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From Nick Tonkin <>
Subject mod_perl's ease of installation and the list (was: Re: Problems installing libapreq)
Date Fri, 17 Aug 2001 04:20:35 GMT

On Thu, 16 Aug 2001 10:38:56 -0700 Ged Haywood wrote:

> On Wed, 15 Aug 2001, Nick Tonkin wrote:
> > > Somehow they are not getting setup right.
> > 
> > Yeah, no kidding, Joe.
> He's only trying to help.  :)

Yes, you're right. Please accept my apology to you, Joe, for my

However, this does bring up an issue I'd like to throw out there. I've
been using mod_perl for more than three years. I'm a pretty experienced
and fairly proficient developer in Perl. I have administered at least a
dozen boxes running FreeBSD or Linux or Solaris, in the sense that I've
kept them going and have installed a typical Perl-apache-mod_perl-RDBMS
etc. setup on them. I'm _not_ a sysadmin, but I've always managed to run
everything I needed to on my boxes, because for the most part, everything
in the Open Source world works so damn well.

However, I've installed mod_perl a lot of times, and I have to say that
the majority of the times there has been some glitch during the
installation that has stumped me and I've had to resort to the list for
help. I've also seen over the years that a good portion of the traffic on
this list has been requests for help with the install.

Now many of you who are most proficient in the use of mod_perl and
programming in general are also the ones who wind up knowing the answers
to the install-related questions. For whatever reason you have acquired
sysadmin skills as well as software development skills. Many others of us,
though, don't have much experience at all in system admin, nor do we know
much about system libraries and dependencies and whatnot. In my case at
least, I don't care to become expert at that stuff; I've never programmed
C and I don't intend to learn Java. I'm just a self-taught Perl hacker and
happy with it.

So what I mean to say is, firstly, that I think that it's unfortunate that
the level of complexity of getting mod_perl going is so high, and 
maybe some more work could be directed in the ease-of-use area. I realize,
of course that it takes at least two to tango, and to be fair there are
many other components of a comprehensive web application  platform that
also have work together with each other and mod_perl. I'm sure in my
current case it's something to do with how FreeBSD installed Perl, or some
such. But that's my whole point. I don't think it should be a prerequisite
that you be able to debug your whole system configuration in order to get
mod_perl working. It just creates a barrier, one which I've always been
determined to overcome, but which I am sure has turned many other   
would-be mod_perlers away.

Secondly, and relatedly, for those of you who are generous enough to try
to help when there's some glitch, please remember that there are some of
us who almost never meddle with this stuff. I've noticed that often the
answers tend to assume a great deal of knowledge of the guts of make and
compiling and whatnot.

Of course, mod_perl rules, Doug rules too, and every time I've needed help
it has eventually come, as I'm sure it will this time.

End of speech :)


( In the absence of any better ideas at this time, I'm gonna nuke
  /usr/local/lib/perl5 completely and see what happens if I start over
  again. )

Nick Tonkin

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