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staticperl - perl, libc, 100 modules, all in one standalone 500kb file


   staticperl help      # print the embedded documentation
   staticperl fetch     # fetch and unpack perl sources
   staticperl configure # fetch and then configure perl
   staticperl build     # configure and then build perl
   staticperl install   # build and then install perl
   staticperl clean     # clean most intermediate files (restart at configure)
   staticperl distclean # delete everything installed by this script
   staticperl perl ...  # invoke the perlinterpreter
   staticperl cpan      # invoke CPAN shell
   staticperl instsrc path...        # install unpacked modules
   staticperl instcpan modulename... # install modules from CPAN
   staticperl mkbundle <bundle-args...> # see documentation
   staticperl mkperl <bundle-args...>   # see documentation
   staticperl mkapp appname <bundle-args...> # see documentation

Typical Examples:

   staticperl install   # fetch, configure, build and install perl
   staticperl cpan      # run interactive cpan shell
   staticperl mkperl # build a perl that supports -V
   staticperl mkperl -MAnyEvent::Impl::Perl -MAnyEvent::HTTPD -MURI -MURI::http
                        # build a perl with the above modules linked in
   staticperl mkapp myapp --boot mainprog mymodules
                        # build a binary "myapp" from mainprog and mymodules


This script helps you to create single-file perl interpreters or applications, or embedding a perl interpreter in your applications. Single-file means that it is fully self-contained - no separate shared objects, no autoload fragments, no .pm or .pl files are needed. And when linking statically, you can create (or embed) a single file that contains perl interpreter, libc, all the modules you need, all the libraries you need and of course your actual program.

With uClibc and upx on x86, you can create a single 500kb binary that contains perl and 100 modules such as POSIX, AnyEvent, EV, IO::AIO, Coro and so on. Or any other choice of modules (and some other size :).

To see how this turns out, you can try out smallperl and bigperl, two pre-built static and compressed perl binaries with many and even more modules: just follow the links at

The created files do not need write access to the file system (like PAR does). In fact, since this script is in many ways similar to PAR::Packer, here are the differences:

  • The generated executables are much smaller than PAR created ones.

    Shared objects and the perl binary contain a lot of extra info, while the static nature of staticperl allows the linker to remove all functionality and meta-info not required by the final executable. Even extensions statically compiled into perl at build time will only be present in the final executable when needed.

    In addition, staticperl can strip perl sources much more effectively than PAR.

  • The generated executables start much faster.

    There is no need to unpack files, or even to parse Zip archives (which is slow and memory-consuming business).

  • The generated executables don't need a writable filesystem.

    staticperl loads all required files directly from memory. There is no need to unpack files into a temporary directory.

  • More control over included files, more burden.

    PAR tries to be maintenance and hassle-free - it tries to include more files than necessary to make sure everything works out of the box. It mostly succeeds at this, but he extra files (such as the unicode database) can take substantial amounts of memory and file size.

    With staticperl, the burden is mostly with the developer - only direct compile-time dependencies and AutoLoader are handled automatically. This means the modules to include often need to be tweaked manually.

    All this does not preclude more permissive modes to be implemented in the future, but right now, you have to resolve hidden dependencies manually.

  • PAR works out of the box, staticperl does not.

    Maintaining your own custom perl build can be a pain in the ass, and while staticperl tries to make this easy, it still requires a custom perl build and possibly fiddling with some modules. PAR is likely to produce results faster.

    Ok, PAR never has worked for me out of the box, and for some people, staticperl does work out of the box, as they don't count "fiddling with module use lists" against it, but nevertheless, staticperl is certainly a bit more difficult to use.


Simple: staticperl downloads, compile and installs a perl version of your choice in ~/.staticperl. You can add extra modules either by letting staticperl install them for you automatically, or by using CPAN and doing it interactively. This usually takes 5-10 minutes, depending on the speed of your computer and your internet connection.

It is possible to do program development at this stage, too.

Afterwards, you create a list of files and modules you want to include, and then either build a new perl binary (that acts just like a normal perl except everything is compiled in), or you create bundle files (basically C sources you can use to embed all files into your project).

This step is very fast (a few seconds if PPI is not used for stripping, or the stripped files are in the cache), and can be tweaked and repeated as often as necessary.


This module installs a script called staticperl into your perl binary directory. The script is fully self-contained, and can be used without perl (for example, in an uClibc chroot environment). In fact, it can be extracted from the App::Staticperl distribution tarball as bin/staticperl, without any installation. The newest (possibly alpha) version can also be downloaded from

staticperl interprets the first argument as a command to execute, optionally followed by any parameters.

There are two command categories: the "phase 1" commands which deal with installing perl and perl modules, and the "phase 2" commands, which deal with creating binaries and bundle files.


