Some of the best things in life are free. So is Perl. Although bundled Perl distributions are frequently available on CD-ROM, perhaps installed as a core part of your operating system, most people download Perl from an online archive. CPAN, the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network, is the main distribution point for all things Perl.Whether you are looking for Perl itself, for a module, or for documentation about Perl, CPAN (http://www.cpan.org/) is the place to go. The ongoing development and enhancement of Perl is very much a cooperative effort, and CPAN is the place where the work of many individuals comes together.
CPAN represents the development interests of a cross-section of the Perl community. It contains Perl utilities, modules, documentation, and (of course) the Perl distribution itself. CPAN was created by Jarkko Hietaniemi and Andreas König.
The home for CPAN is http://www.cpan.org/, but CPAN is also mirrored on many other sites around the globe. This ensures that anyone with an Internet connection can have reliable access to CPAN's contents at any time. Since the structure of all CPAN sites is the same, a user searching for the current version of Perl can be sure that the stable.tar.gz file is the same on every site.
The location of the top directory of the CPAN mirror differs on these machines, so look around once you get there. It's often something like /pub/perl/CPAN.
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