CPAN Modules in Linux Distributions

Just two weeks ago I wrote about Perl Module availability on various platforms. I asked the wisdom of the PerlMonks if this information is already available or if it is not, how to go about generating it. I got a couple of good pointers there and also on the Linux-IL mailing list.

There was even this monk who thought this is a bad idea.

Seriously, why would that piece of information be bad?

His argument, that one can install everything from source directly from CPAN misses the point. I believe most of the people out there don't want to compile anything from source. The end users definitely not but even the developers will try to avoid that. The same way as most of us won't build his computer we don't want to build the kernel, nor Apache and not even the Perl modules.

We do want to have the possibility in case we need some bleeding edge stuff but mostly we will prefer everything to be ready made as much as possible.

I think that we are too much in love with the packaging systems used on CPAN. They are quite good but instead of forcing our way on everyone else we should make sure the other packaging systems can work well with our system.

I would like to see that all the major Linux and Unix distributions carry many important modules from CPAN. In addition I would like to have one or more virtual packages in those distributions that would include a large selections of these modules. Similar to the bundles we have on CPAN.

Then we could encourage web hosting companies to provide web space on standard Linux or FreeBSD distributions with tons of CPAN modules available to the individual developers.

Anyway, today as I was trying to collect all the pieces of information around I started to look for a Perl module that would parse the file describing all the Debian packages. After all if possible I would not like to write it from scratch. I found two modules that might fit the bill but I also found Module::Packaged by Leon Brocard that already does most of the work I wanted to do. As usual, I am not the first one to think about an idea and luckily someone has already done most of the work already. The only thing I had to do now is create an HTML report using that module. I even released my source code to CPAN as Module::Packaged::Report. so others will be able to send patches. (SVN repository is here

Comments either on the the PerlMonks post or on Journal or by private mail to me.

Published on 2007-04-28 by Gabor Szabo