Perl portability

Jonathan Marsden Jonathan "at" XC.Org
Thu, 10 Dec 1998 19:54:21 +0000


On 10 Dec 1998, raoul "at" world.std.com writes:

>> We would like to get rid of the Perl, but it isn't a shell script
>> because it needs to check connections to sockets and do some simple
>> stuff to create cookies.  It isn't C, because we want it to be easy
>> for people to customise.  But yes, some combination of the two is
>> certainly possible.  As we're discovering, Perl isn't a good
>> solution where portability is concerned!

> Well, you've just made quite good points. And trying to make shell
> scripts portable can be a *nightmare*, where Perl at least has the
> pretense of being similar from platform to platform. It's just hard
> to tell which *release* of Perl is in use, which is easier to double
> check under Linux (rpm is your friend).

Hmmm?  rpm???  What for?  perl -e 'print $]' is 'hard' for you??  

This works on a lot more systems than RPM-based Linux (and BTW not all
Linux distributions use RPM anyway, check out Debian or Slackware for
example).

As I see it, if the vncserver script had just checked whether one had
Perl5 or Perl4 and done the eval require for perl4 and the use Socket
for Perl5, the script would have been very portable.  So (unless I am
misunderstanding some inherently deep trickiness in the script??) the
script should probably read something closer to:

    ($] >= 5.0) ? eval 'use Socket' : eval 'require "sys/socket.ph"';

where it currently has just the eval require statement.  Those who
keep suggesting RH 5.2 users replace that eval with the plain 'use
Socket' are effectively making the code *less* portable, which seems a
bad idea to me.

IMO, well-written Perl *is* a good solution when portability is a
requirement.

Jonathan
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