CPAN(1) Perl Programmers Reference Guide CPAN(1)
cpan - easily interact with CPAN from the command line
# with arguments and no switches, installs specified modules
cpan module_name [ module_name ... ]
# with switches, installs modules with extra behavior
cpan [-cfFimtTw] module_name [ module_name ... ]
# use local::lib
cpan -I module_name [ module_name ... ]
# one time mirror override for faster mirrors
cpan -p ...
# with just the dot, install from the distribution in the
# current directory
# without arguments, starts CPAN.pm shell
# without arguments, but some switches
This script provides a command interface (not a shell) to CPAN. At the
moment it uses CPAN.pm to do the work, but it is not a one-shot command
runner for CPAN.pm.
-a Creates a CPAN.pm autobundle with CPAN::Shell->autobundle.
-A module [ module ... ]
Shows the primary maintainers for the specified modules.
Runs a `make clean` in the specified module's directories.
-C module [ module ... ]
Show the Changes files for the specified modules
-D module [ module ... ]
Show the module details. This prints one line for each out-of-date
module (meaning, modules locally installed but have newer versions
on CPAN). Each line has three columns: module name, local version,
and CPAN version.
-f Force the specified action, when it normally would have failed. Use
this to install a module even if its tests fail. When you use this
option, -i is not optional for installing a module when you need to
% cpan -f -i Module::Foo
-F Turn off CPAN.pm's attempts to lock anything. You should be careful
with this since you might end up with multiple scripts trying to
muck in the same directory. This isn't so much of a concern if
you're loading a special config with "-j", and that config sets up
its own work directories.
-g module [ module ... ]
Downloads to the current directory the latest distribution of the
-G module [ module ... ]
Download to the current directory the latest distribution of the
modules, unpack each distribution, and create a git repository for
If you want this feature, check out Yanick Champoux's
-h Print a help message and exit. When you specify "-h", it ignores
all of the other options and arguments.
-i module [ module ... ]
Install the specified modules. With no other switches, this switch
-I Load "local::lib" (think like "-I" for loading lib paths). Too bad
"-l" was already taken.
Load the file that has the CPAN configuration data. This should
have the same format as the standard CPAN/Config.pm file, which
defines $CPAN::Config as an anonymous hash.
-J Dump the configuration in the same format that CPAN.pm uses. This
is useful for checking the configuration as well as using the dump
as a starting point for a new, custom configuration.
-l List all installed modules with their versions
-L author [ author ... ]
List the modules by the specified authors.
-m Make the specified modules.
A comma-separated list of mirrors to use for just this run. The
"-P" option can find them for you automatically.
-n Do a dry run, but don't actually install anything. (unimplemented)
-O Show the out-of-date modules.
-p Ping the configured mirrors and print a report
-P Find the best mirrors you could be using and use them for the
-r Recompiles dynamically loaded modules with CPAN::Shell->recompile.
-s Drop in the CPAN.pm shell. This command does this automatically if
you don't specify any arguments.
-t module [ module ... ]
Run a `make test` on the specified modules.
-T Do not test modules. Simply install them.
-u Upgrade all installed modules. Blindly doing this can really break
things, so keep a backup.
-v Print the script version and CPAN.pm version then exit.
-V Print detailed information about the cpan client.
Turn on cpan warnings. This checks various things, like directory
permissions, and tells you about problems you might have.
-x module [ module ... ]
Find close matches to the named modules that you think you might
have mistyped. This requires the optional installation of
Text::Levenshtein or Text::Levenshtein::Damerau.
-X Dump all the namespaces to standard output.
# print a help message
# print the version numbers
# create an autobundle
# recompile modules
# upgrade all installed modules
# install modules ( sole -i is optional )
cpan -i Netscape::Booksmarks Business::ISBN
# force install modules ( must use -i )
cpan -fi CGI::Minimal URI
# install modules but without testing them
cpan -Ti CGI::Minimal URI
There are several components in CPAN.pm that use environment variables.
The build tools, ExtUtils::MakeMaker and Module::Build use some, while
others matter to the levels above them. Some of these are specified by
the Perl Toolchain Gang:
Assume no one is paying attention and skips prompts for
distributions that do that correctly. cpan(1) sets this to 1 unless
it already has a value (even if that value is false).
Use the default answer for a prompted questions. cpan(1) sets this
to 1 unless it already has a value (even if that value is false).
As with "PERL5OPTS", a string of additional cpan(1) options to add
to those you specify on the command line.
The log level to use, with either the embedded, minimal logger or
Log::Log4perl if it is installed. Possible values are the same as
the "Log::Log4perl" levels: "TRACE", "DEBUG", "INFO", "WARN",
"ERROR", and "FATAL". The default is "INFO".
The path to the "git" binary to use for the Git features. The
default is "/usr/local/bin/git".
The script exits with zero if it thinks that everything worked, or a
positive number if it thinks that something failed. Note, however, that
in some cases it has to divine a failure by the output of things it
does not control. For now, the exit codes are vague:
1 An unknown error
2 The was an external problem
4 There was an internal problem with the script
8 A module failed to install
* one shot configuration values from the command line
* none noted
Most behaviour, including environment variables and configuration,
comes directly from CPAN.pm.
This code is in Github in the CPAN.pm repository:
The source used to be tracked separately in another GitHub repo, but
the canonical source is now in the above repo.
Japheth Cleaver added the bits to allow a forced install (-f).
Jim Brandt suggest and provided the initial implementation for the up-
to-date and Changes features.
Adam Kennedy pointed out that exit() causes problems on Windows where
this script ends up with a .bat extension
brian d foy, "<firstname.lastname@example.org>"
Copyright (c) 2001-2015, brian d foy, All Rights Reserved.
You may redistribute this under the same terms as Perl itself.
perl v5.26.2 2018-06-09 CPAN(1)