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PAR::Dist - Create and manipulate PAR distributions


As a shell command:

    % perl -MPAR::Dist -eblib_to_par

In programs:

    use PAR::Dist;

    my $dist = blib_to_par(); # make a PAR file using ./blib/
    install_par($dist);       # install it into the system
    uninstall_par($dist);     # uninstall it from the system
    sign_par($dist);          # sign it using Module::Signature
    verify_par($dist);        # verify it using Module::Signature

    install_par(""); # works too
    install_par(""); # auto-appends archname + perlver
    install_par("cpan://SMUELLER/PAR-Packer-0.975"); # uses CPAN author directory


This module creates and manipulates PAR distributions. They are architecture-specific PAR files, containing everything under blib/ of CPAN distributions after their make or Build stage, a META.yml describing metadata of the original CPAN distribution, and a MANIFEST detailing all files within it. Digitally signed PAR distributions will also contain a SIGNATURE file.

The naming convention for such distributions is:


For example, PAR-Dist-0.01-i386-freebsd-5.8.0.par corresponds to the 0.01 release of PAR-Dist on CPAN, built for perl 5.8.0 running on i386-freebsd.


Several functions are exported by default. Unless otherwise noted, they can take either a hash of named arguments, a single argument (taken as $path by blib_to_par and $dist by other functions), or no arguments (in which case the first PAR file in the current directory is used).

Therefore, under a directory containing only a single test.par, all invocations below are equivalent:

    % perl -MPAR::Dist -e"install_par( dist => 'test.par' )"
    % perl -MPAR::Dist -e"install_par( 'test.par' )"
    % perl -MPAR::Dist -einstall_par;

If $dist resembles a URL, LWP::Simple::mirror is called to mirror it locally under $ENV{PAR_TEMP} (or $TEMP/par/ if unspecified), and the function will act on the fetched local file instead. If the URL begins with cpan://AUTHOR/, it will be expanded automatically to the author's CPAN directory (e.g.

If $dist does not have a file extension beginning with a letter or underscore, a dash and $suffix ($ARCH-$PERL_VERSION.par by default) will be appended to it.


Takes key/value pairs as parameters or a single parameter indicating the path that contains the blib/ subdirectory.

Builds a PAR distribution from the blib/ subdirectory under path, or under the current directory if unspecified. If blib/ does not exist, it automatically runs Build, make, Build.PL or Makefile.PL to create it.

Returns the filename of the generated PAR distribution.

Valid parameters are:


Sets the path which contains the blib/ subdirectory from which the PAR distribution will be generated.

name, version, suffix

These attributes set the name, version and platform specific suffix of the distribution. Name and version can be automatically determined from the distributions META.yml or Makefile.PL files.

The suffix is generated from your architecture name and your version of perl by default.


The output filename for the PAR distribution.


Set to true to suppress as much output as possible.


Installs a PAR distribution into the system, using ExtUtils::Install::install_default.

If only a single parameter is given, it is treated as the value for the dist parameter.

Valid named parameters are:


The .par file to install. The heuristics outlined in the FUNCTIONS section above apply.


This string will be prepended to all installation paths. If it isn't specified, the environment variable PERL_INSTALL_ROOT is used as a prefix.


This corresponds to the uninstall_shadows option of ExtUtils::Install. Quoting its manual: If uninstall_shadows is set to true, any differing versions throughout @INC will be uninstalled. This is make install UNINST=1.


This corresponds to the verbose option of ExtUtils::Install. According to its manual: If verbose is true, will print out each file removed. This is make install VERBINST=1. verbose values going up to 5 show increasingly more diagnostics output.

Default verbosity for PAR::Dist is 1.

If you're just going to install into the running perl like everything else, you can stop reading the rest of this section now.

Additionally, you can use several parameters to change the default installation destinations. You don't usually have to worry about this unless you are installing into a user-local directory. The following section outlines the parameter names and default settings:

  Parameter         From          To
  inst_lib          blib/lib      $Config{installsitelib} (*)
  inst_archlib      blib/arch     $Config{installsitearch}
  inst_script       blib/script   $Config{installscript}
  inst_bin          blib/bin      $Config{installbin}
  inst_man1dir      blib/man1     $Config{installman1dir}
  inst_man3dir      blib/man3     $Config{installman3dir}
  packlist_read                   $Config{sitearchexp}/auto/$name/.packlist
  packlist_write                  $Config{installsitearch}/auto/$name/.packlist

The packlist_write parameter is used to control where the .packlist file is written to. (Necessary for uninstallation.) The packlist_read parameter specifies a .packlist file to merge in if it exists. By setting any of the above installation targets to undef, you can remove that target altogether. For example, passing inst_man1dir => undef, inst_man3dir => undef means that the contained manual pages won't be installed. This is not available for the packlists.

