Perl, along with a number of useful modules, is installed by default on your Linux system. We will use the terms extension and module interchangeably because they have much the same meaning in Perl. If you want to check what version of Perl is installed, use the perl command with the -v option:
$ perl -v This is perl, v5.8.3 built for i386-linux-thread-multi Copyright 1987-2003, Larry Wall Perl may be copied only under the terms of either the Artistic License or the GNU General Public License, which may be found in the Perl 5 source kit. Complete documentation for Perl, including FAQ lists, should be found on this system using `man perl' or `perldoc perl'. If you have access to the Internet, point your browser at http://www.perl.com/, the Perl Home Page.
At the time of this writing, 5.8.3 is the latest version of Perl available. If, for some reason, you do not have Perl installed on your system, you can use the rpm application to install it directly from the Fedora distribution. Place the first CD-ROM into the drive, wait a few moments for it to load, and type the following:
# rpm hvi /mnt/cdrom/Fedora/RPMS/perl-5.8.3-5.i386.rpm
If you want to be on the cutting edge, you can even download the latest copy of Perl and build it, in much the same way that we compiled the gFTP application in Chapter 11; you need to install the Development Tools packages as specified in the chapter. Simply type the following into a terminal (each line represents a different command, and you ll need root privileges for it to work):
# cd /usr/local/src # wget http://www.perl.com/CPAN/src/latest.tar.gz # tar -zxvf latest.tar.gz # cd perl-5.8.3 # ./Configure # make # make test # make install
Make sure to read the INSTALL file, which provides more instructions on how to compile and build Perl. While you re at it, you should also read the obligatory README file for any last-minute changes, bug fixes, and so on.