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ActiveState’s Perl Installer

by ignatz (Vicar)
on Jan 25, 2002 at 22:08 UTC ( #141568=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

This was sparked from a tread with tilly and I’m wondering if I’m off-base on this.

I got pissed last night as I was upgrading Perl on my Windows machine. Half way into the install it asks me if I want to use PPM3, warning me that I need to register with ASPN to use the features. Only when I drilled down the links did I discover that it costs around $500.

I can understand their need to make a buck, but don’t mess with the Perl installer. It’s free and there should be no question that it is. Asking for half a grand half way through a Perl install is just plain wrong. It wouldn’t be that hard for someone new to Perl to think that in order for it to work, you have to register with them.

I can also see Activestate dropping support for the free PPM2 and forcing people to use the fee based PPM3. This is exactly what they did with the free version of Komodo.

Charging for Perl applications is fine, that’s fine, but keep it away from the Perl installer, that’s all I’m saying. (EDITORIAL: I’ve been a big fan of Activestate for a long time. Their MS installer first got me into Perl oh those many years ago.)

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Re: ActiveState’s Perl Installer
by $code or die (Deacon) on Jan 25, 2002 at 22:14 UTC

    Are you sure they were asking you to sign up for ASPN Perl? ActiveState also have ASPN Open, which is free. I've not installed the latest ActivePerl, but I imagine that signing up for ASPN Open would be sufficient - it's only needed so it can store your PPM profile online. ASPN Perl on the other hand gives you access to several O'Reilly books online and the Perl Dev Kit. Try again and see if it works with ASPN Open. Personally, I prefer PPM2 and find PPM3 klunky and annoying.

    Update: Under the What's New Section here AS say that access to a "paid" ASPN account is required if you want to manage installation profiles. You can use PPM3 without that functionality. From what I can see, it just records what modules you have installed, so you can roll back or duplicate the configuration on another machine. I wouldn't be too concerned about that, you can write your own profile manager for free ;)

    ___ Simon Flack ($code or die)
    $,=reverse'"ro_';s,$,\$,;s,$,lc ref sub{},e;$,
    =~y'_"' ';eval"die";print $_,lc substr$@,0,3;
      You could be right, but it doesn't say that. The link in the installer is to ASPN Perl which has pricing starts at $495. Even so, I don't think that it should be there. Perl is FREE. I don't need to register or pay or nuttin'. Just install and go and there should be no confusion about it.
Re: ActiveState’s Perl Installer
by boo_radley (Parson) on Jan 25, 2002 at 23:25 UTC
    You say:
    I can understand their need to make a buck, but don’t mess with the Perl installer. It’s free and there should be no question that it is. Asking for half a grand half way through a Perl install is just plain wrong. It wouldn’t be that hard for someone new to Perl to think that in order for it to work, you have to register with them.
    perl is free. The modules that Activestate have (or has? I've been watching too much BBC America...) developed should be governed by their developers, including price.

    However

    Reading the clause from the installer about PPM3 :
    Using the profile functionality requires installing a license for ASPN Perl. You can always disable or enable the Profile feature later within PPM3.

    When I read that, the first question on my mind was "what does this profile functionality entail?" and I found the PPM3 FAQ, which says
    PPM version 3 can also manage installation profiles. An installation profile tracks the PPM packages you have installed on your system, and can be used to restore your ActivePerl installation to a previously saved state. Profiles can also be used to migrate the installation state on one system to another system. PPM3 beta 3 features profile tracking: profiles that automatically update as you add or remove modules. The profile functionality requires access to paid ASPN membership.
    Well, that still doesn't explain everything. I turned back to the installer :
    This release of ActivePerl includes Programmer’s Package Manager version 3, which includes a new facility for keeping track of installed packages. ASPN’s "PPM Profile" feature communicates your package installs and updates securely and transparently to your ASPN Profile. Saved profiles allow you to easily migrate, reinstall, upgrade or restore PPM packages in one or more locations.


