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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
    • 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 also formulate a needs_lib type command which would search for a particular lib. In fact, Module::Install::Compile contains a number of these sorts of things (still undocumented, but I'm working on that).

      I imagine that some enterprise Perl hacker might be able to see if there's a way to integrate EU:MM,M:B,M:I with the external system, so that on debian you had apt-file locate the package for the lib and install it and it's -dev. Or on RedHat, or Win32, the appropriate things happened there too.

      It's a problem waiting for someone to have a stab at it? Wanna help?