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How to Install CPAN Modules
CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network) is a large repository of Perl modules. Standard Perl already has many CPAN libraries installed from birth.
The TWiki package contains most required non-standard CPAN modules. Usually you have to install a few extra CPAN modules to use all the features in TWiki. If you install additional plugins you might need to install additional CPAN modules. This guide tells you how to do that.
For building the CPAN modules from sources it is assumed that you have a fully working Perl and C development environment (including a C compiler and make tool) - but you may have much easier alternatives. This is not required if you can install the libraries as packages.
What Do I Need?
These are the CPAN modules that you are recommended to install
CGI::Session - Needed for TWiki's session feature which is really a must have
Error - Needed if you later want to develop plugins. It is also distributed with TWiki but the author has experienced lots of trouble with the build script that builds plugins which sometimes cannot find this library. By adding it to the site Perl library you avoid this kind of trouble.
FreezeThaw - an indirectly needed module used by other modules.
GD - Used by the pluging that can produce graphics such as TWiki:Plugins.ChartPlugin. It requires that lib gd is installed. If your choice of installation does not include you simply need to install the rpms gd and gd-devel. They are both on the CDs or DVD.
HTML::Tree - Needed by some popular plugins
Time-modules (Time::CTime, Time::DaysInMonth, Time::JulianDay, Time::ParseDate, Time::Timezone) also needed by some popular plugins.
This list may not be complete. For example if RHEL/Fedora/CentOS Linux was not installed as "Software Development" and "WebServer" you may need to install additional modules.
When you run
in the section "CGI Setup" there is a subsection "Perl modules" which lists the version of the installed modules and also the missing modules.
What CPAN Libraries Do I Have?
To test if you have a certain CPAN modules installed follow this easy method.
This is best explained by example:
- To check for perl module FileHandle:
perl -e 'use FileHandle; print $FileHandle::VERSION."\n"'
- To check perl module Time::Local:
perl -e 'use Time::Local; print $Time::Local::VERSION."\n"'
Install CPAN Modules using the package management system
If your system is one of the most popular Linux distributions then by far the easiest way to install additional CPAN modules is to use the package management system.
For distributions like RedHat, CentOS, Fedora, Mandriva etc most CPAN libraries are available as RPM packages. If you need a CPAN library called CGI::Session then the naming convention normally used is perl-CGI-Session. Not all the CPAN libraries can be found on your CD/DVD or in the official distribution package repositories. But there are many additional repositories that carries nearly all the CPAN libraries. E.g. Dag Wieers
has all the RPMs you will ever need for CPAN libs for the RedHat/Fedora/Centos family.
For Debian based distros, including Ubuntu, the naming convention is a little different. For example, the CGI::Session library is called libcgi-session-perl. The good thing with Debian is that they carry most of the CPAN libraries on the official package repositories so once you know what they are called they are just a simple
installs the CGI::Session module from CPAN. You can also use GUI tools such as Synaptic to find and install such modules. See TWikiOnDebian
Gentoo has ebuilds for the CPAN. E.g. CGI::Session is called CGI-Session. See http://packages.gentoo.org/packages/?category=dev-perl
for an overview of Perl CPAN related ebuilds.
has a detailed description of which CPAN libraries are required in addition to the ones that are installed by default and the exact method how to install them. This covers RedHat, Centos and Fedora. If you have another RPM based distribution this is also a very good resource.
Install CPAN modules into your local Perl library using CPAN
By default, you need to have admin (root) privileges to install Perl modules - see the next section if you don't.
Installation is straightforward if your machine has Internet access. It is assumed that you have the CPAN perl module installed (this is normally the case).
utility must be available before using Bundle::CPAN. On CentOS 6.3 minimal you must run
yum install make
Invoke the CPAN shell:
# perl -MCPAN -e shell
If you run this for the first time it asks you some configuration questions. In most cases it works just fine if you tell it to "go figure it out yourself." Once configured you will see a
The first thing you should do is to upgrade your CPAN:
cpan> install Bundle::CPAN
Once ready, type:
cpan> reload cpan
Now it is time to install the additional modules you need. For example, to retrieve, configure and install the
cpan> install DateTime::TimeZone
If needed you will be prompted to install other modules this module depends on.
Setting up a private CPAN library - without admin privileges
If you don't have admin privileges and want to install required CPAN modules locally, this is how you do it. The instructions are written for Unix/Linux users, such as shared web hosting users, or users of an intranet Unix/Linux server.
