Perl interpreter for windows:

  • Must run natively (e.g. no CYGWin etc...)
  • Must support a large chunk of CPAN libraries (meaning you can download them prebuilt, like PPMs from ActiveState).
  • Must refresh reasonably quickly with new Perl versions (e.g. support at least Perl 5.16 and ideally 5.18 by end of 2013).
  • BTW, ActiveState fails the 3rd bullet combined with 2d - as of Jan 2014, their 5.18 is basically non-functional since they have almost no PPMs for it, yet.
    – DVK
    Feb 10, 2014 at 1:53

2 Answers 2


I think at this point, Strawberry Perl is the one to go with. While historically vanilla perl was more up to date (due to simplicity in testing a minimal bundle) that's no longer an issue and vanilla perl appears dead.

I have significant experience with Strawberry Perl (and before that Vanilla Perl) and so here's how it fits into your bullet points.

  1. This is a native build.

  2. While it does not come with pre-built libraries outside of the core libraries, CPAN::Bundle, and a few others, it comes with a complete build environment based on Mingw. My general experience is that most CPAN modules work out of the box and you can install them just by running something like: cpan Wx (and have it download, compile, and install Wxperl and Wxwidgets). There are however some modules I haven't been able to make run properly (LaTeX::Driver, for example, fails make test with what look like harmless issues comparing paths, and Template::Latex doesn't seem to work even if you force install). Those are a relatively small minority though.

  3. Currently, 5.18 is supported, with 5.16 available as well.

So I am not quite sure whether this meets your needs. If you have to support most of CPAN and find a build environment to be intolerable, you probably need to look elsewhere, but if having a good, tested build environment is good enough, I would highly recommend it. It is the one I go to any time I need to deploy a Perl application on Windows.


Use Strawberry Perl. It's native and has CPAN and everything else you'll need built in. If you want precompiled modules, you can run ActiveState Perl alongside it and use modules from either. (See this Stack Overflow question.)

  • How does it fit bullet #3? Does it come with precompiled CPAN libraries available like PPMs?
    – DVK
    Feb 10, 2014 at 2:07
  • You can install both ActiveState Perl and Strawberry Perl and use both CTAN and the available precompiled PPMs, filling bullet #3 as best as possible. See here.
    – bb010g
    Feb 10, 2014 at 2:10
  • 1
    To be honest, if you don't mind using the fully functional build environment that comes with it, you will have better CPAN coverage with Strawberry Perl than you ever will with ActiveState. Feb 10, 2014 at 2:56

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