Installing Perl (for the impatient)

This guide should cover the majority of situations where we want to "just install it" and get started programming.

If you have more patience or want more options, please read the official Perl INSTALL guide. Binaries for 100+ platforms can be found on the perl.org download page.

Installing Perl on Windows

Windows users can download an installer for perl 5.10.1 from http://strawberryperl.com/. Simply download and run the installer. Then, close your Command Prompt terminal and re-launch cmd from Start -> Run to get a command-line shell with the newly-defined environment. If running the command perl --version still gives you an error message you probably need to add an entry to your PATH environment variable (run the command echo %PATH% to verify this.) Right-click on My Computer and select "Properties", then click on the "Advanced" tab and select "Environment Variables". Under your User variables, click "New", and create a variable named Path with the value C:\strawberry\perl\bin. Now, relaunch cmd again to get the newly-defined environment and you should get the desired answer from perl --version. (If all else fails, you can type the full path C:\strawberry\perl\bin\perl to run perl.)

Installing Perl on a Unix-like OS

For OS X and Linux users, building from source is simple enough once you have the necessary build tools installed. Apple offers a free download of their 'xtools', which includes a compiler and full set of tools (this may also be on a second disk which came with your computer.) Debian and Ubuntu have a package called 'build-essential' for this. In any case, your computer needs 'gcc', 'make', and various other components to be able to build perl from source.

Download the perl source code from http://www.cpan.org/src/perl-5.10.1.tar.gz, save it in your home directory (which should be your current working directory), then unpack and build it with the shell commands below.

  tar -xzf perl-5.10.1.tar.gz
  cd perl-5.10.1
  ./Configure -des -Dprefix=/usr/local
  make
  make test
  sudo make install

Now you have installed perl as /usr/local/bin/perl, which should become the first perl in your $PATH. Make sure you get the desired answer from perl --version.

You may not have the necessary permissions to install into /usr/local. In such a case, configure with the appropriate prefix and set $PATH accordingly (e.g. PATH=$HOME/perl/:$PATH) or use an absolute filename to call perl. The following would install your new perl under ~/perl/ and the perl executable would be ~/perl/bin/perl.

  tar -xzf perl-5.10.1.tar.gz
  cd perl-5.10.1
  ./Configure -des -Dprefix=$HOME/perl
  make
  make test
  make install