Alien - External libraries wrapped up for your viewing pleasure!


    perldoc Alien;


Alien is a package that exists just to hold together an idea, the idea of Alien:: packages, so there is no code here, just motivation for Alien.


James and I ended up doing a build system for Fotango, lots of people have done a build system, it is a pretty boring task. The boring task is really all the mindlessly stupid things you need to do to build C libraries that Perl modules require, these C modules usually have unusual installation systems or require vastly different options. So CPAN modules install easy, 3rd party stuff is nasty.

So, suddenly an idea struck me, Alien packages! Imagine a CPAN module that has as its only task to make sure a certain library is installed! That means that you can write all the voodoo in your Build.PL file and then just make sure the module requires the correct Alien module! Then anything that install Perl modules will deal with it automatically!


So, what should an Alien module do? It should make sure that the target is installed and it should provide the caller with enough information to use it.

The idea is that you use it to make sure it is there, and you call class methods to find out what to use. These class methods will be individually specified by the stand alone Alien modules.

No Framework!

The reason this is so loosely worded is because we have no idea what common functionality will be needed, so we will let evolution work for us and see what individual Alien packages need and then eventually factor it out into this packages. I would like to avoid a topdown design approach.

Responsibilities of a Alien module.

On installation, make sure the required package is there, otherwise install it.

On usage, make sure the required package is there, else croak.

Bundle the source with the module, or download it.

Allow module authors to access information it gathers.

Document itself well.

Preferably use Module::Build.

Be sane.


Might be spelling errors, please report them


No support needed.


        Arthur Bergman


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

The full text of the license can be found in the LICENSE file included with this module.