Win32 Perl Awsomeness

This week's post was supposed to be about something entirely different, but I had a huge 'WOW!' moment today that I just need to share. So I had to write a quick web scraping script but I happened to be working on a new Win32 machine that did not have Perl installed yet. I installed the latest Strawberry Perl and since I did not have a text editor configured on that machine either decided I will get Padre as well. I typed cpan Padre and I watched all of Padre's dependencies install flawlessly without a hitch. For the first time ever. In my lifetime. (Padre itself did fail a bunch of tests, so in the end I had to force install it anyway, but Padre has never been advertised as stable software anyway).

So just for the sake of it, I went on and typed cpan Catalyst::Devel, to see what's going to happen with a distribution that has traditionally been a huge pain to install on Windows. Catalyst::Runtime failed with two tests (out of a bazillion). Everything else installed like magic.

For many of you Unix people it may not be entirely obvious why this is such a huge deal to me. Until a year ago I was an ActiveState user that had for ages been used to enjoying only the portion of CPAN that made its way to the public PPM repositories. Then, about an year ago, I had to make a fresh installation of Perl on a new PC and I decided to give Strawberry a go. And lo and behold, I was initiated into a world where I could install anything I fancied, where I could always update to the latest bugfix release of the module I was using, and where I could play with all the cool brand new stuff people blogged about.

Except too much stuff would just fail to install. I had to track down bugs all the time. I had to force install virtually everything - and sometimes even that would not help.

Until today. This is the first time I have had to do a fresh install of Perl in a year, and the comparison in the experience made me realize what staggering progress has been made since. I literally could not believe the install results I saw. They are not perfect yet, and honestly I do not think they will ever be, but they are certainly damn near perfect!

So although Thanksgiving Day was more than a week ago, I would like to thank Adam and Curtis, and everybody else in the Strawberry Perl team, and the hundreds of people who wire tests and fix bugs and report bugs and make Perl happen, for the tremendous efforts you are investing and the tremendous results you are producing. Your efforts are not unnoticed.

Posted in Perl 5
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