The most important command is install, which does basically everything. The default is to download and install perl 5.12.3 and a few modules required by staticperl itself, but all this can (and should) be changed - see CONFIGURATION, below.

The command

   staticperl install

is normally all you need: It installs the perl interpreter in ~/.staticperl/perl. It downloads, configures, builds and installs the perl interpreter if required.

Most of the following staticperl subcommands simply run one or more steps of this sequence.

If it fails, then most commonly because the compiler options I selected are not supported by your compiler - either edit the staticperl script yourself or create ~/.staticperl shell script where your set working PERL_CCFLAGS etc. variables.

To force recompilation or reinstallation, you need to run staticperl distclean first.

staticperl version

Prints some info about the version of the staticperl script you are using.

staticperl fetch

Runs only the download and unpack phase, unless this has already happened.

staticperl configure

Configures the unpacked perl sources, potentially after downloading them first.

staticperl build

Builds the configured perl sources, potentially after automatically configuring them.

staticperl install

Wipes the perl installation directory (usually ~/.staticperl/perl) and installs the perl distribution, potentially after building it first.

staticperl perl [args...]

Invokes the compiled perl interpreter with the given args. Basically the same as starting perl directly (usually via ~/.staticperl/bin/perl), but beats typing the path sometimes.

Example: check that the Gtk2 module is installed and loadable.

   staticperl perl -MGtk2 -e0
staticperl cpan [args...]

Starts an interactive CPAN shell that you can use to install further modules. Installs the perl first if necessary, but apart from that, no magic is involved: you could just as well run it manually via ~/.staticperl/perl/bin/cpan, except that staticperl additionally sets the environment variable $PERL to the path of the perl interpreter, which is handy in subshells.

Any additional arguments are simply passed to the cpan command.

staticperl instcpan module...

Tries to install all the modules given and their dependencies, using CPAN.


   staticperl instcpan EV AnyEvent::HTTPD Coro
staticperl instsrc directory...

In the unlikely case that you have unpacked perl modules around and want to install from these instead of from CPAN, you can do this using this command by specifying all the directories with modules in them that you want to have built.

staticperl clean

Deletes the perl source directory (and potentially cleans up other intermediate files). This can be used to clean up files only needed for building perl, without removing the installed perl interpreter.

At the moment, it doesn't delete downloaded tarballs.

The exact semantics of this command will probably change.

staticperl distclean

This wipes your complete ~/.staticperl directory. Be careful with this, it nukes your perl download, perl sources, perl distribution and any installed modules. It is useful if you wish to start over "from scratch" or when you want to uninstall staticperl.


Building (linking) a new perl binary is handled by a separate script. To make it easy to use staticperl from a chroot, the script is embedded into staticperl, which will write it out and call for you with any arguments you pass:

   staticperl mkbundle mkbundle-args...

In the oh so unlikely case of something not working here, you can run the script manually as well (by default it is written to ~/.staticperl/mkbundle).

mkbundle is a more conventional command and expect the argument syntax commonly used on UNIX clones. For example, this command builds a new perl binary and includes (for perl -V), AnyEvent::HTTPD, URI and a custom httpd script (from eg/httpd in this distribution):

   # first make sure we have perl and the required modules
   staticperl instcpan AnyEvent::HTTPD

   # now build the perl
   staticperl mkperl -MAnyEvent::Impl::Perl \
                     -MAnyEvent::HTTPD -MURI::http \
                     --add 'eg/httpd'

   # finally, invoke it
   ./perl -Mhttpd

As you can see, things are not quite as trivial: the Config module has a hidden dependency which is not even a perl module (, AnyEvent needs at least one event loop backend that we have to specify manually (here AnyEvent::Impl::Perl), and the URI module (required by AnyEvent::HTTPD) implements various URI schemes as extra modules - since AnyEvent::HTTPD only needs http URIs, we only need to include that module. I found out about these dependencies by carefully watching any error messages about missing modules...

Instead of building a new perl binary, you can also build a standalone application:

   # build the app
   staticperl mkapp app --boot eg/httpd \
                    -MAnyEvent::Impl::Perl -MAnyEvent::HTTPD -MURI::http

   # run it

Here are the three phase 2 commands:

staticperl mkbundle args...

The "default" bundle command - it interprets the given bundle options and writes out bundle.h, bundle.c, bundle.ccopts and bundle.ldopts files, useful for embedding.

staticperl mkperl args...

Creates a bundle just like staticperl mkbundle (in fact, it's the same as invoking staticperl mkbundle --perl args...), but then compiles and links a new perl interpreter that embeds the created bundle, then deletes all intermediate files.

staticperl mkapp filename args...

Does the same as staticperl mkbundle (in fact, it's the same as invoking staticperl mkbundle --app filename args...), but then compiles and links a new standalone application that simply initialises the perl interpreter.

