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Perl in a Nutshell

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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:

CPAN.html       CPAN info page; lists what's available
                in CPAN and describes each of the modules
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.DAY      Recent additions to the CPAN site (daily)
RECENT.html     An HTML-formatted list of recent additions
RECENT.WEEK     Recent additions to the CPAN site (weekly)
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.lang.perl.announce
doc             Various Perl documentation, FAQs, etc.
indices         All that is indexed.
latest.tar.gz   The latest Perl distribution sources
misc            Misc Perl stuff like Larry Wall quotes and gifs
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

To get the current Perl distribution, click on latest.tar.gz. 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 you can access the modules directly by author, by CPAN category, or by module. (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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