Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Active perl installation on Windows and Unix

  • GNU tar is required to extract the ActivePerl tarball into the filesystem. A precompiled version of GNU tar for AIX 5L can be found here:
    You can also get the source package for GNU tar from:
  • The reloc_perl script does not correctly update the perl-dynamic executable. The workaround is to install directly from the tarball into the new location.


  • GNU tar is required to extract the ActivePerl tarball into the filesystem. A precompiled version of GNU tar for Solaris is available from:
    You can also get the source package for GNU tar from:

Mac OS X

  • Perl library paths, and thus PPM Areas, defined in the shell by the PERL5LIB environment variable are not available to PPM when it is launched by clicking the PPM icon in OS X. To to make this variable available in the OS X GUI, add an entry similar to the following to ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist:
  • Running sudo ppm or sudo ppm gui does not start up the GUI with root privileges. Use ppm as a command line tool with sudo.


  • The fork() emulation has known limitations. See the perlfork manpage for a detailed summary. In particular, fork() emulation will not work correctly with extensions that are either not thread-safe, or maintain internal state that cannot be cloned in the pseudo-child process. This caveat currently applies to extensions such as Tk and Storable.
  • It seems that some people are having problems with the ActivePerl MSI installer. The first thing to note is that you CANNOT install ActivePerl 5.14 over an older version of ActivePerl based on 5.12, 5.10, 5.8, 5.6 or 5.005, such as build 1204 or any other 1200, 1000, 800, 600 or 500 series build. We have determined that some of these problems are due to other installations of Perl that may be pointed at by something in the environment.
    The sure-fire solution is to make absolutely certain that no other installations of Perl are on the target machine. Realizing that this is not always possible, you can follow these steps to ensure the other installations will not interfere.
    1. Stop the "Windows Installer" service. This can be accomplished from the command prompt using the following command:
          c:\> net stop "Windows Installer"
    2. Temporarily remove or rename PERLLIB and PERL5LIB environment variables in the system environment.
    3. Temporarily remove or rename the following registry values:
          [\\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Perl] lib = <directory> (REG_SV)
          [\\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Perl] sitelib = <directory> (REG_SV)
          [\\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Perl] lib-<PerlVersion> = <directory> (REG_SV)
          [\\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Perl] sitelib-<PerlVersion> = <directory>(REG_SV)
    4. Proceed with the installation.
    Once the installation has completed successfully, the above actions may be undone although restoring the environment variables or the registry values may interfere with the proper operation of your new ActivePerl installation. In order to perform all of the above steps, you will need to have Administrative privileges on the target machine. If you do not have the required privileges you should contact you Administrator.

Further Information

The Perl distribution comes with extensive documentation. On Unix platforms, all the standard documentation is installed as man pages under the Perl install location. The location of the man pages may need to be added to the MANPATH environment variable in order to access them. For example, in the C shell:
    % setenv MANPATH /opt/ActivePerl-5.14/man:$MANPATH
The documentation is installed in HTML format on all platforms. If ActivePerl was installed in /opt/ActivePerl-5.14 then the HTML documentation would be located in /opt/ActivePerl-5.14/html.
On Windows, the standard documentation along with Windows-specific Perl documentation is installed in HTML format, and is accessible from the "Start" menu.
Updated versions of the HTML documentation will always be available at the ActiveState website:

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