    So when we assemble all of these pieces, it seems like you don't need to pay for it, unless you use an optional feature which interacts with your ASPN profile. Careful reading says using PPM3 is still free, unless you want it to interact with your ASPN profile, which you either already have, or had wanted to get anyway (and were therefore aware of the cost already).
      Plus, the ActiveState PPM3 web site says: "The PPM back end for ActivePerl is released under the Perl Artistic License." So if you're not happy with PPM3, take it, embrace it, extend it, and make it your own!

      Also, what did people do before PPM? Can't we still MAKE, MAKE TEST, MAKE INSTALL?

      Cheers!

      Brent

        Also, what did people do before PPM? Can't we still MAKE, MAKE TEST, MAKE INSTALL?
        The answer is no, at least when it comes to XS modules. To compile XS modules that will work with ActiveState requires paying Microsoft for a their C/C++ compiler.

        Of course, there are Perl distributions compiled with free compilers, and you can alway compile your own Perl. But using XS modules with ActiveState without using PPM is a real pain.

        Impossible Robot
(tye)Re: ActiveState’s Perl Installer
by tye (Sage) on Jan 26, 2002 at 00:47 UTC

    Long before any of this, I became shy about recommending ActivePerl due to their restrictive license and "fancy" install that can require an extra reboot and confuses people about what is needed to make Perl work.

    Feel free to use an alternate port of Perl from the official list. I've heard good things about SiePerl and I've had great luck with IndigoPerl (but be aware that the default Apache config files, both the main ones and the ones for the "Perl Console", give the world access to some Apache sample scripts which have known security problems so you need to change those before running Apache or using the "Perl Console" -- and if you don't start Apache, then there is no security problem).

            - tye (but my friends call me "Tye")
Re: ActiveState’s Perl Installer
by dorko (Prior) on Jan 25, 2002 at 23:01 UTC
    ignatz,

    I feel your pain. I really do.

    Well, after a hard drive failure last month, I've just recently (i.e. this week) (re)installed ActiveState's Perl, build 631.

    I remember reading about PPM3 while downloading and it was quite clear in my mind you had to pay to get the extra benefits; but if you didn't pay, it would still do the job.

    Also, when I fire up a MS-DOS window and run "ppm" from the command line, it runs version 2.1.5. In order to run PPM3, I've got to execute "ppm3" from the command line.

    Normally I'd never state my opinion about your feelings, but you wondered if you were off base about this. Personally I don't think it's that big of a deal. But you obviously feel differently about this than I do, especially since you've already had a night to sleep on it and you still feel so strongly.

    Cheers!

    Brent

Re: ActiveState’s Perl Installer
by little (Curate) on Jan 25, 2002 at 22:20 UTC
    Sorry, but did you know that Active State is a company that has to pay salaries? If you don't like their FREE products, just don't use em.
    If you like those use them.
    If you don't like to pay for and to use their professional products , don't use them or if you think its worth it, go ahead and use them.
    And what would you do, if Active State would tomorrow decide to not to offer any free products any more, but to sell everything for cash? Would you sue them to court?
    I am really sorry for being rude on this but "There is NO Breakfast without rolls".

    Have a nice day
    All decision is left to your taste
      Last I checked, they didn't write Perl. Activestate can do whatever they like legally with the Perl installer, but that doesn't mean that I should like it or think that it's a good idea. For me, them trying to turn something free that built their company into something that people think they have to pay for is a bad idea.

      UPDATE:
      I'm really glad that Larry didn't think that way.

      UPDATE2:
      Hmmm.... Don't remember writing "they did write perl", but they didn't write perl. Fixed it.

        Tsk Tsk Tsk a monk that says,

        Last I checked, they did write Perl.

        Check out the Perl Timeline if you really want to get a feel for where Activestate fits into it.

        coreolyn

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