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Perl Programming Operating Systems Software Windows

Free Resources for Windows Perl Development 117

Posted by kdawson
from the christmas-present dept.
jamie pointed out an important announcement in the Perl community. Adam Kennedy, known as Alias, developed Strawberry Perl to "make Win32 a truly first class citizen of the Perl platform world." Over the last year, major CPAN modules have used Strawberry Perl to get to releases that work trouble-free on Windows. But the tens of thousands of smaller modules on CPAN are lagging, in many cases because of lack of access to a Windows environment for development and testing. Now Alias has worked with Microsoft's Open Source Software Lab to provide for every CPAN author free access to a centrally-hosted virtual machine environment containing every major version of Windows. "More information (and press releases) will follow, the entire program under which this partnership will be run is so new it's only just been given a name, so some of the organisational details will ironed out as we go. But for now, to all the CPAN authors, all I have to add is... Merry Christmas. P.S. Or your appropriate equivalent religious or non-religious event, if any, occurring during the month of December, etc., etc."
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Free Resources for Windows Perl Development

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  • "But the tens of thousands of smaller modules on CPAN are lagging, in many cases because of lack of access to a Windows environment for development and testing."

    I was born on a day, but not yesterday. I must admit to not using perl for anything serious in a very long time, but as I recall, many smaller modules in CPAN didn't even work trouble free on an up-to-date linux machine because they were either badly coded or simply didn't run with newer versions of other dependencies. Maybe things have changed, but

    • Actually, as far as linux, usually everything just works. I'm sure there's a lot of one off modules that never get anything but a first release and sit unloved but almost everything I've needed to install runs without issue and has done so for years. The only module I can think of on Linux that was a PITA was the SDL libraries, due to the different versions and many library dependencies.

      As far as Windows, it depends, all the core stuff is fine, and if you can find it in a ppm repository, you're usually fin

      • Finally, I can make sure my module works on Windows 3.11!

        Just last year, I tracked down a machine with Windows 95 and got it working there, but I really wanted to make sure it worked with ALL major Windows operating systems.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Smallpond (221300)

      The CPAN testers [cpan.org] was conceived back in May 1998 by Graham Barr and Chris Nandor as a way to provide multi-platform testing for modules. Today there are 2,653,748 tester reports and more than 400 testers giving valuable feedback for users and authors alike.

      CPAN modules are probably better tested cross-platform than libraries for any other language.

      • by adamkennedy (121032) <adamk@c[ ].org ['pan' in gap]> on Saturday December 06, 2008 @10:34PM (#26017333) Homepage

        The problem with CPAN Testers is that while it can tell you IF your module is broken, it doesn't give you any way to actually get onto Windows to debug the problem. All you can does is guess the fix and upload a new release, and hope for the best.

        CPAN Testers is the canary in the coal mine, which is handy, but doesn't actually help clear out the poison.

      • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Saturday December 06, 2008 @10:37PM (#26017349)

        Having a lot of testers doesn't seem to actually affect the quality of many of the smaller modules. Many of them have absolutely insane dependency chains, requiring both untested, unreliable modules, often from the same author, and completely deprecated modules for the same component, with massive duplication of modules to do the same small task in slightly different ways.

        For the core modules, and those exciting modules likely to be included in the next release, I can see the results of testing work. But many of the smaller ones are one-off debris by sloppy programmers that unfortunately show up in the CPAN search engines. No one seems to test them, and they're apparently not tested again after their original publicaton for compatibility with new perl releases.

    • "...lack of access to a Windows environment for development and testing."

      Reminds me of the Monty Python Cheese Shop sketch.

      "Do you have any Windows machines?"

      "We don't get much call for it around here."

      "It's the single most common operating system on the planet!"

      "Well not round here!"

      I can accept many, many arguments as to why the Perl code hasn't been tested on Windows, but not that the team couldn't find a Windows machine. Surely at least one of them has at least one friend who at least has a dual boot

  • It includes a pre-configured CPAN-shell and compilation tools for c modules.
    Installation is a bit screwy on Vista; it does require some manuevering there, but it works off to bat on xp.
    I, for one, am quite happy that there are other options that function well besies ActivePerl; never liked it. No longer is one dependant on the proprietary ppm packaging so much! The value of CPAN is better put to use here.
    Though, businesses that rely on perl might want to wait before abandoning activeperl; strawberry is rela

    • by ggvaidya (747058)

      Though, businesses that rely on perl might want to wait before abandoning activeperl; strawberry is relatively new here...

      True, but after a morning of trying to work through ActivePerl PPMs, giving up, and having Strawberry Perl "just work", atleast my company is getting closer and closer to that tipping point ...