The difference to staticperl mkperl is that the standalone application does not act like a perl interpreter would - in fact, by default it would just do nothing and exit immediately, so you should specify some code to be executed via the --boot option.


All options can be given as arguments on the command line (typically using long (e.g. --verbose) or short option (e.g. -v) style). Since specifying a lot of options can make the command line very long and unwieldy, you can put all long options into a "bundle specification file" (one option per line, with or without -- prefix) and specify this bundle file instead.

For example, the command given earlier to link a new perl could also look like this:

   staticperl mkperl httpd.bundle

With all options stored in the httpd.bundle file (one option per line, everything after the option is an argument):

   use ""
   use AnyEvent::Impl::Perl
   use AnyEvent::HTTPD
   use URI::http
   add eg/httpd

All options that specify modules or files to be added are processed in the order given on the command line.


staticperl mkbundle works by first assembling a list of candidate files and modules to include, then filtering them by include/exclude patterns. The remaining modules (together with their direct dependencies, such as link libraries and AutoLoader files) are then converted into bundle files suitable for embedding. staticperl mkbundle can then optionally build a new perl interpreter or a standalone application.

Step 0: Generic argument processing.

The following options influence staticperl mkbundle itself.

--verbose | -v

Increases the verbosity level by one (the default is 1).

--quiet | -q

Decreases the verbosity level by one.

any other argument

Any other argument is interpreted as a bundle specification file, which supports all options (without extra quoting), one option per line, in the format option or option argument. They will effectively be expanded and processed as if they were directly written on the command line, in place of the file name.

Step 1: gather candidate files and modules

In this step, modules, perl libraries (.pl files) and other files are selected for inclusion in the bundle. The relevant options are executed in order (this makes a difference mostly for --eval, which can rely on earlier --use options to have been executed).

--use module | -Mmodule

Include the named module or perl library and trace direct dependencies. This is done by loading the module in a subprocess and tracing which other modules and files it actually loads.

Example: include AnyEvent and AnyEvent::Impl::Perl.

   staticperl mkbundle --use AnyEvent --use AnyEvent::Impl::Perl

Sometimes you want to load old-style "perl libraries" (.pl files), or maybe other weirdly named files. To support this, the --use option actually tries to do what you mean, depending on the string you specify:

a possibly valid module name, e.g. common::sense, Carp, Coro::Mysql.

If the string contains no quotes, no / and no ., then --use assumes that it is a normal module name. It will create a new package and evaluate a use module in it, i.e. it will load the package and do a default import.

The import step is done because many modules trigger more dependencies when something is imported than without.

anything that contains / or . characters, e.g., Module/private/

The string will be quoted and passed to require, as if you used require $module. Nothing will be imported.

"path" or 'path', e.g. "".

If you enclose the name into single or double quotes, then the quotes will be removed and the resulting string will be passed to require. This syntax is form compatibility with older versions of staticperl and should not be used anymore.

Example: use AnyEvent::Socket, once using use (importing the symbols), and once via require, not importing any symbols. The first form is preferred as many modules load some extra dependencies when asked to export symbols.

   staticperl mkbundle -MAnyEvent::Socket     # use + import
   staticperl mkbundle -MAnyEvent/   # require only

Example: include the required files for perl -V to work in all its glory ( is included automatically by the dependency tracker).

   # shell command
   staticperl mkbundle

   # bundle specification file

The -Mmodule syntax is included as a convenience that might be easier to remember than --use - it's the same switch as perl itself uses to load modules. Or maybe it confuses people. Time will tell. Or maybe not. Sigh.

--eval "perl code" | -e "perl code"

Sometimes it is easier (or necessary) to specify dependencies using perl code, or maybe one of the modules you use need a special use statement. In that case, you can use --eval to execute some perl snippet or set some variables or whatever you need. All files require'd or use'd while executing the snippet are included in the final bundle.

Keep in mind that mkbundle will not import any symbols from the modules named by the --use option, so do not expect the symbols from modules you --use'd earlier on the command line to be available.

Example: force AnyEvent to detect a backend and therefore include it in the final bundle.

   staticperl mkbundle --eval 'use AnyEvent; AnyEvent::detect'

   # or like this
   staticperl mkbundle -MAnyEvent --eval 'AnyEvent::detect'

Example: use a separate "bootstrap" script that use's lots of modules and also include this in the final bundle, to be executed automatically when the interpreter is initialised.

   staticperl mkbundle --eval 'do "bootstrap"' --boot bootstrap
--boot filename

Include the given file in the bundle and arrange for it to be executed (using require) before the main program when the new perl is initialised. This can be used to modify @INC or do similar modifications before the perl interpreter executes scripts given on the command line (or via -e). This works even in an embedded interpreter - the file will be executed during interpreter initialisation in that case.