Again, the defaults will be the normal site paths from %Config.

(*) If the .par's inst_archlib section (normally blib/arch) isn't empty, the code in inst_lib (normally blib/lib) is also installed into the inst_archlib path. This makes sense for XS modules. If, however, you override inst_lib, this automatic conversion is also overridden! You can use the named parameter auto_inst_lib_conversion => 1 to re-enable the conversion for custom inst_lib's.

Finally, you may specify a custom_targets parameter. Its value should be a reference to a hash of custom installation targets such as

  custom_targets => { 'blib/my_data' => '/some/path/my_data' }

You can use this to install the .par archives contents to arbitrary locations.


Uninstalls all previously installed contents of a PAR distribution, using ExtUtils::Install::uninstall.

Takes almost the same parameters as install_par, but naturally, the installation target parameters do not apply. The only exception to this is the packlist_read parameter which specifies the .packlist file to read the list of installed files from. It defaults to $Config::Config{installsitearch}/auto/$name/.packlist.

Additionally, the uninstall_shadows parameter of install_par isn't available.


Digitally sign a PAR distribution using gpg or Crypt::OpenPGP, via Module::Signature.


Verify the digital signature of a PAR distribution using gpg or Crypt::OpenPGP, via Module::Signature.

Returns a boolean value indicating whether verification passed; $! is set to the return code of Module::Signature::verify.


Note: Since version 0.32 of PAR::Dist, this function requires a YAML reader. The order of precedence is:


Merges two or more PAR distributions into one. First argument must be the name of the distribution you want to merge all others into. Any following arguments will be interpreted as the file names of further PAR distributions to merge into the first one.

  merge_par('foo.par', 'bar.par', 'baz.par')

This will merge the distributions foo.par, bar.par and baz.par into the distribution foo.par. foo.par will be overwritten!

The original META.yml of foo.par is retained, but augmented with any provides, requires, recommends, build_requires, and configure_requires sections from the other .par files.


Remove the man pages from a PAR distribution. Takes one named parameter: dist which should be the name (and path) of the PAR distribution file. The calling conventions outlined in the FUNCTIONS section above apply.

The PAR archive will be extracted, stripped of all man\d? and html subdirectories and then repackaged into the original file.


Opens a PAR archive and extracts the contained META.yml file. Returns the META.yml file as a string.

Takes one named parameter: dist. If only one parameter is passed, it is treated as the dist parameter. (Have a look at the description in the FUNCTIONS section above.)

Returns undef if no PAR archive or no META.yml within the archive were found.


First argument must be a distribution file name. The file name is parsed into distribution name, distribution version, architecture name, and perl version.

Returns the results as a list in the above order. If any or all of the above cannot be determined, returns undef instead of the undetermined elements.

Supported formats are:



The ".tar.gz" or ".par" extensions as well as any preceding paths are stripped before parsing. Starting with PAR::Dist 0.22, versions containing a preceding v are parsed correctly.

This function is not exported by default.


Creates a blib/lib subdirectory in the current directory and prepares a META.yml with meta information for a new PAR distribution. First argument should be the name of the PAR distribution in a format understood by parse_dist_name(). Alternatively, named arguments resembling those of blib_to_par are accepted.

After running generate_blib_stub and injecting files into the blib directory, you can create a PAR distribution using blib_to_par. This function is useful for creating custom PAR distributions from scratch. (I.e. not from an unpacked CPAN distribution) Example:

  use PAR::Dist;
  use File::Copy 'copy';

    name => 'MyApp', version => '1.00'
  copy('', 'blib/lib/');
  blib_to_par(); # generates the .par file!

generate_blib_stub will not overwrite existing files.


This function is not exported by default.

Opens a PAR archive tries to determine whether that archive contains platform-specific binary code.

Takes one named parameter: dist. If only one parameter is passed, it is treated as the dist parameter. (Have a look at the description in the FUNCTIONS section above.)

Throws a fatal error if the PAR archive could not be found.

Returns one if the PAR was found to contain binary code and zero otherwise.


PAR, ExtUtils::Install, Module::Signature, LWP::Simple


Audrey Tang <> 2003-2007

Steffen Mueller <> 2005-2011

PAR has a mailing list, <>, that you can write to; send an empty mail to <> to join the list and participate in the discussion. Archives of the mailing list are available at <> or <>.

Please send bug reports to <>.


Copyright 2003-2011 by Audrey Tang <>.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.