  • Netcraft confirms it (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LodCrappo (705968)

      That's not netcraft. Its the TIOBE index, which is notorious for being completely inaccurate. Google for "tiobe flawed" and you'll start to see just how worthless it is. That said, perl does have some serious challenges ahead if it wants to stay as popular or gain popularity.
       

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lysergic.acid (845423)

      it might help to look at the context of the ranking in order to see things in perspective. coming in 8th out of 50 [tiobe.com] is hardly "dying." and if Perl is dying then Python (7th) isn't far behind, and JavaScript (9th), Ruby (11th), Lisp/Scheme (19th), and Lua [wikipedia.org] (20th) are all definitely dead. not to mention the rest of the ranked languages:
      21. ActionScript
      22. MATLAB
      23. FoxPro/xBase
      24. Fortran
      25. Ada
      26. Transact-SQL
      27. Prolog
      28. RPG. (OS/400)
      29. Erlang
      30. NXT-G
      31. Awk
      32.

      • by ggvaidya (747058)

        You left out my personal favourite: Logo is at rank 18, up from 21 last year, making it more popular than Lisp/Scheme, Lua, and Caml.

        • by chromatic (9471)

          I'll give you one better. Apparently, Google Chrome is written in Delphi. TIOBE confirms it.

      • The current position is irrelevant if you want to determine whether something is "dying" or not; what matters is the long-term trend.

        • then i suppose the top 3 languages (2 of which have actually grown in the short-term) are dying since they've all decreased in popularity in the long-term?

          • You mean Java, C, and C++? I wouldn't call it dying (yet), but they're certainly on the decline overall - C/C++ is being pushed out of desktop app market, for example, replaced by front-ends in Python (on Linux) or .NET (on Windows). Of course both are going pretty strong in low-level, and will probably remain strong there for a long time to come

            Java is just slowly declining overall. Sun's not feeling well, and IBM and Google are too conservative and not much interested in developing it further (look at the

  • Linky (Score:5, Informative)

    by cleatsupkeep (1132585) on Saturday December 06, 2008 @09:39PM (#26017041) Homepage

    Maybe this link will be a little more useful: http://strawberryperl.com/ [strawberryperl.com]

  • Perl::Windows (Score:1, Redundant)

    by symbolset (646467)
    Pearls::Swine
  • Both of them?

  • Adam, you're the freakin' MAN.

    I actually didn't know the breadth of what you were arranging but this is just way beyond what I expected!

    I will definitely be taking advantage of this... Next time you're in the Boston area, I want to personally buy you a case of your choice of beer.

    (yes, I understand fully that this posting means it's "on the record" :D )

  • Ah.. so this is how Skynet begins.
  • WTF? (Score:1, Redundant)

    "...lack of access to a Windows environment..."

    Hello? Virtualization?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "...lack of access to a Windows environment..."

      Hello? Virtualization?

      Hello, obtaining a legal copy of windows?

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "...lack of access to a Windows environment..."

      Hello? Virtualization?

      Hello? They would have to pay if the wanted to do it legally?

    • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by adamkennedy (121032) <adamk@c[ ].org ['pan' in gap]> on Saturday December 06, 2008 @11:12PM (#26017489) Homepage

      On top of licensing issues, other accumulated comments included the fact many Unix greybeards have never used Windows before, so the accumulated time to find the right torrent, download it, work out how to install everything etc etc was something they greatly didn't look forward to doing.

      It's not that they couldn't, it's just that they are busy people, like everyone else, and the time investment was too big for the relatively small win of closing one or two bugs on Windows.

      Shortcutting that process by just letting them log directly into a running instance is considered a significant improvement for that group.

      • by DrHyde (134602)

        I'm one of that group. And yes, my beard *is* going grey. I've not used Windows for over a decade. I have no idea how to set up and configure a current Windows to be secure and to have a reasonable development environment. Nor do I care to learn, as I have better things to do with my time, like making tasty booze and grumbling about The Youth Of Today with their ghetto blasters and hard core pornography.

        But if this lets me test my code on Windows before releasing it, and spot and fix stupid errors, then

  • >> Free Resources for Windows Perl Development

    The definitive one: http://python.org/ [python.org]

    • by ggvaidya (747058)

      Hey! Python can run Perl? That's awesome. Do you have a link for that? I'd love to be able to use my favourite language on what is by all accounts a great interpreter.

      (If you want to run Python on Perl instead, you can [cpan.org]. Perl: the choice is yours.)

      • >> If you want to run Python on Perl instead, you can

        That you can run Python from other languages (not only Perl) talks very good about the Python's modularity and adaptability. BTW, I understand that Perl programmers logically would want to call and use Python, so this module has a lot of sense.