--incglob pattern

This goes through all standard library directories and tries to match any .pm and .pl files against the extended glob pattern (see below). If a file matches, it is added. The pattern is matched against the full path of the file (sans the library directory prefix), e.g. Sys/

This is very useful to include "everything":

   --incglob '*'

It is also useful for including perl libraries, or trees of those, such as the unicode database files needed by some perl built-ins, the regex engine and other modules.

   --incglob '/unicore/**.pl'
--add file | --add "file alias"

Adds the given (perl) file into the bundle (and optionally call it "alias"). The file is either an absolute path or a path relative to the current directory. If an alias is specified, then this is the name it will use for @INC searches, otherwise the path file will be used as the internal name.

This switch is used to include extra files into the bundle.

Example: embed the file httpd in the current directory as when creating the bundle.

   staticperl mkperl --add "httpd"

   # can be accessed via "use httpd"

Example: add a file initcode from the current directory.

   staticperl mkperl --add 'initcode &initcode'

   # can be accessed via "do '&initcode'"

Example: add local files as extra modules in the bundle.

   # specification file
   add file1 myfiles/
   add file2 myfiles/
   add file3 myfiles/

   # then later, in perl, use
   use myfiles::file1;
   require myfiles::file2;
   my $res = do "myfiles/";
--addbin file | --addbin "file alias"

Just like --add, except that it treats the file as binary and adds it without any postprocessing (perl files might get stripped to reduce their size).

If you specify an alias you should probably add a / prefix to avoid clashing with embedded perl files (whose paths never start with /), and/or use a special directory prefix, such as /res/name.

You can later get a copy of these files by calling static::find "alias".

An alternative way to embed binary files is to convert them to perl and use do to get the contents - this method is a bit cumbersome, but works both inside and outside of a staticperl bundle, without extra ado:

   # a "binary" file, call it ""
   binary data NOT containing SOME_MARKER

   # load the binary
   chomp (my $data = do "");

By default, when mkbundle hits a dynamic perl extension (e.g. a .so or .dll file), it will stop with a fatal error.

When this option is enabled, mkbundle packages the shared object into the bundle instead, with a prefix of ! (e.g. !auto/List/Util/ What you do with that is currently up to you, staticperl has no special support for this at the moment, apart from working around the lack of availability of PerlIO::scalar while bootstrapping, at a speed cost.

One way to deal with this is to write all files starting with ! into some directory and then unshift that path onto @INC.

#TODO: example

Step 2: filter all files using --include and --exclude options.

After all candidate files and modules are added, they are filtered by a combination of --include and --exclude patterns (there is an implicit --include * at the end, so if no filters are specified, all files are included).

All that this step does is potentially reduce the number of files that are to be included - no new files are added during this step.

--include pattern | -i pattern | --exclude pattern | -x pattern

These specify an include or exclude pattern to be applied to the candidate file list. An include makes sure that the given files will be part of the resulting file set, an exclude will exclude remaining files. The patterns are "extended glob patterns" (see below).

The patterns are applied "in order" - files included via earlier --include specifications cannot be removed by any following --exclude, and likewise, and file excluded by an earlier --exclude cannot be added by any following --include.

For example, to include everything except Devel modules, but still include Devel::PPPort, you could use this:

   --incglob '*' -i '/Devel/' -x '/Devel/**'
Step 3: add any extra or "hidden" dependencies.

staticperl currently knows about three extra types of depdendencies that are added automatically. Only one (.packlist files) is currently optional and can be influenced, the others are always included:


Read .packlist files for each distribution that happens to match a module name you specified. Sounds weird, and it is, so expect semantics to change somehow in the future.

The idea is that most CPAN distributions have a .pm file that matches the name of the distribution (which is rather reasonable after all).

If this switch is enabled, then if any of the .pm files that have been selected match an install distribution, then all .pm, .pl, .al and .ix files installed by this distribution are also included.

For example, using this switch, when the URI module is specified, then all URI submodules that have been installed via the CPAN distribution are included as well, so you don't have to manually specify them.

AutoLoader splitfiles

Some modules use AutoLoader - less commonly (hopefully) used functions are split into separate .al files, and an index (.ix) file contains the prototypes.

Both .ix and .al files will be detected automatically and added to the bundle.

Modules using XS (or any other non-perl language extension compiled at installation time) will have a static archive (typically .a). These will automatically be added to the linker options in bundle.ldopts.

Should staticperl find a dynamic link library (typically .so) it will warn about it - obviously this shouldn't happen unless you use staticperl on the wrong perl, or one (probably wrongly) configured to use dynamic loading.

extra libraries (extralibs.ld)

Some modules need linking against external libraries - these are found in extralibs.ld and added to bundle.ldopts.

