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Getting Your Feet Wet

Description ^

This chapter gives you step-by-step instructions to get a basic statically-compiled mod_perl-enabled Apache server up and running. Having a running server allows you to experiment with mod_perl as you learn more about it.

(Of course, you'll be experimenting on a private machine, not on a production server, right?) The remainder of the guide, along with the documentation supplied with mod_perl, gives the detailed information required for fine-tuning your mod_perl-enabled server to deliver the best possible performance.

Although there are binary distributions of mod_perl-enabled Apache servers available for various platforms, we recommend that you always build mod_perl from source. It's simple to do (provided you have all the proper tools on your machine), and building from source circumvents possible problems with the binary distributions (such as the reported bugs with the RPM packages built for RedHat Linux).

The mod_perl installation that follows has been tested on many mainstream Unix and Linux platforms. Unless you're using a very non-standard system, you should have no problems when building the basic mod_perl server.

For Windows users, the simplest solution is to use the binary package. Windows users may skip to the Installing mod_perl for Windows.

Installing mod_perl in Three Steps ^

You can install mod_perl in three easy steps: Obtaining the source files required to build mod_perl, building mod_perl, and installing it.

Building mod_perl from source requires a machine with basic development tools. In particular, you will need an ANSI-compliant C compiler (such as gcc) and the make utility. All standard Unix-like distributions include these tools. If a required tool is not already installed, then use the package manager that is provided with the system (rpm, apt, yast, etc.) to install them.

A recent version of Perl is also required, at least version 5.004. Perl is available as an installable package, although most Unix-like distributions will have installed Perl by default. To check that the tools are available and learn about their version numbers, try:

  % make -v
  % gcc -v
  % perl -v

If any of these responds with Command not found, it will need to be installed.

Once all the tools are in place the installation process can begin. Experienced Unix users will need no explanation of the commands that follow and can simply copy and paste them into a terminal window to get the server installed.

Acquire the source code distrubutions of Apache and mod_perl from the Internet, using your favorite web browser or one of the command line clients like wget, lwp-download, etc. These two distributions are available from http://www.apache.org/dist/httpd/ and http://perl.apache.org/dist/.

The two packages are named apache_x.x.x.tar.gz and mod_perl-x.xx.tar.gz, where x.x.x should be replaced with the real version numbers of mod_perl and Apache.

Move the downloaded packages into a directory of your choice, e.g., /home/stas/src/, proceed with the described steps and you will have mod_perl installed:

  % cd /home/stas/src
  % tar -zvxf apache_x.x.x.tar.gz
  % tar -zvxf mod_perl-x.xx.tar.gz
  % cd mod_perl-x.xx
  % perl Makefile.PL APACHE_SRC=../apache_x.x.x/src \
      APACHE_PREFIX=/home/httpd DO_HTTPD=1 USE_APACI=1 EVERYTHING=1
  % make && make test
  % su
  # make install

That's all!

All that remains is to add a few configuration lines to the Apache configuration file, (/usr/local/apache/conf/httpd.conf), start the server, and enjoy mod_perl.

The following detailed explanation of each step should help you solve any problems that may have arisen when executing the commands above.

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