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CPAN::Meta::History::Meta_1_0 - Version 1.0 metadata specification for META.yml


This is a historical copy of the version 1.0 specification for META.yml files, copyright by Ken Williams and licensed under the same terms as Perl itself.

Modifications from the original:

  • Conversion from the original HTML to POD format

  • Include list of valid licenses from Module::Build 0.17 rather than linking to the module, with minor updates to text and links to reflect versions at the time of publication.

  • Fixed some dead links to point to active resources.


This document describes version 1.0 of the META.yml specification.

The META.yml file describes important properties of contributed Perl distributions such as the ones found on CPAN. It is typically created by tools like Module::Build and ExtUtils::MakeMaker.

The fields in the META.yml file are meant to be helpful to people maintaining module collections (like CPAN), for people writing installation tools (like CPAN or CPANPLUS), or just people who want to know some stuff about a distribution before downloading it and starting to install it.


META.yml files are written in the YAML format. The reasons we chose YAML instead of, say, XML or Data::Dumper are discussed in this thread on the MakeMaker mailing list.

The first line of a META.yml file should be a valid YAML document header like "--- #YAML:1.0"


The rest of the META.yml file is one big YAML mapping, whose keys are described here.


Example: Module-Build

The name of the distribution. Often created by taking the "main module" in the distribution and changing "::" to "-". Sometimes it's completely different, however, as in the case of the libwww-perl distribution.


Example: 0.16

The version of the distribution to which the META.yml file refers.


Example: perl

The license under which this distribution may be used and redistributed.

Must be one of the following licenses:


The distribution may be copied and redistributed under the same terms as perl itself (this is by far the most common licensing option for modules on CPAN). This is a dual license, in which the user may choose between either the GPL version 1 or the Artistic version 1 license.


The distribution is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2 (


The distribution is distributed under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License version 2 (


The distribution is licensed under the Artistic License version 1, as specified by the Artistic file in the standard perl distribution (


The distribution is licensed under the BSD 3-Clause License (


The distribution is licensed under some other Open Source Initiative-approved license listed at


The distribution is licensed under a license that is not approved by but that allows distribution without restrictions.


The distribution may not be redistributed without special permission from the author and/or copyright holder.


Example: module

What kind of stuff is contained in this distribution. Most things on CPAN are modules (which can also mean a collection of modules), but some things are scripts.



  Data::Dumper: 0
  File::Find: 1.03

A YAML mapping indicating the Perl modules this distribution requires for proper operation. The keys are the module names, and the values are version specifications as described in the documentation for Module::Build's "requires" parameter.

Note: the exact nature of the fancy specifications like ">= 1.2, != 1.5, < 2.0" is subject to change. Advance notice will be given here. The simple specifications like "1.2" will not change in format.



  Data::Dumper: 0
  File::Find: 1.03

A YAML mapping indicating the Perl modules this distribution recommends for enhanced operation.



  Data::Dumper: 0
  File::Find: 1.03

A YAML mapping indicating the Perl modules required for building and/or testing of this distribution. These dependencies are not required after the module is installed.



  Data::Dumper: 0
  File::Find: 1.03

A YAML mapping indicating the Perl modules that cannot be installed while this distribution is installed. This is a pretty uncommon situation.


Example: 0

A boolean flag indicating whether a Build.PL or Makefile.PL (or similar) must be executed, or whether this module can be built, tested and installed solely from consulting its metadata file. The main reason to set this to a true value if that your module performs some dynamic configuration (asking questions, sensing the environment, etc.) as part of its build/install process.

Currently Module::Build doesn't actually do anything with this flag - it's probably going to be up to higher-level tools like to do something useful with it. It can potentially bring lots of security, packaging, and convenience improvements.


Example: Module::Build version 0.16

Indicates the tool that was used to create this META.yml file. It's good form to include both the name of the tool and its version, but this field is essentially opaque, at least for the moment.

Related Projects


An RDF vocabulary to describe software projects.


  • March 14, 2003 (Pi day) - created version 1.0 of this document.

  • May 8, 2003 - added the "dynamic_config" field, which was missing from the initial version.