This page will help you create a private CPAN library. You can put your private library anywhere; just type in the path you want to use below. Remember that the webserver user has to be able to find and read the path, though!
Now start the CPAN shell in your home directory:
$ cd ~
$ perl -MCPAN -e shell
You can just answer "yes" to automatic configuration, and wait for the noise to die down, or you can answer "no" and step through the questions. You should accept the defaults for most questions, except the ones about your mirror locations.
Now type the following at the
prompt (note that each line starts with
all others are wrapping):
: at any point you can use
to review your options and
for (limited) help. In
(or your shell's equivalent), set
Now, when you run
perl -MCPAN -e shell
, any modules you install will be installed to your private repository.
: several people can all share the same CPAN library; they can all follow the instructions above.
Using your private CPAN repository in TWiki
CPAN libraries in twiki's
) directory are automatically detected and used by TWiki; you don't have to do anything else!
If, however, you've installed shared CPAN libraries elsewhere, you have to point to it. Update
bin/LocalSite.cfg in your TWiki installation:
@localPerlLibPath = ( "/home/twiki/lib/CPAN/lib" );
Installing CPAN modules manually
If you are behind a hefty firewall and cannot run CPAN and your Unix machine does not have ready made packages available the method is to manually install the package. Some packages contains binary compiled modules and requires a fully working Perl and C development environment (including a C compiler and make tool).
First we download them. The most common ones you need are here. (pick the latest version if there is a newer)
Then we install them. This is done more or less the same way with all of them. At least one module depends on FreezeThaw so install that first.
- Untar the package in some temporary directory with
tar -zxvf filename.tar.gz
- Run these commands (look in the readme file - maybe there are extra steps
- You can delete the entire directory with the sources afterwards if you desire.
- Windows users - download Nmake from microsoft website, and use 'nmake' instead of make in the above set of commands
Above process is slightly different on Solaris 10
(onwards) compared to Linux. Instead of running
you must run
. Apart from this all is the same. See SolarisInstallCookbookPerlModules
for full explanation.
ActiveState has provided compiled modules that make CPAN installation very easy:
- Browse to the ActivePerl PPM archives
- Select your ActivePerl version (8xx means perl 5.8)
- Select your operating system. This procedure has been successfully used to extend the set of CPAN modules provided with the Windows Installer for TWiki 4.2.0. However ActiveState also provides downloads for Darwin, HP-UX, Linux, and Solaris.
- Download the module(s) you need. File are named
The rest of these steps only apply to Windows downloads from ActiveState
- Extract the ZIP(s) to a directory on the server, e.g., . Warnings about overwriting README files during extraction can be safely ignored. The installer expects the ZIP to be extracted directly in that directory, and not in sub-directories for each module. So the directory will contain
*.ppd files and a directory called which contains
- Start the GUI for the Perl Package Manager that was installed with ActivePerl: i.e., Start > Run... > ppm
- In the program Preferences, check that Areas points to your Perl install. "Add Repository" for the directory with the extracted modules.
- The modules should now appear in the list. Right-click + Install to mark them to be installed. Click as many as needed, and it will check the pre-requisites as it goes.
- Under the File menu, select "Run Marked Actions". Check for errors, and that's it: no need to restart Apache or re-Configure plug-ins.
Unfortunately a PPM package isn't always available (and I couldn't get
to work). In those cases:
- Open the URL http://trouchelle.com/ppm/
- Download the PPD (IE downloads it as XML, just rename it)
- Also download the ZIP from the location specified in the PPD file
- Extract the ZIP and edit
install-nomake to change the shebang from
#!D:/perl/bin/perl (or wherever you perl is)
- At a command prompt (the
-s flag, described in the comments of
install-nomake, installs it to a remote directory of your choosing):
perl install-nomake -s D:\Perl\site
details a mechanism to mirror the latest version of CPAN modules. this will grab all
the CPAN modules and create a local mirror.
- http://sial.org/howto/perl/life-with-cpan/ - good introduction to CPAN modules, and different ways to install them (dead link)
- http://www.perl.com/pub/a/2002/04/10/mod_perl.html - good description of how to do local installs of Perl modules without superuser privileges
- 07 Jul 2007
Comments & Questions about this Supplemental Document Topic
I moved above how-to from CpanReadme
and enhanced it with a how-to on local Perl install.
- 13 Oct 2006
The "type the following at the cpan prompt" textbox isn't displaying correctly. I'd fix it, but I don't know how. The textbox is interpreting the INSTALLMAN1DIR
's as WikiWords
and is putting the little href ?s after them.
