in reply to Re: Newb guidance for Perl on MS Windows: Cygwin, Strawberry, ActivePerl?
in thread Newb guidance for Perl on MS Windows: Cygwin, Strawberry, ActivePerl?
The Strawberry Perl folks took the approach of providing the compiler and other tools needed to build Perl modules. The idea is that if you're familiar with using Perl and building/installing Perl modules in a *nix environment, you would be able to do mostly the same thing on Windows.
ActiveState took a different approach with their ActivePerl. Windows does not natively come with any C/C++ compilers like many of the *nix type operating systems do. So their approach was to have a repository of pre-built modules that are compatible with ActivePerl. They maintain a separate repository for each version of ActivePerl. The idea is that you don't have to have a compiler (and other related tools) in order to install Perl modules. If the module exists in their PPM repository, then you have a "guarantee" that you can install and use that module.
In addition to the PPM utility, ActivePerl can use cpan. However, ActiveState does not bundle in a compiler and make utility. So after install, a user can only install pure Perl modules from cpan. For 32-bit versions of ActivePerl, a user can install MinGW and dmake from ActiveState's repository, which would allow for installation of modules from cpan that need to be compiled (such as XS modules). (There's more challenges to get a proper compiler and make utility with 64-bit versions of ActivePerl - especially if you're trying to use the pp utility from PAR::Packer to create stand-alone executables, but I'm not familiar with those details.)
In the end, it's just basically two approaches to deal with the issue of no C/C++ compilers (and related tools) being natively available in Windows.
With ActiveState's approach, I personally like the "guarantee" that PPM modules can be installed and used without issues, but the price is that you might not have PPMs of the latest version of modules. With Strawberry Perl's approach, I personally like being able to install the latest version of modules directly from cpan, but the price there is that I may need to debug install issues and/or do extra work to find the work-around solution.