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Perl 5.8 on Debian

by crenz (Priest)
on Apr 06, 2005 at 09:51 UTC ( #445228=perlquestion: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??
crenz has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

I have a webserver where I'm running a few projects that make fairly extensive use of Perl's Unicode features. The server is running on Debian stable, so unfortunately this means I have to work with Perl 5.6.1.

I am slowly getting very fed up with 5.6.1's Unicode support and definitely want to switch to a 5.8 version. However, as far as I know (confirmed by the SVK Wiki), there is no 5.8 for Debian stable, so I only seem to have three alternatives:

  1. Move the whole server to Debian unstable, losing security updates
  2. Install Perl from source, but going well beyond Install parallel Perl on Debian because on top of that, I have to install Apache and mod_perl from source as well!
  3. Wait till Debian Sarge is released... in a year. Or two. Or three.

All three alternatives sound rather scary (although the second one less so, since I'm a bit security-minded). Any hints how I should go about this problem?

Comment on Perl 5.8 on Debian
Re: Perl 5.8 on Debian
by tlm (Prior) on Apr 06, 2005 at 10:02 UTC

    How about Debian testing?

    the lowliest monk

      Debian Testing also fails to get security updates. The situation there is actually worse then Unstable since it only contains packages that have been in Unstable without serious bug reports for a certain period of time.

        Yes; I was thinking all along about just upgrading to perl/testing; I should have been clearer.

        the lowliest monk

Re: Perl 5.8 on Debian
by tlm (Prior) on Apr 06, 2005 at 10:06 UTC

    BTW, you don't need to switch the entire server to testing (or unstable); you can just upgrade perl. Try

    [sudo or whatever] apt-get install perl/testing

    the lowliest monk

      Or even

      apt-get build-dep --compile perl && apt-get source --compile perl

      with

      deb-src http://http.us.debian.org/debian testing main or deb-src http://http.us.debian.org/debian unstable main

      cp
      ----
      "Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."

      Thanks, that sounds like a viable option. That way, I can install perl, Apache and mod_perl from testing. Of course, there are still some security issues, but at least I only have a few packages to watch, not a whole system.

Re: Perl 5.8 on Debian
by borisz (Canon) on Apr 06, 2005 at 10:46 UTC
    I install a recent perl in another location and make that the default. So any change to the distribution does not affect perl anymore.
    Boris
Re: Perl 5.8 on Debian
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 06, 2005 at 10:53 UTC
    Well, if you're holding back on all three alternatives because they sound scary, I don't think we can offer much help. Fear is an emotion, and this is a technical site. I know what I would do, (and that wouldn't be option 4, switch to a different Linux distro), but I doubt that would make the alternatives sound less scary.

    So, I don't really know what to do about your problem, other than perhaps actually read the spam you get - there might be some pills available on the internet that will take away fear.

      The point I was trying to make is that all of these alternatives have some problems -- security problems, creating a setup that is difficult to maintain, etc. I think I made that one clear. By using the attribute "scary", I am not implying that I am fearful. In fact, I was ready to go route #2 unless there is an easier way, and already linked some instructions in my post.

      As the other posts prove, using more benevolent assumptions about my state of mind it is perfectly possible to understand my intent and reply to my post in a helpful manner (and even provide some solutions to help me out).

      While from a very technical standpoint, you are right, your answer was not very helpful. Because this is a technical site, I can expect the reader to not interpret "scary" in a literal way.

      Given this background information, what is the point of your post? What do you want me to change? (And no, this is not a rhetorical question.)

      I'm not sure if you were trying to be funny with this post, but it just comes off mean-spirited. If you truly think his whole post can be boiled down to one word, and replied on that basis alone, then perhaps you are the one with emotional problems.

      PS: If I come across mean-spirited, that's what I intended. I'm sorry if you were making a joke, but it's just not funny, nor warranted.

Other alternatives
by dave0 (Friar) on Apr 06, 2005 at 14:11 UTC
    In Debian, you can pull packages from multiple sources, so you might1 be able to get your base OS from 'stable' and pull certain packages from 'testing' or 'unstable'. See http://www.argon.org/~roderick/apt-pinning.html for information on setting this up.

    Rather than using testing or unstable, you might be able to find some of the packages you need at http://www.backports.org. Not Perl, though, but they do have Apache2.

    A nice middle ground between building everything from upstream sources, or suffering through outdated packages might be to build your own .deb packages of perl 5.8.x and its dependancies. I haven't tried this for something as complex as Perl or Apache, but for many other packages it's a simple matter of downloading the source packages from 'unstable' and rebuilding them on 'stable'.

    1 - I say "might", because doing so might require upgrading the dependancies of Perl and Apache to the versions from 'testing', at which point you're basically better off just switching the entire thing rather than trying to track a 'stable' base and 'testing' for your apps.

Re: Perl 5.8 on Debian
by vladdrak (Monk) on Apr 07, 2005 at 08:06 UTC
    Well, security.debian.org does in fact host sarge debs. They aren't first priority, woody gets patched first, but sarge is close (cough) to becoming stable, and so the security team is more on the ball these days. Add this to your sources.list:
    deb http://security.debian.org/ sarge/updates main contrib non-free
    You could also crossgrade to Ubuntu..

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