        >> Python can run Perl?

        From your interesting link:
        "perl is a Python module bundled with Inline::Python that gives you access to Perl from inside your Python code."

        BTW, I don't see the need to call Perl f

  • I see in the list Windows XP and Server 2003 (they're almost the same...), Vista and Server 2008 (they are exactly the same!). Where's Windows 2000? there's quite a large chunk of users left on that platform. Hell, even a few users on Win98 or NT4 still.

  • by Loopy (41728) on Saturday December 06, 2008 @10:28PM (#26017317) Journal

    I've used ActiveState's ActivePerl on several windows boxes over the years and have had "trouble-free" experiences with it. Granted, some of the more bleeding-edge modules weren't at the latest revs but the mainstream software I used didn't strictly require those either.

    • by adamkennedy (121032) <adamk@c[ ].org ['pan' in gap]> on Saturday December 06, 2008 @10:50PM (#26017403) Homepage

      My issues with ActivePerl have been that it is fundamentally different to all the other Perl platforms (you don't get the full CPAN, just binary packages) and that because one company is the central gatekeeper of all the binary packages, there was never a reasonable way for CPAN authors to debug their modules.

      I for one wrote 150+ modules, of which a grand total of 7 were available on ActivePerl, due to various bugs in the ActivePerl build farm that went unfixed for years.

      To be truly first-class, you should be the same as the other platforms, not similar-but-different.

      • I for one wrote 150+ modules, of which a grand total of 7 were available on ActivePerl

        Perhaps the problem is with the way you code your modules and not with the ActivePerl build farm? ActivePerl has like a brazillion modules available for it.

        • by chromatic (9471) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @02:26AM (#26018305) Homepage

          ActivePerl has like a brazillion modules available for it.

          Not really. ActiveState made bizarre PPM binary compatibility decisions, which meant that their version of Scalar::Util [cpan.org] didn't include the XS components. As the 5.8.x series continued, more and more modules relied on that XS component, which meant that increasing amounts of the CPAN weren't available as PPMs. I don't know the exact figures, but it wouldn't surprise me if one-third to one-half of the CPAN were unavailable from AS's repositories.

          (Did you know Alias is one of the CPAN administrators?)

          • by jonwil (467024)

            What makes ActiveState Perl different from Perl as seen on Linux et al? Why cant you just run the same Perl code from Linux on ActiveState? And if it sucks so much, why has no-one done a more straight port from the Linux code (or is that what Cygwin Perl is for?)

            • by chromatic (9471)

              What makes ActiveState Perl different from Perl as seen on Linux et al?

              In core Perl itself, nothing. ActiveState uses the same source code. The problem is ActiveState's PPM repository.

              Why cant you just run the same Perl code from Linux on ActiveState?

              It's the same source code.

              And if it sucks so much, why has no-one done a more straight port from the Linux code (or is that what Cygwin Perl is for?)

              ActivePerl and Strawberry Perl are distributions of Perl. They don't change the source code. The diffe

            • by rrohbeck (944847)

              Perl modules may include C code and the module installers assume the availability of a compiler. Since that is not a given under Windows, ActiveState makes binary versions available in their PPM repository, but they support only a subset of modules for a number of reasons and are often behind.
              Bundling the C compiler (mingw gcc) with Perl is what Strawberry Perl is all about so you can use the standard build process for CPAN modules.

        • > Perhaps the problem is with the way you code your modules

          At the lowest point, just after the release of ActivePerl 5.10.0 the were ZERO modules available starting with the letter S...

          To their credit, ActiveState did finally recognise the old PPM build farm was a piece of shit, and they've now rewritten it from scratch and junked the old version entirely. The situation is nowhere near as bad as it used to be.

        • by coryking (104614) *

          That is all nice, but wait until you get a module that *isn't* in PPM. I can name several, especially the little guys written by the parent (Image::Math::Constrain or Image::Delivery for example). I use FreeBSD and it is easy to get such CPAN modules into the ports tree (and actually, most of the ones I've added are for Adam's stuff). Lord knows how you'd get these things added to Active Perl.

          Of course, the real "exciting" part of Active Perl is getting anything related to mod_perl* working.

          PS: The use

      • Hey Adam how mature is strawberry perl compared to activePerl? Can I run it yet on my vista laptop or is it still beta?

  • by nobodyman (90587)

    People that hate perl and people that hate windows can *finally* find some common ground!

    Honestly, even a shop teacher can count the number of users that care about this on one hand.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Honestly, even a shop teacher can count the number of users that care about this on their one remaining hand.

