.xml but PPM 3 compatible. PPM will use this file if package.xml is not available.


The same information as found in package.xml as a compressed SQLite database image using PPM's internal database schema. Repositories that provide this image should also provide an package.xml with the same information.

When only one repo is used it's faster for the client to just download and use this database image, instead of parsing the package.xml and build the database from it locally.


The following environment variables affect how PPM behaves:


If set to a TRUE value, makes PPM print more internal diagnostics.


Select what kind of box drawing characters to use for the ppm * list outputs. Valid values are ascii, dos and unicode. The default varies.


If set, use this directory to store state and configuration information for PPM. This defaults to $LOCAL_APPDATA/ActiveState/ActivePerl/$VERSION on Windows and $HOME/.ActivePerl/$VERSION/ on Unix systems.


If set to a TRUE value, make PPM print any log output to the console as well.


PPM uses DBI to access the internal SQLite databases. Setting DBI_TRACE allow you to see what queries are performed. Output goes to STDERR. See DBI for further details.


PPM uses LWP to access remote repositories. If you need HTTP traffic pass via a proxy server to reach the repository, you must set the http_proxy environment variable. Some examples:

   Using bash:
       export http_proxy=

   Using cmd.exe:
       set http_proxy=

See "env_proxy" in LWP::UserAgent for more.




Copyright (C) 2013 ActiveState Software Inc. All rights reserved.