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debian: how to install/maintain perl packages?

Michael Friendly
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I'm confused about how to install perl packages on a debian system, to
allow easy maintenance and upgrades.

Many perl packages exist as debian distros, and so can be installed
(as root) into the standard system perl library tree, and easily
upgraded using apt-get or aptitude. (However, from aptitude, it is
difficult to see which perl modules they contain.)

Using the cpan script or shell, it is not clear whether I should install
packages as root or as a normal user, and, if as user, where these
should go. Same question, if I download packages directly from CPAN.
Can someone provide suggestions?

My perl @INC list (below) shows several libraries under /usr/local/,
some of which are owned by root and some by me.

% perl -V
Summary of my perl5 (revision 5.0 version 8 subversion 3) configuration:
osname=linux, osvers=2.4.22-xfs+ti1211,
uname='linux kosh 2.4.22-xfs+ti1211 #1 sat oct 25 10:11:37 est 2003
i686 gnulinux '
config_args='-Dusethreads -Duselargefiles -Dccflags=-DDEBIAN
-Dcccdlflags=-fPIC -Darchname=i386-linux -Dprefix=/usr
-Dprivlib=/usr/share/perl/5.8 -Darchlib=/usr/lib/perl/5.8
-Dvendorprefix=/usr -Dvendorlib=/usr/share/perl5
-Dvendorarch=/usr/lib/perl5 -Dsiteprefix=/usr/local
-Dsitearch=/usr/local/lib/perl/5.8.3 -Dman1dir=/usr/share/man/man1
-Dman3dir=/usr/share/man/man3 -Dsiteman1dir=/usr/local/man/man1
-Dsiteman3dir=/usr/local/man/man3 -Dman1ext=1 -Dman3ext=3perl
-Dpager=/usr/bin/sensible-pager -Uafs -Ud_csh -Uusesfio -Uusenm
-Duseshrplib -Dd_dosuid -des'
hint=recommended, useposix=true, d_sigaction=define
usethreads=define use5005threads=undef useithreads=define
useperlio=define d_sfio=undef uselargefiles=define usesocks=undef
use64bitint=undef use64bitall=undef uselongdouble=undef
usemymalloc=n, bincompat5005=undef
Characteristics of this binary (from libperl):
Built under linux
Compiled at Jan 29 2004 15:23:28
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