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yudel (1014)

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Journal of yudel (1014)

Wednesday January 22, 2003
06:27 PM

Easing CPAN for Users

[ #10128 ]
As someone who uses a Windows desktop, and has had to install modules on a shared host w/o root privileges, I'm finding the discussion about making modules easier to use fascinationg.

Some suggestions:

  1. Stop assuming that Unix isn't only the default platform, but the only platform.
  2. Modify h2xs to produce non-Unix friendly output:
    • Supplement the make/test/build lines in the default doc with info on how to extract to a local subdirectory w/o root privileges.
      (It's a pain to look it up every time, and makes us non-super users feel like outsiders).
    • Have the documentation automatically indicate whether the module, and its dependencies, are pure Perl or not.
      The default is spreading FUD about the need for a compiler. What percentage of CPAN modules really require one?
  3. Replace make as the default with one of the new Perl modules being built for that purpose.
  4. Have said module be smart enough to detect
    • Lack of root privileges
    • Lack of compiler

    and be smart enough to gently guide users to making the correct choices:

    • install locally and put in a use lib command
    • download a gcc compiler and compile
    • connect to ActiveState and download
  5. Form a better connection with the ActiveState repository, so Pause automatically sends c-based modules to the PPM repository.

Certainly some of these are easier than others. But any will help make those of us without root feel less like deadwood among the Perlish.

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  • 1. Stop assuming that Unix isn't only the default platform, but the only platform.

    I really think there are very few places where this is done on purpose. Generally people write cross platform code - in fact perl makes it pretty hard these days to make non-cross platform code. The only case I can think of is Windows' screwed up filesystem conventions, where there is no root to your filesystem. Finding people using File::Spec in their modules tends to be a rareity. But even then I don't think File::Spec