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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Yes, include all common and useful things in perl distribution. The default really matters. Include LWP in the default distibution, include an XML parser in the default distribution, include DBI and most popular DBD functionality. Ask users what they use most commonly and include it. No, it really doesn't work to tell anybody that you can get it from CPAN. IF there is no builtin XML support, people simply think that perl doesn't have XML support. If perl doesn't come with Mailtools by default, perl doesn't support email, etc.

    What happens is that majority of the users are located on virtual hosting servers. Each server probably host 400-500 domains/users. Well lets consider CGI users for a second. I am pretty sure these correspond to a big percentage. The admin usually installs (compiles) the default perl and that is it. They don't want to touch it just in case if it breaks something else.
    There are countless software companies who gave up using LWP in their products after getting responses from 20-50% of the users that think that the software doesn't work. Most of them doesn't even bother and contact their credit card companies for refund. Strangely enough, when these users ask their system admin to install LWP, most of the time the response is that "what is LWP?". One would expect that a system admin is highly familiar with perl.
    These are one of the main resons that Php got popular among CGI/web software developpers. It just comes with bunch of basic functionality by default (even though perl has more powerful tools for these in CPAN). When you give the software to somebody, you know that it will work on their server. I think this is very important.

    One other thing about mod_perl, which i am not really well informed. It looks like mod_perl is not very friendly with virtual hosting. php-apache integration is much more better. Even though perl is much faster and better than php, the comparison is made as CGI against mod_php and perl loses.