Root access is not required to install Perl modules. Perl modules can be installed under a home directory, or into any other location. When possible, use the local::lib module.
- Consult Life with CPAN for more information about the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN).
- For hosting providers that only offer FTP or similarly limited filesystem access, install the custom Perl modules to a local system, then upload the various module files via FTP. This assumes the modules are pure Perl; modules that use XS will need to be compiled for the same architecture as the hosting provider, and modules that require C libraries (for example, XML::LibXML requires libxml2*, among others) must be compiled against the same version installed on the hosting provider.
- PAR or App::FatPacker can help bundle Perl modules for distribution.
- Systems with limited resources may need to use App::cpanminus instead of the heavier cpan or cpanp commands.
- Consider App::perlbrew to install perl itself. One can then either manage multiple perlbrew installations, or additionally use local::lib to maintain library directories for particular applications or services.
- Individuals can install software where ever; larger sites will require more formalism in how software is installed and maintained.
Another option: seek out a provider that offers better support of CPAN, as one of the major benefits of Perl is the wealth of modules available.
Installs from CPAN may not be reproducible, as the author could upload a new, incompatible module version, or delete the entire module without warning (though old versions of the module may be available on backpan). If this is a concern, be sure to archive the specific module versions required for the software, so that the installation can be properly reproduced on other systems or again in the future.
Another important piece of information is the number of perl installed on the system. Ensure that only one version of perl is used consistently for each software project—usually by using the fully qualified path, or by ensuring that all required environment settings are consistent and correct—as otherwise modules may end up installed for the wrong version of perl.
$ type -a perl
perl is /usr/bin/perl
perl is /usr/local/bin/perl
$ whence -a perl
Some vendors (notably Apple in recent Mac OS X releases) may install multiple versions of perl by default, and may offer a means to switch between these different versions. This might also complicate module installation and usage.
$ ls /usr/bin/perl5*
Previous build or configuration attempts may have left the system in a messy state. If possible, use a virtual system, so that a build system can easily be rebuilt, or restored to a known clean slate. Another method is to create a new system account, and build software under that, destroying the home directory when done to reset to a clean slate. If this is not possible, reset CPAN to a clean slate by wiping out the ~/.cpan directory. The system-wide CPAN configuration should have no bearing on user-specific build attempts, though for reference can be located by running:
$ perl -le 'print grep -f, map "$_/$ARGV", @INC' CPAN/Config.pm
Use the make_install_make_command option to build as one user, but install as a different one:
cpan> o conf make_install_make_command 'sudo /usr/bin/make'
And also the following for Module::Build, which is probably why I stick to Module::Install, as duplicate-but-different configuration requirements are one of the several things that annoy me about Module::Build:
cpan> o conf mbuild_install_build_command 'sudo ./Build'
However, since Module::Build lacks a separate "build" versus "install" as the alternatives do, the sudo ./Build may pollute the build directory with files owned by some other user. This may require other commands to periodically cleanup or otherwise rectify the permissions on these files so the original user can manage the build directory. I recommend any of Module::Install, Dist::Zilla, or ExtUtils::MakeMaker over Module::Build.
The UNINST=1 option should not be set for non-root configurations, as this will cause the user process to attempt to remove any conflicting modules, often those present in the system @INC paths. So do not set this option for a non-root configuration.