    • You must have one of these mutations that leaves your hands with quite a lot of fingers. 6700 CPAN authors at last count.
  • Sign me up! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by swm (171547) * <swmcd@world.std.com> on Sunday December 07, 2008 @12:22AM (#26017849) Homepage

    I maintain a few modules on CPAN. Nothing big, I'm the sole author.

    In August, I got email from someone complaining that one of these modules doesn't pass its self-tests. After some back and forth, it turns out that it passes on Linux and fails on Windows. They even submitted a patch, but I don't want to integrate it unless I can test it on Windows.

    I've got some Windows machines in my house, but I'd have to put together a usable development environment, and it's a hassle, and I've got a day job, and it just hasn't happened in 4 months.

    If Alias et. al. can get me access to a Windows environment, this module could get cleaned up a lot sooner.

  • I, for one, welcome our new Perl virus writing overlords.
  • by ZeekWatson (188017) on Sunday December 07, 2008 @01:40AM (#26018137)

    Perl has been a first class citizen on Win32 starting with the GSAR port back in late 90s, then Perl for Win32 and now ActivePerl.

    In fact ActivePerl was more up to date than unix Perl during the late 5.005 and 5.6 because the pumpkin was primarily a Win32 developer.

    If you want to find the second class citizens in the Perl world look at OS2, Aix, Hpux, and other strange unixes. I know you want to make Perl better and are working hard on it, but insulting the people who put together the foundation you're now working on is misguided. They did a damn fine job.

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Perl could be a first class citizen on Windows if MS bundled a C compiler and library like any decent OS does.

      • by ChatHuant (801522)
        Perl could be a first class citizen on Windows if MS bundled a C compiler and library like any decent OS does.

        Or, you could go and download [microsoft.com] them, geeze! Why bloat installations with bundled stuff that the vast majority of users won't ever need?
        • Right, and MS never bloats installations with bundled stuff that the vast majority of users won't ever need?
          • by ChatHuant (801522)
            Right, and MS never bloats installations with bundled stuff that the vast majority of users won't ever need?

            Your post makes no sense. If Microsoft bundles other things they should also bundle gigabytes of C++? This doesn't follow in any logical way, would make no business sense and would inconvenience most users. Can you even name something comparable that Microsoft bundles with Windows? Most stuff they ship with Windows is very minimal, just enough to get you started; I don't believe any of the componen
            • by bXTr (123510)

              If Microsoft bundles other things they should also bundle gigabytes of C++?

              No C compiler requires gigabytes of disk space. C++ isn't used to build Perl.

              This doesn't follow in any logical way, would make no business sense and would inconvenience most users.

              Explain how this would inconvenience anyone.

              Can you even name something comparable that Microsoft bundles with Windows?

              The .NET Runtime. It comes with compiler executables for C#, VB.NET and JScript.NET, and it is installed by default since Windows XP S

            • You're correct--two wrongs do not make a right. But, in my opinion, a C compiler is more important than much of the other crap they currently distribute.
              • by ChatHuant (801522)
                But, in my opinion, a C compiler is more important than much of the other crap they currently distribute.

                Spoken like a developer :). But you have to consider that the vast majority Windows users don't know (or care about) C. The comparatively few ones knowledgeable enough to need a compiler are knowledgeable enough to download it (with the exception, apparently, of the grand-grand parent). For the others a media player, or a simple mail/news client, or a simple paint program, or even Minesweeper are more
        • by rrohbeck (944847)

          And how is the build process for a CPAN module going to automate this if VC isn't installed?
          "Dear user, please go here:http:..., then click this and that, wait for the download, then click setup.exe, wait for the install to finish, then come back here and retry. Oh, and mare sure you use only browser X or Y because Microsoft won't support anything else, and make sure you turn on Javascript, and cookies, ..."

          • by ChatHuant (801522)
            And how is the build process for a CPAN module going to automate this if VC isn't installed?

            Not a very good question: first, on Windows, most stuff is distributed as binaries. There are lots of tools and facilities for creating installers; compiling source is not a requirement. Anybody who plans to distribute his product in source format to normal Windows users, expecting them to build and install it, has already failed.

            Second, if somebody needs to install perl modules, they belong to the "knowledgeab
  • ...IronPerl
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Whatever other benefits there are, the main beneficiary of porting open source software projects to the Windows platform is Microsoft.

    Bear in mind that if there were no Linux, many of the other open source software projects would not have existed.

    Microsoft don't even have to embrace and extinguish when the open source projects are doing it for them.

  • Perl, C, C++ will take care of most things also OpenGL if you want to help with CAD alternatives.

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