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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • One case where, IMO, CPAN seriously goes out the bend, is in the need for external libraries for some XS modules. Take DBD::mysql, XML::Parser, XML::LibXML, Tie::Judy, the various image manipulation modules: all depend on an external library (or more!), of which it's assumed that it's already installed before you even attempt to install the Perl module.

    Very often, the only way to see something is wrong, is because tests are failing in a mysterious way. In other words, the library is not actually treated as a dependency, and commonly no test is even included just to see if the library is actually even available! And once you do find out what is missing, the often nontrivial hunting down of the library that is required is just starting. Often, there's not even a link to where you're supposed to pick up the library — or at least, it's well hidden. Ideally, make should simply go fetch the library and install it.

    Surely this must be one of the grossest sins against Elaine's Law, in the Perl world...
    • As CPAN now gets towards 9000-10000 packages, with links to just about everything, I think the problem of external libs is showing up more and more.

      The big problem is that you can't just assume what the installation process for non-Perl will be on any given platform.

      For "can I run cvs" Module::Install has a can_run 'foo' command to check it, and I'd like to see that used by the debian/redhat/etc integrators to automatically add the right dependencies there.

      Nobody has tried yet, but I imagine someone could a