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ActivePerl is a version of Perl for Windows, ported by ActiveState. It's worth knowing that 'Perl for Win32', mentioned in some older Perl docs, was a completely separate port - however, the 'core Perl' port has merged with ActivePerl, which is now the official Windows port of Perl.

See also CygWin Perl (which is much more similar to Unix Perl, though ActivePerl is close) and WindowsInstallCookbook, which mainly covers Cygwin Perl with some detours for ActivePerl.

Pro's and Con's

ActivePerl's benefits:

  • Good integration with Windows, e.g. Win32::* and OLE access modules are included
  • Easy download and install with Windows installer

Some drawbacks:

  • Far fewer CPAN modules available for easy installation
    • Because Perl for Windows requires a commercial C compiler from Microsoft, ActiveState have put together a separate module installer (PPM) and repository, enabling binary modules (including some compiled C) to be installed using the PPM command. The downside of this is that modules must be re-packaged, so in many cases you actually need to do more work to install modules than on Unix, even for modules not including C extensions.
  • Some interesting bugs - same can be said of CygWin Perl, it depends on your project as to which is best (have had show stoppers on both)
  • No fork, only 'fork emulation' - this has some limitations (see perldoc perlfork) and the whole fork/exec area is not as good as CygWin

Module repositories

Useful PPM Repositories:

Assuming you are using ActivePerl 5.8 (i.e. build 800 or higher), you can add a repository to the list searched by PPM as follows:

  1. Run ppm from a Windows shell (cmd.exe)
  2. Type repository add fredrepository http://fred-great-repository.com/ppms/
  3. Type repository or rep to list repositories

This repository list is saved across sessions.

Manual package installation

If you can't find a PPM package you can use the 'manual way' section of WindowsInstallCookbook - just remember to type nmake instead of make. You can find Microsoft's nmake on the Net, typically available from Google:microsoft+nmake+download.

-- RichardDonkin - 10 Jan 2005

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Topic revision: r4 - 2008-08-24 - TWikiJanitor
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