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Perl Language Reference Manual
by Larry Wall and others
Paperback (6"x9"), 724 pages
ISBN 9781906966027
RRP £29.95 ($39.95)

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1.1.7 Platform-Specific

perlaix             Perl notes for AIX
perlamiga           Perl notes for AmigaOS
perlapollo          Perl notes for Apollo DomainOS
perlbeos            Perl notes for BeOS
perlbs2000          Perl notes for POSIX-BC BS2000
perlce              Perl notes for WinCE
perlcygwin          Perl notes for Cygwin
perldgux            Perl notes for DG/UX
perldos             Perl notes for DOS
perlepoc            Perl notes for EPOC
perlfreebsd         Perl notes for FreeBSD
perlhaiku           Perl notes for Haiku
perlhpux            Perl notes for HP-UX
perlhurd            Perl notes for Hurd
perlirix            Perl notes for Irix
perllinux           Perl notes for Linux
perlmacos           Perl notes for Mac OS (Classic)
perlmacosx          Perl notes for Mac OS X
perlmpeix           Perl notes for MPE/iX
perlnetware         Perl notes for NetWare
perlopenbsd         Perl notes for OpenBSD
perlos2             Perl notes for OS/2
perlos390           Perl notes for OS/390
perlos400           Perl notes for OS/400
perlplan9           Perl notes for Plan 9
perlqnx             Perl notes for QNX
perlriscos          Perl notes for RISC OS
perlsolaris         Perl notes for Solaris
perlsymbian         Perl notes for Symbian
perltru64           Perl notes for Tru64
perluts             Perl notes for UTS
perlvmesa           Perl notes for VM/ESA
perlvms             Perl notes for VMS
perlvos             Perl notes for Stratus VOS
perlwin32           Perl notes for Windows

On a Unix-like system, these documentation files will usually also be available as manpages for use with the man program.

In general, if something strange has gone wrong with your program and you're not sure where you should look for help, try the -w switch first. It will often point out exactly where the trouble is.

Perl officially stands for Practical Extraction and Report Language, except when it doesn't.

Perl is a language optimized for scanning arbitrary text files, extracting information from those text files, and printing reports based on that information. It's also a good language for many system management tasks. The language is intended to be practical (easy to use, efficient, complete) rather than beautiful (tiny, elegant, minimal).

Perl combines (in the author's opinion, anyway) some of the best features of C, sed, awk, and sh, so people familiar with those languages should have little difficulty with it. (Language historians will also note some vestiges of csh, Pascal, and even BASIC-PLUS.) Expression syntax corresponds closely to C expression syntax. Unlike most Unix utilities, Perl does not arbitrarily limit the size of your data--if you've got the memory, Perl can slurp in your whole file as a single string. Recursion is of unlimited depth. And the tables used by hashes (sometimes called "associative arrays") grow as necessary to prevent degraded performance. Perl can use sophisticated pattern matching techniques to scan large amounts of data quickly. Although optimized for scanning text, Perl can also deal with binary data, and can make dbm files look like hashes. Setuid Perl scripts are safer than C programs through a dataflow tracing mechanism that prevents many stupid security holes.

If you have a problem that would ordinarily use sed or awk or sh, but it exceeds their capabilities or must run a little faster, and you don't want to write the silly thing in C, then Perl may be for you. There are also translators to turn your sed and awk scripts into Perl scripts.

But wait, there's more...

Begun in 1993 (see perlhist), Perl version 5 is nearly a complete rewrite that provides the following additional benefits:

Okay, that's definitely enough hype.

ISBN 9781906966027Perl Language Reference ManualSee the print edition