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Perl is a general-purpose programming language originally developed for text manipulation and now used for a wide range of tasks including system administration, web development, network programming, GUI development, and more. The language is intended to be practical (easy to use, efficient, complete) rather than beautiful (tiny, elegant, minimal). Its major features are that it's easy to use, supports both procedural and object-oriented (OO) programming, has powerful built-in support for text processing, and has one of the world's most impressive collections of third-party modules.

Perl Versions

While most modern operating systems ship with a version of Perl, UMIACS also maintains multiple versions.


For RHEL, different versions of Perl can be found via GNU Modules.
The versions in /usr have PerlLocalLib support to allow users an easy way to install and maintain their own perl modules:
  • RHEL 7
    • /usr/bin/perl - 5.16.3
    • /opt/local/stow/perl-5.10.1
    • /opt/local/stow/perl-5.18.4
    • /opt/local/stow/perl-5.20.2


For Ubuntu hosts, different version of Perl can be install through the Ubuntu Software Center
The versions in /usr and /opthave PerlLocalLib support to allow users an easy way to install and maintain their own perl modules:
  • Ubuntu Trusty 14.04
    • /usr/bin/perl - 5.18.2


ActiveState Perl can be installed on your PC upon request. Contact staff for details.

If you find that you need a version of Perl that is not readily available, you can always build it from source.

Installing Modules

In order to ensure backwards compatibility and functionality, we prefer that users create their own installations of perl modules so that we can keep the central versions of Perl as vanilla as possible. The following instructions will show you how to setup and install local copies of Perl Modules.


You can find full documentation for any version of Perl at You can also find Perl tutorials (which can be fonud under the Manuals menu).