Beyond the individual HTML pages below, this FAQ is also available in as one large document in the following formats:


perlfaq - frequently asked questions about Perl ($Date: 1997/03/11 04:12:30 $)


This document is structured into the following sections:

    perlfaq:  Structural overview of the FAQ.
    perlfaq1: General Questions About Perl
    perlfaq2: Obtaining and Learning about Perl
    perlfaq3: Programming Tools
    perlfaq4: Data Manipulation
    perlfaq5: Files and Formats
    perlfaq6: Regexps
    perlfaq7: General Perl Language Issues
    perlfaq8: System Interaction
    perlfaq9: Networking

Where to get this document

This document is posted regularly to comp.lang.perl.announce and several other related newsgroups. It is available in a variety of formats from CPAN in the /CPAN/doc/FAQs/FAQ/ directory, or on the web at .

How to contribute to this document

You may mail corrections, additions, and suggestions to Mail sent to the old perlfaq alias will merely cause the FAQ to be sent to you.

What will happen if you mail your Perl programming problems to the authors

Your questions will probably go unread, unless they're suggestions of new questions to add to the FAQ, in which case they should have gone to the instead.

You should have read section 2 of this faq. There you would have learned that comp.lang.perl.misc is the appropriate place to go for free advice. If your question is really important and you require a prompt and correct answer, you should hire a consultant.


When I first began the Perl FAQ in the late 80s, I never realized it would have grown to over a hundred pages, nor that Perl would ever become so popular and widespread. This document could not have been written without the tremendous help provided by Larry Wall and the rest of the Perl Porters.

Author and Copyright Information

Copyright (c) 1997 Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington. All rights reserved.

Non-commercial Reproduction

Permission is granted to distribute this document, in part or in full, via electronic means or printed copy providing that (1) that all credits and copyright notices be retained, (2) that no charges beyond reproduction be involved, and (3) that a reasonable attempt be made to use the most current version available.

Furthermore, you may include this document in any distribution of the full Perl source or binaries, in its verbatim documentation, or on a complete dump of the CPAN archive, providing that the three stipulations given above continue to be met.

Commercial Reproduction

Requests for all other distribution rights, including the incorporation in part or in full of this text or its code into commercial products such as but not limited to books, magazine articles, or CD-ROMs, must be made to Any commercial use of any portion of this document without prior written authorization by its authors will be subject to appropriate action.


This information is offered in good faith and in the hope that it may be of use, but is not guaranteed to be correct, up to date, or suitable for any particular purpose whatsoever. The authors accept no liability in respect of this information or its use.


This is the initial release of version 3 of the FAQ; consequently there have been no changes since its initial release.