perlmodinstall - Man Page

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 the CPAN.  The CPAN is the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network and can be accessed at <> , and searched at <> .

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


First, are you sure that the module isn't already on your system?  Try perl -MFoo -e 1.  (Replace "Foo" with the name of the module; for instance, perl -MCGI::Carp -e 1.)

If you don't see an error message, you have the module.  (If you do see an error message, it's still possible you have the module, but that it's not in your path, which you can display with perl -e "print qq(@INC)".)  For the remainder of this document, we'll assume that you really honestly truly lack an installed module, but have found it on the CPAN.

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


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 "/my/perl_directory/lib/site_perl"; or sometimes just use "/my/perl_directory";.  If you're on a system that requires superuser/root access to install modules into the directories you see when you type perl -e "print qq(@INC)", you'll want to install them into a local directory (such as your home directory) and use this approach.

  • If you're on a Unix or Unix-like system,

    You can use Andreas Koenig's CPAN module ( <> ) 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 space:

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


    Unpack the result with tar -xof yourmodule.tar

    C. BUILD

    Go into the newly-created directory and type:

          perl Makefile.PL
          make test


          perl Makefile.PL PREFIX=/my/perl_directory

    to install it locally.  (Remember that if you do this, you'll have to put use lib "/my/perl_directory"; near the top of the program that is to use this module.


    While still in that directory, type:

          make install

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

    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 ActivePerl (Win95/98/2K/NT/XP, Linux, Solaris),

    First, type ppm from a shell and see whether ActiveState's PPM repository has your module.  If so, you can install it with ppm and you won't have to bother with any of the other steps here.  You might be able to use the CPAN instructions from the "Unix or Linux" section above as well; give it a try.  Otherwise, you'll have to follow the steps below.


    You can use the open source 7-zip ( <> ) or the shareware Winzip ( <> ) to decompress and unpack modules.

       B. UNPACK

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

       C. BUILD

    You'll need either nmake or gmake.

    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, life is now officially tough for you, because you have to compile the module yourself (no easy feat on Windows).  You'll need a compiler such as Visual C++.  Alternatively, you can download a pre-built PPM package from ActiveState. <>

    Go into the newly-created directory and type:

          perl Makefile.PL
          nmake test
       D. INSTALL

    While still in that directory, type:

          nmake install
  • If you're on OS/2,

    Get the EMX development suite and gzip/tar from Hobbes ( <> ), 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:

    and their source code:

    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

    C. BUILD

    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 gzip -d yourmodule.tar.gz

    You can get gzip from <>


    Unpack the result with

         pax -o to=IBM-1047,from=ISO8859-1 -r < yourmodule.tar

    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):

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, ask someone familiar with Perl on your operating system, or if all else fails, file a ticket at <>.


Jon Orwant

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

First version July 22, 1998; last revised November 21, 2001.


2024-01-25 perl v5.38.2 Perl Programmers Reference Guide