At this point, the select files will be read, processed (stripped) and finally the bundle files get written to disk, and staticperl mkbundle is normally finished. Optionally, it can go a step further and either link a new perl binary with all selected modules and files inside, or build a standalone application.

Both the contents of the bundle files and any extra linking is controlled by these options:

--strip none|pod|ppi

Specify the stripping method applied to reduce the file of the perl sources included.

The default is pod, which uses the Pod::Strip module to remove all pod documentation, which is very fast and reduces file size a lot.

The ppi method uses PPI to parse and condense the perl sources. This saves a lot more than just Pod::Strip, and is generally safer, but is also a lot slower (some files take almost a minute to strip - staticperl maintains a cache of stripped files to speed up subsequent runs for this reason). Note that this method doesn't optimise for raw file size, but for best compression (that means that the uncompressed file size is a bit larger, but the files compress better, e.g. with upx).

Last not least, if you need accurate line numbers in error messages, or in the unlikely case where pod is too slow, or some module gets mistreated, you can specify none to not mangle included perl sources in any way.


After writing out the bundle files, try to link a new perl interpreter. It will be called perl and will be left in the current working directory. The bundle files will be removed.

This switch is automatically used when staticperl is invoked with the mkperl command instead of mkbundle.

Example: build a new ./perl binary with only common::sense inside - it will be even smaller than the standard perl interpreter as none of the modules of the base distribution (such as Fcntl) will be included.

   staticperl mkperl -Mcommon::sense
--app name

After writing out the bundle files, try to link a new standalone program. It will be called name, and the bundle files get removed after linking it.

This switch is automatically used when staticperl is invoked with the mkapp command instead of mkbundle.

The difference to the (mutually exclusive) --perl option is that the binary created by this option will not try to act as a perl interpreter - instead it will simply initialise the perl interpreter, clean it up and exit.

This means that, by default, it will do nothing but burn a few CPU cycles - for it to do something useful you must add some boot code, e.g. with the --boot option.

Example: create a standalone perl binary called ./myexe that will execute appfile when it is started.

   staticperl mkbundle --app myexe --boot appfile

Generates extra code to unset some environment variables before initialising/running perl. Perl supports a lot of environment variables that might alter execution in ways that might be undesirablre for standalone applications, and this option removes those known to cause trouble.

Specifically, these are removed:

PERL_HASH_SEED_DEBUG and PERL_DEBUG_MSTATS can cause undesirable output, PERL5OPT, PERL_DESTRUCT_LEVEL, PERL_HASH_SEED and PERL_SIGNALS can alter execution significantly, and PERL_UNICODE, PERLIO_DEBUG and PERLIO can affect input and output.

The variables PERL_LIB and PERL5_LIB are always ignored because the startup code used by staticperl overrides @INC in all cases.

This option will not make your program more secure (unless you are running with elevated privileges), but it will reduce the surprise effect when a user has these environment variables set and doesn't expect your standalone program to act like a perl interpreter.


Add -static to bundle.ldopts, which means a fully static (if supported by the OS) executable will be created. This is not immensely useful when just creating the bundle files, but is most useful when linking a binary with the --perl or --app options.

The default is to link the new binary dynamically (that means all perl modules are linked statically, but all external libraries are still referenced dynamically).

Keep in mind that Solaris doesn't support static linking at all, and systems based on GNU libc don't really support it in a very usable fashion either. Try uClibc if you want to create fully statically linked executables, or try the --staticlib option to link only some libraries statically.

--staticlib libname

When not linking fully statically, this option allows you to link specific libraries statically. What it does is simply replace all occurrences of -llibname with the GCC-specific -Wl,-Bstatic -llibname -Wl,-Bdynamic option.

This will have no effect unless the library is actually linked against, specifically, --staticlib will not link against the named library unless it would be linked against anyway.

Example: link libcrypt statically into the final binary.

   staticperl mkperl -MIO::AIO --staticlib crypt

   # ldopts might now contain:
   # -lm -Wl,-Bstatic -lcrypt -Wl,-Bdynamic -lpthread
--extra-cflags string

Specifies extra compiler flags, used when compiling the bundle file. The flags are appended to all the existing flags, so can be sued to override settings.

--extra-ldflags string

Specifies extra linker flags, used when linking the bundle.

--extra-libs string

Extra linker flags, appended at the end when linking. The difference to --extra-ldflags is that the ldflags are appended to the flags, before the objects and libraries, and the extra libs are added at the end.


Some options of staticperl mkbundle expect an extended glob pattern. This is neither a normal shell glob nor a regex, but something in between. The idea has been copied from rsync, and there are the current matching rules:

Patterns starting with / will be a anchored at the root of the library tree.

That is, /unicore will match the unicore directory in @INC, but nothing inside, and neither any other file or directory called unicore anywhere else in the hierarchy.

Patterns not starting with / will be anchored at the end of the path.

