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Historical Perl

 
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Historical Perl

You're probably not used to seeing instructions on how to obtain an out-of-date version of Perl. But you just might have to do that under some circumstances that will be explored later in this book. (Note: The older the version of Perl, the less likely the references I am about to give will enjoy substantial longevity.) The timeline for all releases of Perl is in the perlhist documentation page.

You can get all major versions starting with 5.004_05 from ftp://ftp.cpan.org/pub/CPAN/src/5.0/. Earlier versions of Perl 5 (with the exception of 5.004_04, which was widely used) exhibited significant bugs, memory leaks, and security holes and are harder to find. However, you can get what looks like every version of Perl ever released at http://retroperl.cpan.org/. Using a perl before version 5.003 is not an activity to be undertaken lightly. You will not receive bug fixes or any other support beyond a terse admonition to leave the Stone Age and upgrade to a real version. I am revealing this source only for cases in which you must use an old perl to verify operation of a legacy program that does not work on a modern perl. If you must get a perl 4 from there, the last and best version of Perl 4 is version 4.0.36.

Retroperl even includes versions 1.0, 1.010, 2.0, 2.001, 3.01. To call these of historical interest only would be an understatement. If you think you need to get one of these perls for any serious work you may be more in need of an archaeologist or a therapist. As an example of nonserious work, however, in 2002 Michael Schwern and others released an upgrade to Perl 1 (bringing it to version 1.0_15) as a birthday present to Perl and Larry Wall, to show that it could still work on modern machines. See http://dev.perl.org/perl1/.

Historical versions of modules are under http://backpan.cpan.org/modules/, but you'll have to go down the authors branch to find what you want.

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