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Perl Packages - the return

Posted by simonw on Thu 27 Oct 2005 at 13:52

We install a few Perl modules on production servers for email, websites, that sort of thing, and I'm building a new server, but also I write some code in my spare time that depends on some less mainstream bits of Perl (Chess::PGN::Parse amongst others).

I was somewhat surprised to find that "Tie::RDBM" isn't obviously packaged (no libtie-rdbm-perl package), since this is the official Debian name for Perl modules according to the Perl Policy Guide.

Is there a better search than "apt-cache search libtie perl"? As I assume it could have been packaged in "libtie-perl" and state it provides "Tie::RDBM".

Now those nice folks at CPAN (well a chap(?) called Jos) have been packaging CPAN for Debian, but this seems aimed at those who like bleeding edge packages.

I'm running Debian Stable, guess what, I don't want bleeding edge, I want safe, secure, boring, at least on the live servers. But I guess CPAN is what it is, and it is probably better that I get notified when CPAN packages I use have been updated, even if I choose not to install them for a few days.

Besides Jos doesn't package Tie::RDBM either as far as I can tell.

Based on the comments to the previous article I can do something like;

dh-make-perl --build --notest --cpan Tie::RDBM

And make a package in one command (never mind the email address).

But doing so gives me the worst of both worlds, no auto-update of the software, some loss of CPAN dependency information. I can see the advantage if I had a lot of servers to maintain (I have about 6 with this particular configuration, although some of them aren't anything to do with my employer).

Obvious solution is to become a maintainer of the packages I need, but work with others to avoid duplication of effort.

I can see CPAN will never quite make it smoothly into Debian because differences in release policy, but it looks like the basics have been fully automated, and it just needs someone to provide a server, some webspace, and some CPU time to package stuff? I figure any idle PC on a broadband connection could do the packaging easily enough, with minimal tender loving care.

Is this a fair reflection of how things stand?

The Demon CPAN mirror is still messed up AFAICT.



Re: Perl Packages - the return
Posted by Anonymous (203.122.xx.xx) on Fri 28 Oct 2005 at 03:30
Thanks for the link to

There is a need for some of the more obscure perl packages on stable.

Like for all packages, mixing unstable packages with stable packages using pinning is only going to be likely to keep your system stable if important stable packages (eg libc6) in stable are not upgraded to unstable.

I don't know how much that happens with Anyone?


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Re: Perl Packages - the return
Posted by simonw (84.45.xx.xx) on Sat 29 Oct 2005 at 04:23
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There was a sudden flurry of activity of the Debian perl list.

Jos replied amazingly quickly (I thought he'd be recovering from the O'Reilly conference, or have more important things to do than talk to newbies like me).

Apparently the CPAN link hadn't been announced, but Google found it somehow, so I was letting the cat out of the bag early.

The summary is that basically, yes, a whole new set of tools for packaging CPAN is online, and Jos wants some Debian enthusiasts to step up and test, and help out.

Obviously it is too late for Sarge, although I can see a need for a "CPAN backports" at my company, and we can't be alone, perhaps we'll see even more of CPAN available in future Debian releases. Catalyst is already packaged and working in future versions of Debian. What no Maypole?

So it seems we now have two sets of tools for making debs from CPAN.

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Re: Perl Packages - the return
Posted by jeremiah (195.198.xx.xx) on Sun 23 Mar 2008 at 13:49
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You can always send an RFP bug to the debian perl packagers if you want a particular perl module from CPAN to be in debian. An RFP bug is "Request For Package" and it comes into the debian-perl group's attention. Often these get acted on fairly quickly so it is a good way to get what you need from CPAN into debian.

Jos' tool, cpanplus, is now going to be in perl 5.10 as a part of the standard perl distribution which means that you can use that to create a debian package (deb) directly from CPAN. While this method takes care of CPAN dependencies, it is not so great at taking care of debian dependencies, and it does not get any attention from the debian-perl group. This might not be a bad thing necessarily if you are just after some obscure perl module, but if it is something you rely on you can get bug fixing, regular updates, and other care from the debian-perl group when you submit an RFP. Plus operating system dependencies are baked into debian-perl packages, eliminating the chance of a difficult to track down dependency.

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