That is, will match any file called anywhere in the hierarchy, but not any directories of the same name.

A * matches anything within a single path component.

That is, /unicore/*.pl would match all .pl files directly inside /unicore, not any deeper level .pl files. Or in other words, * will not match slashes.

A ** matches anything.

That is, /unicore/**.pl would match all .pl files under /unicore, no matter how deeply nested they are inside subdirectories.

A ? matches a single character within a component.

That is, /Encode/??.pm matches /Encode/, but not the hypothetical /Encode/J/.pm, as ? does not match /.


During (each) startup, staticperl tries to source some shell files to allow you to fine-tune/override configuration settings.

In them you can override shell variables, or define shell functions ("hooks") to be called at specific phases during installation. For example, you could define a postinstall hook to install additional modules from CPAN each time you start from scratch.

If the env variable $STATICPERLRC is set, then staticperl will try to source the file named with it only. Otherwise, it tries the following shell files in order:


Note that the last file is erased during staticperl distclean, so generally should not be used.


Variables you should override


The e-mail address of the person who built this binary. Has no good default, so should be specified by you.


The URL of the CPAN mirror to use (e.g.


Additional modules installed during staticperl install. Here you can set which modules you want have to installed from CPAN.

Example: I really really need EV, AnyEvent, Coro and AnyEvent::AIO.

   EXTRA_MODULES="EV AnyEvent Coro AnyEvent::AIO"

Note that you can also use a postinstall hook to achieve this, and more.

Variables you might want to override


The directory where staticperl stores all its files (default: ~/.staticperl).


The path to a directory (will be created if it doesn't exist) where downloaded perl sources are being cached, to avoid downloading them again. The default is empty, which means there is no cache.


The perl version to install - 5.12.5 is a good choice for small builds, but 5.8.9 is also a good choice (5.8.9 is much smaller than 5.12.5), if it builds on your system.

You can also set this variable to the absolute URL of a tarball (.tar, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, .tar.lzma or .tar.xz), or to the absolute path of an unpacked perl source tree, which will be copied.

The default is currently, i.e. the latest stableperl release.


Usually set to 1 to make modules "less inquisitive" during their installation. You can set (and export!) any environment variable you want - some modules (such as Coro or EV) use environment variables for further tweaking.


The directory where perl gets installed (default: $STATICPERL/perl), i.e. where the bin and lib subdirectories will end up. Previous contents will be removed on installation.


Additional Configure options - these are simply passed to the perl Configure script. For example, if you wanted to enable dynamic loading, you could pass -Dusedl. To enable ithreads (Why would you want that insanity? Don't! Use forks instead!) you would pass -Duseithreads and so on.

More commonly, you would either activate 64 bit integer support (-Duse64bitint), or disable large files support (-Uuselargefiles), to reduce filesize further.


These flags are passed to perl's Configure script, and are generally optimised for small size (at the cost of performance). Since they also contain subtle workarounds around various build issues, changing these usually requires understanding their default values - best look at the top of the staticperl script for more info on these, and use a ~/.staticperlrc to override them.

Most of the variables override (or modify) the corresponding Configure variable, except PERL_CCFLAGS, which gets appended.

The default for PERL_OPTIMIZE is -Os (assuming gcc), and for PERL_LIBS is -lm -lcrypt, which should be good for most (but not all) systems.

For other compilers or more customised optimisation settings, you need to adjust these, e.g. in your ~/.staticperlrc.

With gcc on x86 and amd64, you can get more space-savings by using:

   -Os -ffunction-sections -fdata-sections -finline-limit=8 -mpush-args
   -mno-inline-stringops-dynamically -mno-align-stringops

And on x86 and pentium3 and newer (basically everything you might ever want to run on), adding these is even better for space-savings (use -mtune=core2 or something newer for much faster code, too):

   -fomit-frame-pointer -march=pentium3 -mtune=i386

Variables you probably do not want to override


The make command to use - default is make.


Where staticperl writes the mkbundle command to (default: $STATICPERL/mkbundle).


Additional modules needed by mkbundle - should therefore not be changed unless you know what you are doing.


In addition to environment variables, it is possible to provide some shell functions that are called at specific times. To provide your own commands, just define the corresponding function.

The actual order in which hooks are invoked during a full install from scratch is preconfigure, patchconfig, postconfigure, postbuild, postinstall.

Example: install extra modules from CPAN and from some directories at staticperl install time.

   postinstall() {
      rm -rf lib/threads* # weg mit Schaden
      instcpan IO::AIO EV
      instsrc ~/src/AnyEvent
      instsrc ~/src/XML-Sablotron-1.0100001
      instcpan Anyevent::AIO AnyEvent::HTTPD

Called just before running ./Configure in the perl source directory. Current working directory is the perl source directory.

This can be used to set any PERL_xxx variables, which might be costly to compute.


