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1.3 Which Platforms Support Perl?

While Perl was developed on Unix and is closely entwined with Unix culture, it also has a strong following on the Windows and Macintosh platforms. Perl gives Windows 95, Windows NT, Macintosh, and even VMS users the opportunity to take advantage of the scripting power that Unix users take for granted.

Most Unix machines will have Perl already installed, since it's one of the first things a Unix system administrator will build for a new machine (and is in fact distributed with the operating system on some versions of Unix, such as Linux and FreeBSD). For Windows NT, Windows 95, and Macintosh, there are binary distributions of Perl that you can download for free. See Chapter 2 for information on installing Perl.

Although there is some history of other platforms not being treated seriously by the Perl community, Perl is becoming increasingly friendly to non-Unix platforms. The Win32 ports of Perl are quite stable, and as of Perl 5.005, are integrated wholly with core Perl. MacPerl integration is expected with Perl 5.006.