perlmodinstall - Installing CPAN Modules


You can think of a module as the fundamental unit of reusable Perl code; See perlmod for details. Whenever anyone creates a chunk of Perl code that they think will be useful to the world, they register as a Perl developer at so that they can then upload their code to CPAN . CPAN is the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network and can be accessed at, or searched via and .

This documentation is for people who want to download CPAN modules and install them on their own computer.


You have a file ending in .tar.gz (or, less often, .zip). You know there's a tasty module inside. You must now take four steps:


UNPACK the file into a directory

BUILD the module (sometimes unnecessary)

INSTALL the module.

Here's how to perform each step for each operating system. This is not a substitute for reading the README and INSTALL files that might have come with your module!

Also note that these instructions are tailored for installing the module into your system's repository of Perl modules. But you can install modules into any directory you wish. For instance, where I say perl Makefile.PL, you can substitute perl Makefile.PL PREFIX=/my/perl_directory to install the modules into /my/perl_directory. Then you can use the modules from your Perl programs with use lib


sometimes just use .

If you're on Unix,

You can use Andreas Koenig's CPAN module (which comes standard with Perl, or can itself be downloaded from to automate the following steps, from DECOMPRESS through INSTALL .


Decompress the file with gzip -d yourmodule.tar.gz

You can get gzip from

Or, you can combine this step with the next to save disk

gzip -dc yourmodule.tar.gz tar -xof -


Unpack the result with tar -xof yourmodule.tar


Go into the newly-created directory and type

perl Makefile.PL

make make test D. INSTALL

While still in that directory, type

make install

Make sure you have appropriate permissions to install the module in your Perl 5 library directory. Often, you'll need to be root.

Perl maintains a record of all module installations. To look

at this list, simply type

perldoc perllocal

That's all you need to do on Unix systems with dynamic linking. Most Unix systems have dynamic linking--if yours doesn't, or if for another reason you have a statically-linked perl, and the module requires compilation, you'll need to build a new Perl binary that includes the module. Again, you'll probably need to be root.

If you're running Windows 95 or NT with the !ActiveState? port of Perl


You can use the shareware Winzip program ( ) to decompress and unpack modules.


If you used !WinZip?, this was already done for you.


Does the module require compilation (i.e. does it have files that end in .xs, .c, .h, .y, .cc, .cxx, or .C)? If it does, you're on your own. You can try compiling it yourself if you have a C compiler. If you're successful, consider uploading the resulting binary to CPAN for others to use. If it doesn't, go to INSTALL .


Copy the module into your Perl's lib directory. That'll be one of the directories you see when you type

perl -e 'print

If you're running Windows 95 or NT with the core Windows distribution of Perl,


When you download the module, make sure it ends in either .tar.gz or .zip. Windows browsers sometimes download .tar.gz files as _tar.tar, because early versions of Windows prohibited more than one dot in a filename.

You can use the shareware !WinZip? program ( ) to decompress and unpack modules.

Or, you can use !InfoZip?'s unzip utility ( ) to uncompress .zip files; type unzip in your shell.

Or, if you have a working tar and gzip, you can type

gzip -cd yourmodule.tar.gz tar xvf -

in the shell to decompress yourmodule.tar.gz. This will UNPACK your module as well.


The methods in DECOMPRESS will have done this for you.


Go into the newly-created directory and type

perl Makefile.PL

dmake dmake test Depending on your perl configuration, dmake might not be available. You might have to substitute whatever perl -V:make says. (Usually, that will be nmake or make.)


While still in that directory, type

dmake install

If you're using a Macintosh,


First thing you should do is make sure you have the latest cpan-mac distribution ( ), which has utilities for doing all of the steps. Read the cpan-mac directions carefully and install it. If you choose not to use cpan-mac for some reason, there are alternatives listed here.

After installing cpan-mac, drop the module archive on the untarzipme droplet, which will decompress and unpack for you.

Or, you can either use the shareware !StuffIt? Expander program ( ) in combination with !DropStuff? with Expander Enhancer ( ) or the freeware !MacGzip? program ( ).


If you're using untarzipme or !StuffIt?, the archive should be extracted now. Or, you can use the freeware suntar or Tar (!HyperArchive/Archive/cmp/ ).


Check the contents of the distribution. Read the module's documentation, looking for reasons why you might have trouble using it with !MacPerl?. Look for .xs and .c files, which normally denote that the distribution must be compiled, and you cannot install it ``out of the box. (See `` PORTABILITY .)

If a module does not work on !MacPerl? but should, or needs to be compiled, see if the module exists already as a port on the !MacPerl? Module Porters site ( For more information on doing XS with !MacPerl? yourself, see Arved Sandstrom's XS tutorial (, and then consider uploading your binary to the CPAN and registering it on the MMP site.


