No book on system administration is complete without some coverage of scripting. For many administrators, the scripting language of choice is Perl. Perl is very good at dealing with text files (such as LDIF files), and many third-party modules make it easy to accomplish complex tasks.
 For more information on Perl, visit the O'Reilly Perl web site at http://www.perl.com/ or the Perl Monger's web site at http://www.perl.org/. If you're new to Perl, I recommend Learning Perl, by Randall Schwartz and Tom Phoenix (O'Reilly) and Programming Perl, by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Randall Schwartz (O'Reilly).
This chapter doesn't cover the basics of Perl programming. I assume that you are already comfortable with the language and its fundamental concepts, such as regular expressions, but none of the examples will require the help of a Perl guru for interpretation. Note that the scripts in this chapter are generally lax about conventions used in production Perl code, such as the use strict pragma and variable scoping (e.g., my or local).