- 02 Mar 2007
Argh, the spec change of treating AAA1BBB
as a WikiWord
is biting us again. I fixed above text with
- 04 Mar 2007
This document needs two more sections.
How to install them under
ActiveState in Windows
[done, 2008-03-04] and how to install them under IndigoPerl.
- 27 Apr 2007
Nice additions, thanks Kenneth!
- 27 Apr 2007
Have added Solaris specific notes in the "Installing CPAN modules manually" section.
- 02 Jul 2007
How to install CPAN modules on TWikiForWindowsPersonal
- 24 Jul 2007
Nice tips here - the instructions for private directory installation of CPAN modules can be slightly simplified. You just need to say
o conf commit
without a filename -
will use this filename by default, so I've simplified this above.
- 11 Aug 2007
All you windows guys, just download the CPAN module. And the download Nmake15.exe from Microsoft and use it instead of the make command.
- 30 Aug 2007
CGI::Session module is broken on CPAN.
I am getting the same error. I am unable to force the install as I am using a hosted web service and do not have root access.
Any suggestions on how to fix CGI::Session ?
t/g4_dbfile_json................ok 51/101 (in cleanup) Dumping circular structures is not supported with JSON::Syck at /home/opeongon/.cpan/build/CGI-Session-4.20-Nox69o/blib/lib/CGI/Session/Serialize/json.pm line 18.
Seems to be known as well at CGI::Session />
I just need to know how to work around this problem.
- 09 Sep 2007
Debian also has dh-make-perl ; if the repos don't have the cpan module, you can always make it yourself. needs fakeroot, a bit of sense, and disk space (also you'll need to configure CPAN via the way mentioned above).
- 20 Sep 2007
looks useful - enables Ubuntu as well as Debian users to create .debs that are easily tracked through APT - see http://www.debian-administration.org/articles/78
this dh-make-perl tutorial.
Kris - you don't need root to install your own CPAN libraries, see the section above on how to create a private CPAN setup.
- 20 Sep 2007
I have a big problem with CPAN. [...refactored...] Can anybody help? Many thanks beforehand!
- 25 Jan 2008
Olaf and Thomas: This section is to give feedback on the documentation
of this topic. Please ask support questions in the Support
- 03 Mar 2008
Thank you, will do.
- 03 Mar 2008
Added a section for installation under ActiveState in Windows, as per suggestion by KennethLavrsen
- 27 Apr 2007
- 04 Mar 2008
Hm, citation: "CPAN libraries in twiki's twiki/lib/CPAN (technically speaking, twiki/lib/CPAN/lib ) directory are automatically detected and used by TWiki; you don't have to do anything else!" Installed a fresh 4.2.0 on Windows (apache 2.2.8 and ActiveState
Perl), and configure did not find twiki/lib/CPAN/lib/Error.pm. Worked around it by using shebang #!C:\perl\bin\perl -wT -I C:\Programme\TWiki\twiki\lib\CPAN\lib in configure. Have not found my error yet...
- 21 Mar 2008
I've installed and configured TWiki in my W2003 + Apache 2.2 + ActivePerl
5.8 and when browsing http://localhost:8080/twiki/bin/configure.pl
I get "Failed to load the perl module TWiki::Configure::Checker. The module could not be found." .. "Can't locate TWiki/Configure/Checker.pm in @INC
contains: C:/xampp/perl/site/lib/ C:/xampp/perl/site/lib C:/xampp/perl/lib . C:/xampp/apache)". The module exists but the script can't find it. Anybody knows why or how can I make it find it?
- 08 Apr 2008
Please ask support question in the Support
web. This section is about the documentation
of this topic.
- 09 Apr 2008
All the modules mentioned in the "What Do I Need?" section are already packaged by Debian. So if you're running on that and have root access just run "aptitude install libcgi-session-perl liberror-perl libfreezethaw-perl libgd-gd2-perl libhtml-tree-perl libtime-modules-perl" and you're done. That will probably work on Ubuntu too.
Thanks Mark. Please feel free to enhance above doc.
I have followed this documentation, tried to install manually as wel as using redhat 6 packages and I still get that message when installing plugins :
Warning: CPAN is not available, some installer functions have been disabled
This is a cross-post of Support.SID-01397
The CPAN default these days appears to be
Would you like to configure as much as possible automatically? [yes]
I changed the text above to match that.
-- Vicki Brown - 2014-03-07