1.4. What You Need
To get the most of this book, you will need some technical background
and some resources at hand. Let's start with the background
You'll need to know some Perl
There isn't enough room in this book to provide the basics of
the Perl language, so you need to seek that elsewhere before working
through this material. Once you have learned the material in a book
like Learning Perl, by Randal L. Schwartz and
Tom Christiansen (O'Reilly), or Learning Perl on
Win32 Systems, by Randal L. Schwartz, Erik Olson, and Tom
Christiansen (O'Reilly), you should be in good shape to
approach the code in this book.
You'll need to know the basics of your operating system(s)
This book assumes that you have some facility with the operating
system or systems you plan to administer. You'll need to know
how to get around in that OS, run commands, find documentation, etc.
Background information on the more complex frameworks built into the
OS (e.g., WMI on Windows 2000 or SNMP) is provided.
You may need to know the specifics of your operating system(s)
I make an attempt to describe the differences between the major
operating systems as we encounter them, but I can't cover all
of the intra-OS differences. In particular, every variant of Unix is
a little different from all of the others. As a result, you may need
to find OS-specific information and roll with the punches should the
information be different than what is described here.
For technical resources, you will need just two things:
You will need a copy of Perl installed on or available to every
system you wish to administer. The downloads section of http://www.perl.com will help you find
either the source code or binary distributions for your particular
operating system. The examples in this book use Perl Version 5.005
(the latest stable version as of this writing). On Unix we use the
core Perl distribution compiled from source, on Win32 platforms we
use the version provided by ActiveState (build 522) and on MacOS we
use the MacPerl distribution (5.2.0r4).
The ability to find and install Perl modules
The next section of this chapter is devoted to the location and
installation of Perl modules because this skill is extremely
important. This book assumes you have the knowledge and necessary
permission to install any modules you need.
At the end of each chapter is a list of the version numbers for all
of the modules used by the code in that chapter. The version
information is provided because modules are updated all the time. Not
all updates retain backwards compatibility, so if you run into
problems, this information can help you determine if there has been a
module change since this book was published.
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