Install Perl Modules Manually and Using CPAN command

The Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) is a repository of over 250,000 software modules and accompanying documentation for 39,000 distributions, written in the Perl programming language by over 12,000 contributors.

The modules can be downloaded from as well as mirrored sites worldwide.CPAN can denote either the archive network itself, or the Perl program that acts as an interface to the network and as an automated software installer (somewhat like a package manager). Most software on CPAN is free and open source software.

Installing Perl modules using CPAN is a better solution, as it resolves all the dependencies automatically. In this article, let us review how to install Perl modules on Linux using both manual and CPAN method.

When a Perl module is not installed, application will display the following error message. In this example, XML::Parser Perl module is missing.

Can't locate XML/ in @INC (@INC contains:
/usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl/5.10.0 /usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl
/usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.10.0 .)
Install Perl Modules Manually

Download Perl module

Go to CPAN Search website and search for the module that you wish to download. In this example, let us search, download and install XML::Parser Perl module. I have downloaded the XML-Parser-2.36.tar.gz to /home/download

# cd /home/download
# gzip -d XML-Parser-2.36.tar.gz
# tar xvf XML-Parser-2.36.tar
# cd XML-Parser-2.36
Build the perl module
# perl Makefile.PL
Checking if your kit is complete...
Looks good
Writing Makefile for XML::Parser::Expat
Writing Makefile for XML::Parser
# make
# make test
Install the perl module

This is very simple for one module with no dependencies. Typically, Perl modules will be dependent on several other modules. Chasing all these dependencies one-by-one can be very painful and annoying task. I recommend the CPAN method of installation as shown below. Use the manual method only if the server is not connected to the Internet.

Install Perl Modules using CPAN automatically

Verify whether CPAN is already installed

To install Perl modules using CPAN, make sure the cpan command is working. You should have the CPAN perl module installed before you can install any other Perl modules using CPAN. In this example, CPAN module is not installed.

# cpan
-bash: cpan: command not found

# perl -MCPAN -e shell
Can't locate in @INC (@INC contains:
/usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.10.0 .).
BEGIN failed--compilation aborted.
Install the CPAN module using yum

# yum install perl-CPAN
Output of yum install perl-CPAN command:

Loaded plugins: refresh-packagekit
updates-newkey                       | 2.3 kB     00:00
primary.sqlite.bz2                   | 2.4 MB     00:00
Setting up Install Process
Parsing package install arguments

Resolving Dependencies
Transaction Summary
Install      5 Package(s)
Update       0 Package(s)
Remove       0 Package(s)

Total download size: 1.0 M
Is this ok [y/N]: y
Downloading Packages:
(1/5): perl-ExtUtils-ParseXS-2.18-31.fc9.i386.rpm     |  30 kB     00:00
(2/5): perl-Test-Harness-2.64-31.fc9.i386.rpm         |  70 kB     00:00
(3/5): perl-CPAN-1.9205-31.fc9.i386.rpm               | 217 kB     00:00
(4/5): perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker-6.36-31.fc9.i386.rpm   | 284 kB     00:00
(5/5): perl-devel-5.10.0-31.fc9.i386.rpm              | 408 kB     00:00

Installing     : perl-ExtUtils-ParseXS                             [1/5]
Installing     : perl-devel                                        [2/5]
Installing     : perl-Test-Harness                                 [3/5]
Installing     : perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker                           [4/5]
Installing     : perl-CPAN                                         [5/5]

Installed: perl-CPAN.i386 0:1.9205-31.fc9
Dependency Installed:
  perl-ExtUtils-MakeMaker.i386 0:6.36-31.fc9
  perl-ExtUtils-ParseXS.i386 1:2.18-31.fc9
  perl-Test-Harness.i386 0:2.64-31.fc9
  perl-devel.i386 4:5.10.0-31.fc9
Configure cpan the first time

The first time when you execute cpan, you should set some configuration parameters as shown below. I have shown only the important configuration parameters below. Accept all the default values by pressing enter.

