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2.2. How Is CPAN Organized?

CPAN materials are grouped into categories, including Perl modules, distributions, documentation, announcements, ports, scripts, and contributing authors. Each category is linked to related categories. For example, links to a graphing module written by an author appear in both the module and the author areas.

Since CPAN provides the same offerings worldwide, the directory structure has been standardized; files are located in the same place in the directory hierarchy at all CPAN sites. All CPAN sites use CPAN as the root directory, from which the user can select a specific Perl item. From the CPAN directory, you have the following choices:

Item

Description

CPAN.html

CPAN info page; some general information about CPAN

ENDINGS

Description of the file extensions, such as .tar, .gz, and .zip

MIRRORED BY

A list of sites mirroring CPAN

MIRRORING.FROM

A list of sites mirrored by CPAN

README

A brief description of what you'll find on CPAN

README.html

An HTML-formatted version of the README file

RECENT

Recent additions to the CPAN site

RECENT.html

An HTML-formatted list of recent additions

ROADMAP

What you'll find on CPAN and where

ROADMAP.html

An HTML-formatted version of ROADMAP

SITES

An exhaustive list of CPAN sites

SITES.html

An HTML-formatted version of SITES

authors

A list of CPAN authors

clpa

An archive of comp.land.perl.announce

disclaimer.html

Before you call your lawyer, read these details about CPAN content

doc

Various Perl documentation, FAQs, etc.

index.html

CPAN starting point in you prefer to browse CPAN from the web instead of FTP

indices

Everything that is indexed

misc

Miscellaneous Perl stuff such as Larry Wall quotes and gifts

modules

Modules for Perl Version 5

other-archives

Other things yet uncategorized

ports

Various Perl ports

scripts

Various scripts appearing in Perl books

src

The Perl sources from various versions

While most people who want to use Perl for Win32 should use ActivePerl from www.activestate.com, if you want to roll your own, you can get the current Perl source kit from the src directory and click on stable.tar.gz (or stable.zip, if you're building under Win32). If you want to stand on the cutting edge of Perl development, you should download devel.tar.gz (or devel.zip, if you're building under Win32). For ports to other systems, click on ports. The modules link is the one you want if you're looking for a Perl module. From there, you can get a full list of the modules or access the modules directly by author, by CPAN category, or by module name. (Section 2.4, "Getting and Installing Modules" later in this chapter talks about installing modules.) Click on doc for Perl documentation, FAQs, etc.



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