Called after running ./Configure in the perl source directory to create ./, but before running ./Configure -S to actually apply the config. Current working directory is the perl source directory.

Can be used to tailor/patch or do any other modifications.


Called after configuring, but before building perl. Current working directory is the perl source directory.


Called after building, but before installing perl. Current working directory is the perl source directory.

I have no clue what this could be used for - tell me.


Called after perl and any extra modules have been installed in $PREFIX, but before setting the "installation O.K." flag.

The current working directory is $PREFIX, but maybe you should not rely on that.

This hook is most useful to customise the installation, by deleting files, or installing extra modules using the instcpan or instsrc functions.

The script must return with a zero exit status, or the installation will fail.


When not building a new perl binary, mkbundle will leave a number of files in the current working directory, which can be used to embed a perl interpreter in your program.

Intimate knowledge of perlembed and preferably some experience with embedding perl is highly recommended.

mkperl (or the --perl option) basically does this to link the new interpreter (it also adds a main program to bundle.):

   $Config{cc} $(cat bundle.ccopts) -o perl bundle.c $(cat bundle.ldopts)

A header file that contains the prototypes of the few symbols "exported" by bundle.c, and also exposes the perl headers to the application.

staticperl_init (xs_init = 0)

Initialises the perl interpreter. You can use the normal perl functions after calling this function, for example, to define extra functions or to load a .pm file that contains some initialisation code, or the main program function:

   XS (xsfunction)

     // now we have items, ST(i) etc.

   static void
      staticperl_init (0);
      newXSproto ("myapp::xsfunction", xsfunction, __FILE__, "$$;$");
      eval_pv ("require myapp::main", 1); // executes "myapp/"

When your bootcode already wants to access some XS functions at compiletime, then you need to supply an xs_init function pointer that is called as soon as perl is initialised enough to define XS functions, but before the preamble code is executed:

   static void
   xs_init (pTHX)
     newXSproto ("myapp::xsfunction", xsfunction, __FILE__, "$$;$");

   static void
      staticperl_init (xs_init);
staticperl_cleanup ()

In the unlikely case that you want to destroy the perl interpreter, here is the corresponding function.

staticperl_xs_init (pTHX)

Sometimes you need direct control over perl_parse and perl_run, in which case you do not want to use staticperl_init but call them on your own.

Then you need this function - either pass it directly as the xs_init function to perl_parse, or call it as one of the first things from your own xs_init function.

PerlInterpreter *staticperl

The perl interpreter pointer used by staticperl. Not normally so useful, but there it is.


Contains the compiler options required to compile at least bundle.c and any file that includes bundle.h - you should probably use it in your CFLAGS.


The linker options needed to link the final program.


Binaries created with mkbundle/mkperl contain extra functionality, mostly related to the extra files bundled in the binary (the virtual filesystem). All of this data is statically compiled into the binary, and accessing means copying it from a read-only section of your binary. Data pages in this way are usually freed by the operating system, as they aren't used more then once.


Every bundle has a virtual filesystem. The only information stored in it is the path and contents of each file that was bundled.


Any paths starting with an ampersand (&) or exclamation mark (!) are reserved by staticperl. They must only be used as described in this section.


All files that typically cannot be loaded from memory (such as dynamic objects or shared libraries), but have to reside in the filesystem, are prefixed with !. Typically these files get written out to some (semi-)temporary directory shortly after program startup, or before being used.


The bootstrap file, if specified during bundling.


Shared objects or dlls corresponding to dynamically-linked perl extensions are stored with an !auto/ prefix.


External shared libraries are stored in this directory.

any letter

Any path starting with a letter is a perl library file. For example, Coro/ corresponds to the file loaded by use Coro::AIO, and Coro/ corresponds to require "Coro/".

Obviously, module names shouldn't start with any other characters than letters :)


$file = static::find $path

Returns the data associated with the given $path (e.g. Digest/, auto/POSIX/autosplit.ix).

Returns undef if the file isn't embedded.

@paths = static::list

Returns the list of all paths embedded in this binary.


In addition, for the embedded loading of perl files to work, staticperl overrides the @INC array.


This section once contained a way to build fully static (including uClibc) binaries with buildroot. Unfortunately, buildroot no longer supports a compiler, so I recommend using alpine linux instead ( Get yourself a VM (e.g. with qemu), run an older alpine linux verison in it (e.g. 2.4), copy staticperl inside and use it.

The reason you might want an older alpine linux is that uClibc can be quite dependent on kernel versions, so the newest version of alpine linux might need a newer kernel then you might want for, if you plan to run your binaries on on other kernels.


This section contains some common(?) recipes and information about problems with some common modules or perl constructs that require extra files to be included.



