ActivePerl FAQ - Availability and Installation

ActivePerl FAQ - Availability and Installation


ActivePerl-faq1 - Availability and Installation


Getting, installing, and using Perl.

What is Perl?

Perl is a scripting language widely used for system administration and programming on the World Wide Web. It originated in the UNIX community and has a strong UNIX slant, but usage on Windows has grown rapidly. ActivePerl is a quality-assured binary distribution of Perl for popular UNIX platforms and Windows.

perl (small 'p') is the program used to interpret the Perl language.

Where can I get tons of information about Perl?

Extensive online documentation is included with Perl itself. You can read the documentation with the perldoc command, as in perldoc document_name. You should start with the perl document and the perlfaq document. For information on other ways of accessing the Perl documentation (including HTML versions of this documentation), see Where can I get documentation on ActivePerl?.

To get more information about Perl, check out these URLs:

There are several good books about Perl. The premier book on ActivePerl for Windows is Learning Perl On Win32 Systems By Schwartz, Olson, and Christiansen (O'Reilly & Associates, 1997). This is the Gecko book, and has a picture of a gecko (little chubby lizard with big toes and a smile) on the front cover.

For general perl, two books to consider are Programming Perl, 3rd Edition, by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen and Randal L. Schwartz (O'Reilly & Associates, 1996) and Learning Perl, 3rd Edition, by Randal L. Schwartz (O'Reilly & Associates, 1993). These are referred to by Perl enthusiasts as the Camel book and the Llama book, respectively.

If you are new to Perl and there are any terms mentioned in this FAQ that you don't get, try one of the above resources. See the perlbook document that comes with Perl for more information.

Where can I get ActivePerl?

ActivePerl is available for download from ActiveState:

Redistribution of ActivePerl requires OEM Licensing.

What versions of ActivePerl are available / supported?

The two most recent stable releases are available for free download. This corresponds to the Perl community's own version support policy.

Whenever the underlying Perl version becomes "unsupported" by the Perl community itself, support for the corresponding ActivePerl versions will be limited to Business Edition and Enterprise Edition customers.

You can continue to use older ActivePerl releases indefinitely under the terms of the Community Edition license, but won't be able to download the installers from ActiveState.

What do I get with ActivePerl?

ActivePerl is a complete, self-installing distribution of Perl based on the standard Perl sources. It is distributed online at the ActiveState site.

"Perl for Win32" generally refers to ActivePerl for Windows.

How do I install ActivePerl?

For complete installation information, see the ActivePerl Installation Guide.

Can I build Perl from the source code?

The Perl source code includes complete instructions on building Perl. You can obtain the latest Perl source from:

Once you extract the source, read the README file for instructions on compiling Perl.


This FAQ was originally assembled and maintained by Evangelo Prodromou. It has been revised and updated by Brian Jepson of O'Reilly & Associates, David Grove, David Dmytryshyn, David Sparks and Michael Smith of ActiveState.

This FAQ is in the public domain. If you use it, however, please ensure that you give credit to the original authors.

 ActivePerl FAQ - Availability and Installation