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Taking backwards steps...

by arashi (Priest)
on Jul 03, 2001 at 00:23 UTC ( #93312=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

arashi has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

The Background:
I work for a university in the Web Development Office. Perl, up until today, wasn't installed on campus servers, so we've been doing development off-site for sometime. We've been limited to what we can develop, mainly because of the slow speed of the host, lack of installed modules, and lack of overall control of the system. So needless to say, we've been asking the university to supply us with a local server that we can control.

The Problem:
Today, they installed Perl 5.003_07 for NetWare for us. For some reason, when they tried to install Perl 5.6, it would crash the server every time Perl was started. So they decided to go back to Perl 5.003_07 which is the only version they can get running stably. From a development standpoint, we are taking a huge step backwards in my opinion. Currently, several people in the office are migrating our Perl 5.6 code backwards to 5.003_07.

The Questions:
Does anyone have any ideas as to why the NetWare server would crash with Perl 5.6? Please note, I'm not a Novell person, I'm just trying to find some information for the network guys.

Does anyone know of any information regarding Perl 5.003_07, and the differences between that and Perl 5.6?

I found this quote: "Note that the currently (March 1999) available NetWare port is based on the ActiveWare port of Perl 5.003_07 (October 1996, a very old and unsupported release of Perl)" which doesn't make the situation sound any better to me.

Thank you in advance for your help.


I'm sure Edison turned himself a lot of colors before he invented the lightbulb. - H.S.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Taking backwards steps...
by Abigail (Deacon) on Jul 03, 2001 at 01:29 UTC
    The bugs database, doesn't have any open bugs mentioning NetWare.

    Note that man perlport points you to the ports directory on CPAN for the NetWare ports. Also from man perlport:

    A free perl5-based PERL.NLM for Novell Netware is available in precompiled binary and source code form from as well as from CPAN.
    The manual page does list 5.003_07 as the release that's ported to NetWare though (but that information could be outdated). The reason such an old version of Perl is the only one available is that noone was interested enough to do the port.

    -- Abigail

Re: Taking backwards steps...
by da (Friar) on Jul 03, 2001 at 02:04 UTC
    Running 5.003 will definitely cause your group problems, especially if you want to use modules from external sources such as . Most modules are only back-supported to 5.005. From 5.003 to 5.005 there were numerous security improvements, improvements to the regular expression engine, improvements to object-oriented coding such as better syntax for subroutine references ($ref->{parameters)), the ability to use 'my' within a control structure (foreach my $i (@stuff)).

    There is a good overview of the differences between 5.003, 5.004, 5.005, and 5.6.0 here. For much more detail, there are perl delta files you can probably access on your 5.6.0 box; have a look at perldoc perldelta, perldoc perl5005delta, and perldoc perl5004delta.

    needless to say, we've been asking the university to supply us with a local server that we can control.

    You can make a very strong case for running a local pentium box with BSD or Linux for a development box.

    1) Development servers should not be running production applications as well. If your "development" box is running other NetWare applications, they will be hosed with any development crashes.

    2) Your group can control what is installed, with no work for the network admins when you need new modules.

    3) If you don't need NetWare in your production environment, running it in your development environment is going to slow you down a lot, because you will have to back-convert many modules to 5.003.

    Good luck.


Re: Taking backwards steps...
by arashi (Priest) on Jul 05, 2001 at 19:15 UTC
    Thanks for the great responses to my question, we've decided to continue developing off-site for the time being, until they fix the "crash-o-matic" Perl server here on campus.

    Mission sent off a question (well, ok, it was more of a rant actually) to novell.devsup.perl about the Novell Perl issue, I posted it below. We received a response about the situation from someone at Novell, here's the response in case anyone else is having similar problems:

    "NetWare sources for Perl is integrated with CPAN. Now with the future CPAN releases, NetWare port will also be available alongwith it. Meaning, when CPAN releases Perl5.7.2, NetWare sources also will be there. Anyone interested may build NetWare NLMs from the sources."

    "Regarding Perl 5.6.1 not working, even we found that problem with a few NetWare 5 servers. But after we upgraded to the latest support packs (SP6 for NW5 and SP2 for 5.1), everything worked fine. But a few others still faced problems even after installing these support packs. So, we are putting up the latest Perl for NetWare binaries into the Leading Edge. This should be through in a week's time."

    "In any case, can you please check up if you have the latest support packs. And if you don't have them, then you may want to install and check again. If you have problems even after the support pack upgrades, then you may download the latest Perl from Leading Edge in a week's time. If it is too late, then I will specifically send the Perl.nlm to you."


    If you care to read Mission's rant, please read-more:

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