Some functionality in the utf8 module, such as swash handling (used for unicode character ranges in regexes) is implemented in the "" library:

Many Unicode properties in turn are defined in separate modules, such as "unicore/" and more specific data tables such as "unicore/To/" or "unicore/lib/Perl/". These tables are big (7MB uncompressed, although staticperl contains special handling for those files), so including them only on demand in your application might pay off.

To simply include the whole unicode database, use:

   --incglob '/unicore/**.pl'

AnyEvent needs a backend implementation that it will load in a delayed fashion. The AnyEvent::Impl::Perl backend is the default choice for AnyEvent if it can't find anything else, and is usually a safe fallback. If you plan to use e.g. EV (POE...), then you need to include the AnyEvent::Impl::EV (AnyEvent::Impl::POE...) backend as well.

If you want to handle IRIs or IDNs (AnyEvent::Util punycode and idn functions), you also need to include "AnyEvent/Util/" and "AnyEvent/Util/".

Or you can use --usepacklists and specify -MAnyEvent to include everything.


See Glib, same problem, same solution.


Carp had (in older versions of perl) a dependency on Carp::Heavy. As of perl 5.12.2 (maybe earlier), this dependency no longer exists.


The perl -V switch (as well as many modules) needs Config, which in turn might need "". Including the latter gives you both.


Glib literally requires Glib to be installed already to build - it tries to fake this by running Glib out of the build directory before being built. staticperl tries to work around this by forcing MAN1PODS and MAN3PODS to be empty via the PERL_MM_OPT environment variable.


See Pango, same problems, same solution.


This module hasn't been significantly updated since OpenSSL is called OpenSSL, and fails to properly link against dependent libraries, most commonly, it forgets to specify -ldl when linking.

On GNU/Linux systems this usually goes undetected, as perl usually links against -ldl itself and OpenSSL just happens to pick it up that way, by chance.

For static builds, you either have to configure -ldl manually, or you cna use the following snippet in your postinstall hook which patches Net::SSLeay after installation, which happens to work most of the time:

   postinstall() {
      # first install it
      instcpan Net::SSLeay
      # then add -ldl for future linking
      chmod u+w "$PERL_PREFIX"/lib/auto/Net/SSLeay/extralibs.ld
      echo " -ldl" >>"$PERL_PREFIX"/lib/auto/Net/SSLeay/extralibs.ld

In addition to the MAN3PODS problem in Glib, Pango also routes around ExtUtils::MakeMaker by compiling its files on its own. staticperl tries to patch ExtUtils::MM_Unix to route around Pango.


Also needs Term::ReadLine::readline, or --usepacklists.


URI implements schemes as separate modules - the generic URL scheme is implemented in URI::_generic, HTTP is implemented in URI::http. If you need to use any of these schemes, you should include these manually, or use --usepacklists.


To link just about everything installed in the perl library into a new perl, try this (the first time this runs it will take a long time, as a lot of files need to be parsed):

   staticperl mkperl -v --strip ppi --incglob '*'

If you don't mind the extra megabytes, this can be a very effective way of creating bundles without having to worry about forgetting any modules.

You get even more useful variants of this method by first selecting everything, and then excluding stuff you are reasonable sure not to need - bigperl uses this approach.

Getting rid of netdb functions

The perl core has lots of netdb functions (getnetbyname, getgrent and so on) that few applications use. You can avoid compiling them in by putting the following fragment into a preconfigure hook:

   preconfigure() {
      for sym in \
         d_getgrnam_r d_endgrent d_endgrent_r d_endhent \
         d_endhostent_r d_endnent d_endnetent_r d_endpent \
         d_endprotoent_r d_endpwent d_endpwent_r d_endsent \
         d_endservent_r d_getgrent d_getgrent_r d_getgrgid_r \
         d_getgrnam_r d_gethbyaddr d_gethent d_getsbyport \
         d_gethostbyaddr_r d_gethostbyname_r d_gethostent_r \
         d_getlogin_r d_getnbyaddr d_getnbyname d_getnent \
         d_getnetbyaddr_r d_getnetbyname_r d_getnetent_r \
         d_getpent d_getpbyname d_getpbynumber d_getprotobyname_r \
         d_getprotobynumber_r d_getprotoent_r d_getpwent \
         d_getpwent_r d_getpwnam_r d_getpwuid_r d_getsent \
         d_getservbyname_r d_getservbyport_r d_getservent_r \
         d_getspnam_r d_getsbyname
         # d_gethbyname

This mostly gains space when linking statically, as the functions will likely not be linked in. The gain for dynamically-linked binaries is smaller.

Also, this leaves gethostbyname in - not only is it actually used often, the Socket module also exposes it, so leaving it out usually gains little. Why Socket exposes a C function that is in the core already is anybody's guess.


Some guy has made a repository on github ( with some modules patched to build with staticperl.


 Marc Lehmann <>