B.1 Installing Perl on Your Computer

Here are the basic steps for installing Perl on your computer:

  1. Check to see if Perl is already installed; if so, check the version.

  2. Get Internet access and go to the Perl home page at http://www.perl.com.

  3. Go to the Downloads page and determine which Perl distribution to download.

  4. Download the Perl distribution.

  5. Install the distribution on your computer.

B.1.1 Perl May Already Be Installed

Many computers?especially Unix and Linux computers?come with Perl already installed. (Note that Unix and Linux are essentially the same thing, as far as the operating system is concerned; Linux is a clone, or functional copy, of a Unix system.) So, first check to see if Perl is already there. On Unix and Linux, type the following at a command prompt:

$ perl -v

If Perl is already installed, you'll see a message something like this:

This is perl, v5.8.0 built for i686-linux

Copyright 1987-2002, Larry Wall

Perl may be copied only under the terms of either the Artistic License or the
GNU General Public License, which may be found in the Perl 5 source kit.

Complete documentation for Perl, including FAQ lists, should be found on
this system using 'man perl' or 'perldoc perl'.  If you have access to the
Internet, point your browser at http://www.perl.com/, the Perl Home Page.

If Perl isn't installed, you'll get a message something like this:

perl: command not found

If you're on a shared Unix system, at a university or business, check with the system administrator if this fails, because although Perl may be installed, your environment may not be set to find it. (Or, the system administrator may say, "You need Perl? Okay, I'll install it for you!")

On Windows or Macintosh, look at the program menus, or use the find program to search for perl. You can also try typing perl -v at an MS-DOS command window or at a shell window on the Mac OS X. (Note that the Mac OS X is a Unix system!)