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perldos - Perl under DOS, W31, W95.


These are instructions for building Perl under DOS (or w??), using DJGPP v2.01 or later. Under w95 long filenames are supported.


Before you start, you should glance through the README file found in the top-level directory where the Perl distribution was extracted. Make sure you read and understand the terms under which this software is being distributed.

This port currently supports MakeMaker (the set of modules that is used to build extensions to perl). Therefore, you should be able to build and install most extensions found in the CPAN sites.



DJGPP is a port of GNU C/C++ compiler and development tools to 32-bit, protected-mode environment on Intel 32-bit CPUs running MS-DOS and compatible operating systems, by DJ Delorie <dj@delorie.com> and friends.

For more details (FAQ), check out the home of DJGPP at:


If you have questions about DJGPP, try posting to the DJGPP newsgroup: comp.os.msdos.djgpp, or use the email gateway djgpp@delorie.com.

You can find the full DJGPP distribution on any SimTel.Net mirror all over the world. Like:


You need the following files to build perl (or add new modules):


or any newer version.


If you want multithreading support in perl, you need a pthread library that supports DJGPP. One of them can be found at:


But thread support is still in alpha, it may be unstable. For more information see below.

Shortcomings of Perl under DOS

Perl under DOS lacks some features of perl under UNIX because of deficiencies in the UNIX-emulation, most notably:

  • fork() and pipe()

  • some features of the UNIX filesystem regarding link count and file dates

  • in-place operation is a little bit broken with short filenames

  • sockets


  • Unpack the source package perl5.00?_??.tar.gz with djtarx. If you want to use long file names under w95, don't forget to use

            set LFN=y

    before unpacking the archive.

  • Create a "symlink" or copy your bash.exe to sh.exe in your ($DJDIR)/bin directory.

            ln -s bash.exe sh.exe

    And make the SHELL environment variable point to this sh.exe:

            set SHELL=c:/djgpp/bin/sh.exe (use full path name!)

    You can do this in djgpp.env too. Add this line BEFORE any section definition:

  • If you have split.exe and gsplit.exe in your path, then rename split.exe to djsplit.exe, and gsplit.exe to split.exe. Copy or link gecho.exe to echo.exe if you don't have echo.exe. Copy or link gawk.exe to awk.exe if you don't have awk.exe.

  • Chdir to the djgpp subdirectory of perl toplevel and type the following command:


    This will do some preprocessing then run the Configure script for you. The Configure script is interactive, but in most cases you just need to press ENTER.

    If the script says that your package is incomplete, and asks whether to continue, just answer with Y (this can only happen if you don't use long filenames).

    When Configure asks about the extensions, I suggest IO and Fcntl, and if you want database handling then SDBM_File or GDBM_File (you need to install gdbm for this one). If you want to use the POSIX extension (this is the default), make sure that the stack size of your cc1.exe is at least 512kbyte (you can check this with: stubedit cc1.exe).

    You can use the Configure script in non-interactive mode too. When I built my perl.exe, I used something like this:

            configure.bat -Uuseposix -des

    You can find more info about Configure's command line switches in the INSTALL file.

    When the script ends, and you want to change some values in the generated config.sh file, then run

            sh Configure -S

    after you made your modifications.

    IMPORTANT: if you use this -S switch, be sure to delete the CONFIG environment variable before running the script:

            set CONFIG=
  • Now you can compile Perl. Type:




        make test

You should see "All tests successful" if you configured a database manager, and 1 failed test script if not (lib/anydbm.t). If you configured POSIX you will see 1 additional failed subtest in lib/posix.t.



        make install

This will copy the newly compiled perl and libraries into your DJGPP directory structure. Perl.exe and the utilities go into ($DJDIR)/bin, and the library goes under ($DJDIR)/lib/perl5. The pod documentation goes under ($DJDIR)/lib/perl5/pod.

Threaded perl under dos-djgpp

Multithreading support is considered alpha, because some of the tests in ext/Thread still die with SIGSEGV (patches are welcome). But if you want to give it a try, here are the necessary steps:

  • 1. You will need a pthread library which supports djgpp. Go, and download FSU's version from:


    The latest version is 3.5, released in Feb 98.

  • 2. Unzip the file, cd to threads\src and run configur.bat.

  • 3. Add RAND_SWITCH or MUTEX_SWITCH or RR_SWITCH to CFLAGS in the makefile. Note that using these values, multithreading will NOT be preemptive. This is necessary, since djgpp's libc is not thread safe.

  • 4. Apply the following patch:

        *** include/pthread/signal.h~       Wed Feb  4 10:51:24 1998
        --- include/pthread/signal.h        Tue Feb 10 22:40:32 1998
        *** 364,368 ****
        --- 364,370 ----
          #ifndef SA_ONSTACK
        + #ifdef  SV_ONSTACK
          #define SA_ONSTACK SV_ONSTACK
        + #endif
          #endif /* !SA_ONSTACK */
  • 5. run make (before you do this, you must make sure your SHELL environment variable does NOT point to bash).

  • 6. Install the library and header files into your djgpp directory structure.

  • 7. Add -Dusethreads to the commmand line of perl's configure.bat.


Laszlo Molnar, molnarl@cdata.tvnet.hu