Most Linux distribution already come pre-installed with a version of perl, but even if it is not part of the core distribution you can install perl using yum install perl or apt-get install perl depending on your package management system. This will give you a version of perl your vendor has built which can be several years old. In many cases using this perl is a good choices, but sometimes you'd like to upgrade perl and install a newer version.

Your options are:

  • Upgrade the system perl (replacing it by a newer version of Perl) that will make you regret the day you started to use computers. (see below)
  • You can compile Perl from source manually
  • You can use Perlbrew for this.

Upgrading Perl

Actually, we don't usually "upgrade" perl. We install a newer (or different) version of perl and leave the one we already had on the system intact. This is usually much better than replacing that version of perl with one we build. The one that came with the operating system is usually referred to as the system perl and it is there because several parts of the operating system depend on this perl. Usually it is better to just leave it alone and install another copy of. If you do change it, be prepared that some of the most important tools in your OS (e.g. apt-get) will stop functioning properly. It is a fantastic exercise in wasting time.

Build Perl manually from source

There is another article explaining how to compile and install perl manually.

Using Perlbrew

There is a separate article with an example for Perlbrew on Linux that shows an example where we used the perlbrew that was supplied by the OS.

In this article we are going to us Perlbrew that hides some of the steps we had to do in the manual process and makes it easy to manage the installation and the use of several versions of perl.


While we can run perlbrew as any regular Linux/Unix/OSX user, there are a couple of things we will need to install as root. Specifically we need to have make and gcc.

On CentOS these can be installed by running the following as root or using sudo

yum -y install make
yum -y install gcc

On Ubuntu we need these:

apt-get -y install build-essential

Install Perlbrew

I've followed the instructions on the web site of Perlbrew.

It printed the following:

## Download the latest perlbrew

## Installing perlbrew
Using Perl </usr/bin/perl>
perlbrew is installed: ~/perl5/perlbrew/bin/perlbrew

perlbrew root (~/perl5/perlbrew) is initialized.

Append the following piece of code to the end of your ~/.profile and start a
new shell, perlbrew should be up and fully functional from there:

    source ~/perl5/perlbrew/etc/bashrc

Simply run `perlbrew` for usage details.

Happy brewing!

## Installing patchperl

## Done.


Once the installation was ready and I source-ed the configuration with:

source ~/perl5/perlbrew/etc/bashrc

I could run perlbrew

Some of the commands:

perlbrew available - lists all the versions of perl that are available in source code format on CPAN for you to use to brew (build).

perlbrew list - lists all the already brewed perl installations that you can use.

perlbrew install - install a new version of perl.

An example how to compile and install a version of Perl:

perlbrew install -v perl-5.28.2 -Dusethreads --as perl-5.28.2_WITH_THREADS

long processing

Switch to the newly brewed perl

long processing ...

Switch back to system-perl

perlbrew switch-off

That's it.