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Re: active perl

by furry_marmot (Pilgrim)
on Feb 18, 2011 at 17:59 UTC ( #888967=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to active perl

Back in the mid 1990's, a company called Hip Software ported Perl to Win32. They got some funding from Microsoft for it, who were interested in a scripting language that wasn't VB. Hip called their port ActiveWare Perl.

A second, open-source, effort to port Perl was also going on, headed by Gurusamy Surathy. Both ports had their pros and cons. Gurusamy's focused on porting as much functionality as possible. ActiveWare's focused on Windows integration, especially with OLE, the IIS webserver and other Windows-specific technology. Both had the problem of trying to emulate *nix functionality on Windows 95...

Eventually Hip/ActiveWare became ActiveState and hired Gurusamy to lead the effort to merge the two Windows ports into what became ActivePerl, which is a solid port of Perl. It's free to download and includes access to the ActiveState Perl Repository, which is similar to CPAN, but with binaries pre-compiled for Windows. It uses PPM (Perl Package Manager) instead of the CPAN shell, but the latest version of PPM (those included in ActivePerl 5.10 or later, I believe) also let you install and manage CPAN packages. The MinGW PPM package installs the build tools necessary to compile binaries for CPAN installs. Some packages still won't install, of course, since Windows and Unix are still different beasts.

ActiveWare also ported ActivePython and ActiveTCL and sells Development Kits for Tcl and Perl that include various tools and a visual debugger. To make money, they sell a non-language-specific IDE/Editor and various support options for Enterprise customers. They also provide Unix ports of all the ActiveState language distributions.

If you're looking for a Win32/x64 Perl port, you might also try Strawberry Perl. It's an open source Perl port that is meant to run native similarly to the experience you'd have on Unix. Their front page says, "What isn't included? System conflicts and DLL hell." Having used Perl for Win32 since 5.005, I can honestly say I don't know what that's all about (one DLL is hardly hell and I haven't had a system conflict with Perl since the late 1990's), but I installed it last year and it worked well. I needed an SSH module that wouldn't compile with Strawberry Perl, so I went back to ActiveState, but it might work fine for you. Come to think of it, I don't need that SSH module anymore, so maybe I'll try it again myself.



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