If you are using cpan-mac, just drop the folder on the installme droplet, and use the module.

Or, if you aren't using cpan-mac, do some manual labor.

Make sure the newlines for the modules are in Mac format, not Unix format. If they are not then you might have decompressed them incorrectly. Check your decompression and unpacking utilities settings to make sure they are translating text files properly.

As a last resort, you can use the perl

perl -i.bak -pe 's/(?:015)?012/015/g'

on the source files.

Then move the files (probably just the .pm files, though there may be some additional ones, too; check the module documentation) to their final destination: This will most likely be in $ENV{MACPERL}site_lib: (i.e., HD:!MacPerl? folder:site_lib:). You can add new paths to the default @INC in the Preferences menu item in the !MacPerl? application ($ENV{MACPERL}site_lib: is added automagically). Create whatever directory structures are required (i.e., for Some::Module, create $ENV{MACPERL}site_lib:Some: and put in that directory).

Then run the following script (or something like

  1. perl -w

use !AutoSplit?; my $dir =

If you're on the DJGPP port of DOS ,


djtarx ( ) will both uncompress and unpack.


See above.


Go into the newly-created directory and type

perl Makefile.PL

make make test You will need the packages mentioned in README .dos in the Perl distribution.


While still in that directory, type
make install

You will need the packages mentioned in README .dos in the Perl distribution.

If you're on OS/2 ,

Get the EMX development suite and gzip/tar, from either Hobbes ( ) or Leo ( ), and then follow the instructions for Unix.

If you're on VMS ,

When downloading from CPAN , save your file with a .tgz extension instead of .tar.gz. All other periods in the filename should be replaced with underscores. For example, Your-Module-1.33.tar.gz should be downloaded as Your-Module-1_33.tgz.



gzip -d Your-Module.tgz

or, for zipped modules, type


Executables for gzip, zip, and VMStar ( Alphas: and Vaxen: ).

gzip and tar are also available at

Note that GNU 's gzip/gunzip is not the same as Info-ZIP's zip/unzip package. The former is a simple compression tool; the latter permits creation of multi-file archives.


If you're using VMStar
VMStar xf Your-Module.tar
Or, if you're fond of VMS command syntax
tar/extract/verbose Your_Module.tar


Make sure you have MMS (from Digital) or the freeware MMK ( available from !MadGoat? at ). Then type this to create the

DESCRIP .MMS for the module
perl Makefile.PL
Now you're ready to build

mms test Substitute mmk for mms above if you're using MMK .



mms install

Substitute mmk for mms above if you're using MMK .

If you're on MVS ,

Introduce the .tar.gz file into an HFS as binary; don't translate from ASCII to EBCDIC .


Decompress the file with C You can get gzip from B. UNPACK

Unpack the result with

pax -o to=IBM-1047,from=ISO8859-1 -r

The BUILD and INSTALL steps are identical to those for Unix. Some modules generate Makefiles that work better with GNU make, which is available from


Note that not all modules will work with on all platforms. See perlport for more information on portability issues. Read the documentation to see if the module will work on your system. There are basically three categories of modules that will not work ``out of the box'' with all platforms (with some possibility of overlap):

Those that should, but don't. These need to be fixed; consider contacting the author and possibly writing a patch.

Those that need to be compiled, where the target platform doesn't have compilers readily available. (These modules contain .xs or .c files, usually.) You might be able to find existing binaries on the CPAN or elsewhere, or you might want to try getting compilers and building it yourself, and then release the binary for other poor souls to use.

Those that are targeted at a specific platform. (Such as the Win32:: modules.) If the module is targeted specifically at a platform other than yours, you're out of luck, most likely.

Check the CPAN Testers if a module should work with your platform but it doesn't behave as you'd expect, or you aren't sure whether or not a module will work under your platform. If the module you want isn't listed there, you can test it yourself and let CPAN Testers know, you can join CPAN Testers, or you can request it be tested.


If you have any suggested changes for this page, let me know. Please don't send me mail asking for help on how to install your modules. There are too many modules, and too few Orwants, for me to be able to answer or even acknowledge all your questions. Contact the module author instead, or post to comp.lang.perl.modules, or ask someone familiar with Perl on your operating system.


Jon Orwant

The Perl Journal,

with invaluable help from Brandon Allbery, Charles Bailey, Graham Barr, Dominic Dunlop, Jarkko Hietaniemi, Ben Holzman, Tom Horsley, Nick Ing-Simmons, Tuomas J. Lukka, Laszlo Molnar, Chris Nandor, Alan Olsen, Peter Prymmer, Gurusamy Sarathy, Christoph Spalinger, Dan Sugalski, Larry Virden, and Ilya Zakharevich.

First version July 22, 1998

Last Modified August 22, 2000


Copyright (C) 1998, 2000 Jon Orwant. All Rights Reserved.

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