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Rocky Bernstein


Term::ReadLine::Perl5 - A Perl5 implementation GNU Readline


  use Term::ReadLine::Perl5;
  $term = new Term::ReadLine::Perl5 'ProgramName';
  while ( defined ($_ = $term->readline('prompt>')) ) {



This is a implementation of the GNU Readline/History Library written in Perl5.

GNU Readline reads lines from an interactive terminal with emacs or vi editing capabilities. It provides as mechanism for saving history of previous input.

This package typically used in command-line interfaces and REPLs (Read, Eval, Print, Loop).


Term::ReadLine::Perl->new($name, [*IN, [*OUT])

Returns a handle for subsequent calls to readline functions.

$name is the name of the application.

Optionally you can add two arguments for input and output filehandles. These arguments should be globs.

This routine might also be called via Term::ReadLine->new($term_name) if other Term::ReadLine packages like Term::ReadLine::Gnu is not available or if you have $ENV{PERL_RL} set to 'Perl5';

At present, because this code has lots of global state, we currently don't support more than one readline instance.

Somebody please volunteer to rewrite this code!



Stifle or put a cap on the history list, remembering only $max number of lines.



If $minlength is given, set $readline::minlength the minimum length a $line for it to go into the readline history.

The previous value is returned.



Remove history element $which from the history. The removed element is returned.


Following GNU Readline/History Library variables can be accessed from Perl program. See 'GNU Readline Library Manual' and ' GNU History Library Manual' for each variable. You can access them via the Attribs method. Names of keys in this hash conform to standard conventions with the leading rl_ stripped.


    $term = new Term::ReadLine::Perl5 'ReadLineTest'
    $attribs = $term->Attribs;
    $v = $attribs->{history_base};      # history_base

Attribute Names

        completion_suppress_append (bool)
        history_base               (int)
        history_stifled            (int)
        history_length             (int)
        max_input_history          (int)
        outstream                  (file handle)


To install this module type:

    perl Build.PL
    # for interactive testing:
    make test
    # for non-interactive testing
    AUTOMATED_TESTING=1 make test
    make install # might need sudo make install


The first implementation was in Perl4 (mostly) by Jeffrey Friedl. He referenced FSF the code Roland Schemers line_edit.pl.

Ilya Zakharevich turned this into a Perl5 module called Term::ReadLine::Perl. Some of the changes he made include using Term::ReadKey if present, and made this work under xterm. The file Term/ReadLine/Perl5/CHANGES up to but not including version 1.04 contains a list of his changes.

Starting with version 1.04 Rocky Bernstein forked the code, adding GNU readline history. He put it into a public git repository (github) and also started modernizing it by doing the things CPAN prefers, including adding POD documentation, non-interactive tests, and respecting CPAN module namespaces.


Bugs are accepted via the github issues tracker.


Copyright (c) 2013 Rocky Bernstein. Copyright (c) 1995 Ilya Zakharevich.

This program is distributed WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

The program is free software. You may distribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation (either version 2 or any later version) and the Perl Artistic License as published by O’Reilly Media, Inc. Please open the files named gpl-2.0.txt and Artistic for a copy of these licenses.