IPC::PerlSSH - execute remote perl code over an SSH link


 use IPC::PerlSSH;

 my $ips = IPC::PerlSSH->new( Host => "over.there" );

 $ips->eval( "use POSIX qw( uname )" );
 my @remote_uname = $ips->eval( "uname()" );

 # We can pass arguments
 $ips->eval( 'open FILE, ">", $_[0]; print FILE $_[1]; close FILE;',
             "foo.txt", "Hello, world!" );

 # We can pre-compile stored procedures
 $ips->store( "get_file", 'local $/; 
                           open FILE, "<", $_[0];
                           $_ = <FILE>;
                           close FILE;
                           return $_;' );
 foreach my $file ( @files ) {
    my $content = $ips->call( "get_file", $file );

 # We can use existing libraries for remote stored procedures
 $ips->use_library( "FS", qw( readfile ) );
 foreach my $file ( @files ) {
    my $content = $ips->call( "readfile", $file );


This module provides an object class that provides a mechanism to execute perl code in a remote instance of perl running on another host, communicated via an SSH link or similar connection. Where it differs from most other IPC modules is that no special software is required on the remote end, other than the ability to run perl. In particular, it is not required that the IPC::PerlSSH module is installed there. Nor are any special administrative rights required; any account that has shell access and can execute the perl binary on the remote host can use this module.

Argument Passing

The arguments to, and return values from, remote code are always transferred as lists of strings. This has the following effects on various types of values:

  • String values are passed as they stand.

  • Booleans and integers will become stringified, but will work as expected once they reach the other side of the connection.

  • Floating-point numbers will get converted to a decimal notation, which may lose precision.

  • A single array of strings, or a single hash of string values, can be passed by-value as a list, possibly after positional arguments:

     $ips->store( 'foo', 'my ( $arg, @list ) = @_; ...' );
     $ips->store( 'bar', 'my %opts = @_; ...' );
  • No reference value, including IO handles, can be passed; instead it will be stringified.

To pass or return a more complex structure, consider using a module such as Storable, which can serialise the structure into a plain string, to be deserialised on the remote end. Be aware however, that Storable was only added to core in perl 5.7.3, so if the remote perl is older, it may not be available.

To work with remote IO handles, see the IPC::PerlSSH::Library::IO module.


new (with Host)

   $ips = IPC::PerlSSH->new( Host => $host, ... )

Returns a new instance of a IPC::PerlSSH object connected to the specified host. The following arguments can be specified:

Host => STRING

Connect to a named host.

Port => INT

Optionally specify a non-default port.

Perl => STRING

Optionally pass in the path to the perl binary in the remote host.

User => STRING

Optionally pass in an alternative username

SshPath => STRING

Optionally specify a different path to the ssh binary

SshOptions => ARRAY

Optionally specify any other options to pass to the ssh binary, in an ARRAY reference

new (with Command)

   $ips = IPC::PerlSSH->new( Command => \@command, ... )

Returns a new instance of a IPC::PerlSSH object which uses the STDIN/STDOUT streams of a command it executes, as the streams to communicate with the remote perl.

Command => ARRAY

Specifies the command to execute

Command => STRING

Shorthand form for executing a single simple path

The Command key can be used to create an IPC::PerlSSH running perl directly on the local machine, for example; so that the "remote" perl is in fact running locally, but still in its own process.

 my $ips = IPC::PerlSSH->new( Command => $^X );

new (with Readh + Writeh)

   $ips = IPC::PerlSSH->new( Readh => $rd, Writeh => $wr )

Returns a new instance of a IPC::PerlSSH object using a given pair of filehandles to read from and write to the remote perl process. It is allowable for both filehandles to be the same - for example using a socket.

new (with Readfunc + Writefunc)

   $ips = IPC::PerlSSH->new( Readfunc => \&read, Writefunc => \&write )

Returns a new instance of a IPC::PerlSSH object using a given pair of functions as read and write operators.

Usually this form won't be used in practice; it largely exists to assist the test scripts. But since it works, it is included in the interface in case the earlier alternatives are not suitable.

The functions are called as

 $len = $Readfunc->( my $buffer, $maxlen );

 $len = $Writewrite->( $buffer );

In each case, the returned value should be the number of bytes read or written.



   @result = $ips->eval( $code, @args )

This method evaluates code in the remote host, passing arguments and returning the result.

The code should be passed in a string, and is evaluated using a string eval in the remote host, in list context. If this method is called in scalar context, then only the first element of the returned list is returned.

If the remote code threw an exception, then this function propagates it as a plain string. If the remote process exits before responding, this will be propagated as an exception.


   $ips->store( $name, $code )

   $ips->store( %funcs )

This method sends code to the remote host to store in named procedure(s) which can be executed later. The code should be passed in strings.

While the code is not executed, it will still be compiled into CODE references in the remote host. Any compile errors that occur will be throw as exceptions by this method.

Multiple functions may be passed in a hash, to reduce the number of network roundtrips, which may help latency.


   $ips->bind( $name, $code )

This method is identical to the store method, except that the remote function will be available as a plain function within the local perl program, as a function of the given name in the caller's package.


   @result = $ips->call( $name, @args )

This method invokes a remote method that has earlier been defined using the store or bind methods. The arguments are passed and the result is returned in the same way as with the eval method.

If an exception occurs during execution, it is propagated and thrown by this method. If the remote process exits before responding, this will be propagated as an exception.


   $ips->use_library( $library, @funcs )

This method loads a library of code from a module, and stores them to the remote perl by calling store on each one. The $library name may be a full class name, or a name within the IPC::PerlSSH::Library:: space.

If the @funcs list is non-empty, then only those named functions are stored (analogous to the use perl statement). This may be useful in large libraries that define many functions, only a few of which are actually used.

For more information, see IPC::PerlSSH::Library.


Paul Evans <>