Note: Make sure to execute “o conf commit” in the cpan prompt after the configuration to save the settings.
# cpan

Sorry, we have to rerun the configuration dialog for due
to some missing parameters...

CPAN build and cache directory? [/root/.cpan]
Download target directory? [/root/.cpan/sources]
Directory where the build process takes place? [/root/.cpan/build]

Always commit changes to config variables to disk? [no]
Cache size for build directory (in MB)? [100]
Let the index expire after how many days? [1]

Perform cache scanning (atstart or never)? [atstart]
Cache metadata (yes/no)? [yes]
Policy on building prerequisites (follow, ask or ignore)? [ask]

Parameters for the 'perl Makefile.PL' command? []
Parameters for the 'perl Build.PL' command? []

Your ftp_proxy? []
Your http_proxy? []
Your no_proxy? []
Is it OK to try to connect to the Internet? [yes]

First, pick a nearby continent and country by typing in the number(s)
(1) Africa
(2) Asia
(3) Central America
(4) Europe
(5) North America
(6) Oceania
(7) South America
Select your continent (or several nearby continents) [] 5

(1) Bahamas
(2) Canada
(3) Mexico
(4) United States
Select your country (or several nearby countries) [] 4

e.g. '1 4 5' or '7 1-4 8' [] 2-16

cpan[1]> o conf commit
commit: wrote '/usr/lib/perl5/5.10.0/CPAN/'

cpan[2]> quit
No history written (no histfile specified).
Lockfile removed.
Install Perl Modules using CPAN

You can use one of the following method to install a Perl module using cpan.

# /usr/bin/perl -MCPAN -e 'install Email::Reply'


# cpan
cpan shell -- CPAN exploration and modules installation (v1.9205)
ReadLine support available (maybe install Bundle::CPAN or Bundle::CPANxxl?)

cpan[1]> install "Email::Reply";
Output of above perl install command:
CPAN: Storable loaded ok (v2.18)
Going to read /root/.cpan/Metadata
Database was generated on Mon, 15 Sep 2008 11:02:52 GMT

Running install for module 'Email::Reply'
Running make for R/RJ/RJBS/Email-Reply-1.202.tar.gz
CPAN: LWP::UserAgent loaded ok (v2.036)
CPAN: Time::HiRes loaded ok (v1.9711)
Fetching with LWP:

CPAN: checksum security checks disabled because Digest::SHA not installed.
Please consider installing the Digest::SHA module.

CPAN: Compress::Zlib loaded ok (v2.008)
CPAN: File::Temp loaded ok (v0.18)
Warning: prerequisite Email::Abstract 2.01 not found.
Warning: prerequisite Email::MIME::Creator 1.41 not found.
Writing Makefile for Email::Reply
---- Unsatisfied dependencies detected during ----
----       RJBS/Email-Reply-1.202.tar.gz      ----
Email::Abstract [requires]
Email::MIME::Creator [requires]
Shall I follow them and prepend them to the queue

of modules we are processing right now? [yes]
[Note: CPAN automatically detects that Email::Abstract
       and Email::MIME::Creator is required]

Fetching with LWP:
make -- OK
make install  -- OK

Fetching with LWP:
make -- OK
make install  -- OK

Warning: prerequisite Email::Simple::Creator 1.4 not found.
Writing Makefile for Email::MIME::Creator
Email::Simple::Creator [requires]
Shall I follow them and prepend them to the queue
of modules we are processing right now? [yes]
[Note: CPAN automatically detects that Simple::Creator is required]

Fetching with LWP:
make -- OK
make install  -- OK

Fetching with LWP: Going to build R/RJ/RJBS/Email-Reply-1.202.tar.gz

make -- OK
make install  -- OK
In the example above, Email::Reply is dependent on the several other modules. CPAN automatically resolves the dependencies and installs Email::Reply and all the dependent Perl modules.

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