Table of Contents

What is ActivePerl? Are the other Perls inactive?

A company named ActiveState exists to provide Perl tools for the Win32 environment. ActiveState used to be ActiveWare, and before that it was sort of a part of Hip Communications. It now appears to be happy with its current name, having not changed it for over a year. Win32 means, at the time of writing, Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT. It does not mean Windows 3.11, even with Win32s installed.

Prior to Perl version 5.005, there was one version of Perl for Win32, and another for all the other systems. The other version was known as the "native version".

The Win32 version was developed by ActiveState, called "Perl for Win32" and typically lagged slightly behind the native version. As of the 5.005 release, Perl for Win32 and the native version have merged -- the native version now supports Win32 directly and doesn't need any tweaking by ActiveState.

ActiveState have dropped "Perl for Win32" and renamed their distribution, which comes with an InstallShield installer, "ActivePerl".

Incidentally, a few months before 5.005 merge the native Perl version was changed so it would run on Win32 directly. This version was best known by the creator's name, "Gurusamy Sarathy". However, there were still quite a few differences between it and Perl for Win32, so many people ran both. The merge brought the best of both worlds together.