While Unix operating systems include standard utilities such as tar, gzip, and make, Windows systems don't. For this reason, you will have to go through some extra steps to ensure that you can install modules from the CPAN under Windows.

We assume here that you are using the ActivePerl distribution from ActiveState.

The first utility needed is make. On Windows, such a utility (called nmake) is distributed by Microsoft for free. You can download a self-extracting archive from ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/Softlib/MSLFILES/nmake15.exe. When you run this executable, you will have three files: readme.txt, nmake.err, and nmake.exe. Copy these files into a directory in your PATH,[1] such as C:\Windows\System, C:\Windows, or even C:\Perl\bin. You will now be able to replace any use of make in the examples in this book with nmake.

[1]To see your PATH, run echo %PATH% from the command line.

Some examples, and the use of CPAN.pm, also require command-line utilities such as tar or gzip. There are a number of projects that have ported such tools to Windows—for example, GnuWin32 (http://gnuwin32.sourceforge.net/) and UnixUtils (http://unxutils.sourceforge.net/). These toolkits allow you to use standard Unix utilities from your Windows command line.

Another option is Cygwin (http://www.cygwin.com/), which puts a Unix layer on top of Windows. This allows you to use many Unix-specific applications, but these must run from the Cygwin shell. If you use Cygwin, you should use the normal Unix steps discussed in this book, not any Windows-specific ones.

There is another downside of Windows: compilation tools aren't included. This means that some modules that use C extensions (e.g., mod_perl) can't be installed in the normal way, and you have to get precompiled distributions of them. In such cases, it is a good idea to follow the PPM instructions given later in this Preface, which should allow you to install binary versions of some of the modules discussed here.