[tex-live] biber in TeX Live

Joachim Schrod jschrod at acm.org
Thu Apr 22 13:48:09 CEST 2010

Victor Ivrii wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 5:55 AM, Joachim Schrod <jschrod at acm.org> wrote:
>> Did you use the cpan command for installation, or did you download
>> the modules by hand? The latter is a nightmare, the former should
>> work. Downloading CPAN modules is like installing rpm/deb packages
>> by hand without using apt/yum/zypper -- a nighmare of dependencies.
> Usual mantra: download - perl Makefile.PL - make -make check - sudo make install
> What is "cpan command"?

cpan is to the "usual mantra" what tlmgr is to installing macros
from CTAN manually. Or what apt/yum/zypper are to
download/configure/make/make install. Relief from a big hassle.

It is a command that searches CPAN, shows information about CPAN
modules, and installs CPAN modules while taking all its
dependencies in account. (Of course, the dependency must be
declared in the CPAN module description; but almost all modules
that I have encountered are OK in that.) It may also used for
housekeeping of an entire local Perl installation, but that goes
beyond our use case.

That command is also the reason for the existence of CPAN modules
Bundle::*. These are empty packages with just dependencies to other
modules that install a whole set of modules that are
prefered/recommended for a given task. E.g., installing
Bundle::Apache2 would install the whole mod_perl framework for
Apache2, including all recommended modules.

The cpan command may be problematic to use if your Perl
installation is provided by a package manager, as it is on most
Linux distributions. Then it may overwrite files in the
distribution's perl package without updating the package manager
information, which is usually a Bad Thing(tm). But then, some
people just don't care and wait what happens. (They may get burned
by the next system update that throws away their changes.)

Therefore I normally use a special configuration for this command
that installs these modules in a separate directory tree; just like
a TL user would have a local texmf tree. One can use such a
directory tree via env var PERL5LIB, and one can distribute it to
other parties. (Don't forget to distribute the sources as well,
then; cpan command leaves them in a download cache directory.)

I hope this gives more information how one normally handles
installation of Perl modules from CPAN. Manual installation is not
feasible for regular usage or more complex modules.


Joachim Schrod				Email: jschrod at acm.org
Roedermark, Germany

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