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#1: FAQ 2.6 What modules and extensions are available for Perl? What is CPAN? What does CPAN/src/... m

Posted on 2008-04-24 15:03:03 by PerlFAQ Server

This is an excerpt from the latest version perlfaq2.pod, which
comes with the standard Perl distribution. These postings aim to
reduce the number of repeated questions as well as allow the community
to review and update the answers. The latest version of the complete
perlfaq is at .

------------------------------------------------------------ --------

2.6: What modules and extensions are available for Perl? What is CPAN? What does CPAN/src/... mean?

CPAN stands for Comprehensive Perl Archive Network, a multi-gigabyte
archive replicated on hundreds of machines all over the world. CPAN
contains source code, non-native ports, documentation, scripts, and many
third-party modules and extensions, designed for everything from
commercial database interfaces to keyboard/screen control to web walking
and CGI scripts. The master web site for CPAN is
and there is the CPAN Multiplexer at which
will choose a mirror near you via DNS. See
(without a slash at the end) for how this process works. Also, has a nice interface to the mirror directory.

See the CPAN FAQ at for answers
to the most frequently asked questions about CPAN including how to
become a mirror.

CPAN/path/... is a naming convention for files available on CPAN sites.
CPAN indicates the base directory of a CPAN mirror, and the rest of the
path is the path from that directory to the file. For instance, if
you're using as your CPAN
site, the file CPAN/misc/japh is downloadable as .

Considering that, as of 2006, there are over ten thousand existing
modules in the archive, one probably exists to do nearly anything you
can think of. Current categories under CPAN/modules/by-category/ include
Perl core modules; development support; operating system interfaces;
networking, devices, and interprocess communication; data type
utilities; database interfaces; user interfaces; interfaces to other
languages; filenames, file systems, and file locking;
internationalization and locale; world wide web support; server and
daemon utilities; archiving and compression; image manipulation; mail
and news; control flow utilities; filehandle and I/O; Microsoft Windows
modules; and miscellaneous modules.

See or for a more complete list of modules by category.

CPAN is a free service and is not affiliated with O'Reilly Media.

------------------------------------------------------------ --------

The perlfaq-workers, a group of volunteers, maintain the perlfaq. They
are not necessarily experts in every domain where Perl might show up,
so please include as much information as possible and relevant in any
corrections. The perlfaq-workers also don't have access to every
operating system or platform, so please include relevant details for
corrections to examples that do not work on particular platforms.
Working code is greatly appreciated.

If you'd like to help maintain the perlfaq, see the details in

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