RT 4.4.0 Documentation
- Perl for RT
- Default System Perls
- Stand-alone Perl
- CPAN Modules
Perl for RT
RT runs on Perl and there are many different approaches to installing and maintaining your Perl installation. This document reviews some of the options and pros and cons of different approaches.
Perl has been around for a long time, so many different versions are installed on systems everywhere. We try to maintain a reasonable timeframe for backward compatibility, but beyond a certain age, running old versions of Perl is no longer safe or even possible with modern applications. We currently require at least version 5.10.1 which is old enough to be default on OSes from many years ago, but sufficiently new to support RT and the modules RT depends on.
Default System Perls
All Linux and Unix-type variants come with a version of Perl installed and many provide Perl and many CPAN modules as packages for easier maintenance and management. You can run RT on the vendor Perl on your system as long as it meets the minimum version requirement.
When you run
make testdeps as part of your RT installation, you'll likely find that the RT will require you to upgrade some of the dependent modules to newer versions than those provided in the vendor packages. If you have any IT policy requirements to only use vendor packaged versions of software, this might be an issue. If so, you can consider installing an RT-only version of Perl. See "Stand-alone Perl".
Occasionally vendors introduce their own changes to their packaged version of Perl or modules and these might create issues when running RT. Also, the system Perl is also often used by other utilities on the system and modifying the default Perl too heavily can introduce issues for these other applications which might rely on an older version of a module, for example. Consider these factors before modifying your system Perl.
Many packaging systems restore the system to the official packaged version of software when updates are applied. Since a Perl update is likely to have many or all packaged Perl modules as dependencies, this means an update to the vendor Perl will restore all of the modules you upgraded to their previous version. Therefore, if you decide to use the vendor Perl on your system, you need to note somewhere that you'll need to upgrade RT's dependencies any time the system Perl packages are updated. The rt-test-dependencies tool provided in RT's sbin directory can help with this.
To avoid having modules unexpectedly downgraded as described above, we typically recommend installing a separate Perl to run RT. In doing so you take on the extra responsibility to patch that Perl if necessary, but you can plan this work as necessary rather than being surprised if RT has issues after a security package update is applied.
Having a Perl version installed specifically for RT gives you the flexibility to upgrade or install a new module if needed to add a new extension or address a bug. You can then test just RT and not worry about possible side-effects on your system.
You can install this Perl in an alternate location like
/opt/perl, or to make it clear it's for RT, even
/opt/rt4/perl. To make future upgrades easier, install in a version-specific directory like
/opt/perl-5.14.2, then symlink
/opt/perl to that directory. This makes it easy to switch to a newer version of Perl later by installing and just moving the symlink.
If you install a stand-alone Perl, update your shell to put the path of the new
perl executable before the system Perl. You may want to set this in your shell profile for the user account you use to manage RT so you don't accidentally run commands or install modules in the wrong Perl installation.
The following sections describe several approaches to installing a stand-alone Perl.
Install from Source
You can download Perl directly from http://www.perl.org and follow the installation instructions. Typically this involves running
make && make test && sudo make install. For most installations, this
Configure command should be sufficient:
./Configure -d -Dprefix=/opt/perl
You can set the prefix to wherever you want Perl installed. Read the documentation provided with the distribution for more options.
Perlbrew is a tool that makes it easy to manage multiple Perl installations. Once installed, the
perlbrew command provides options to build various versions of Perl, switch between version, update installed versions, and more.
perlbrew installs all of its Perls in your
$HOME directory. If you want to install in an alternate location, you can set the
PERLBREW_ROOT environment variable:
export PERLBREW_ROOT=/opt/perl5 curl -kL http://install.perlbrew.pl | bash
perlbrew has a
switch command to use different installed Perl versions, you don't need to manually manage symlinks as described above.
If you plan to run RT with mod_perl on a 64-bit system, you may need to run Configure with these options:
./Configure -d -Dprefix=/opt/perl -A ccflags=-fPIC
Then make sure you use your stand-alone perl when building and installing mod_perl. You find more details on these flags in the mod_perl installation documentation.
RT requires modules from the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network to run. Below are a few of the tools available to help download and install these modules from CPAN. These tools can work with RT's rt-test-dependencies tool and the
make testdeps and
make fixdeps part of the installation process to get these modules installed.
The traditional tool for managing Perl modules is the CPAN shell, accessed with the
cpan command installed as part of Perl. To set up
cpan on an initial install, run the
cpan command and follow the prompts to set the initial configuration. You can set each option or allow it to automatically set some sensible defaults.
The main options you'll need to set are the list of download servers and options for
make install. For download servers, you'll typically want to select some mirrors geographically close to you. If you typically run installs using
'sudo make' and
'sudo ./Build'. Then install the CPAN bundle:
This installs some additional modules to add features to
Once you finish this initialization, RT's
make fixdeps should be able to handle the rest. Any time you need to install a new module or upgrade a module, you can just type
cpan and manage it from the cpan shell.
cpanm, is a utility built to make it as easy as possible to install modules from CPAN. You can install the App::cpanminus module itself from CPAN, or have it install itself:
curl -L http://cpanmin.us | perl - --sudo App::cpanminus
Once installed, set the
RT_FIX_DEPS_CMD environment variable to have RT use
cpanm to install modules:
make fixdeps and let RT install all of its dependencies.