How can I use perl 5.12 in Ubuntu? There is no distribution package on Ubuntu.

I have to use feature 'unicode_strings'; in my perl code, and this is available from 5.12. I try to install perl on Ubuntu by apt-get install perl, but 5.10 is the latest version.

How can I deal with this? Or is there any code in 5.10 can replace the code feature 'unicode_strings';?



3 Answers 3


When writing your own applications, I recommend installing your own Perl. This was once a major pain, but no more. Nowadays, you can use perlbrew to build Perl for you.

On Ubuntu, I think you'll need the build-essential package first, if you don't already. After that, you can use the instructions on the perlbrew docs linked above to install it (or use cpan App::perlbrew).

Once installed you can run:

perlbrew init
perlbrew install perl-5.12.2
perlbrew switch perl-5.12.2

Once you do that and make sure Perlbrew's bashrc is loaded into your bashrc, you should be ale to run:

perl -v

and see that you're running 5.12.

The official perlbrew website is https://perlbrew.pl and it suggests installing by running

wget --no-check-certificate -O - http://install.perlbrew.pl | bash

Then you will still need to

perlbrew install perl-5.12.2
perlbrew switch perl-5.12.2

of course. Finally if you have multiple cores (and who doesn't these days) you can run

perlbrew install -j N perl-5.12.2

where N is the number of jobs requested, often the number of cores you have plus one. I use -j 5 on my quad-core and -j 3 on my dual-core netbook.

  • 1
    following the comments on alpera's answer, I also want to state that using this method, the new Perl is installed in your own userspace. Repeat it does not affect the system Perl at all. You have your own copy of whichever Perl version(s) you want. This is the best choice for you.
    – Joel Berger
    Aug 16, 2012 at 4:32
  • I need run perlbrew --notest install perl-5.22.1 to pass 'test_harness' failed
    – netawater
    Aug 4, 2020 at 5:09
  • if want script support perlbrew, it need use !/usr/bin/env perl instead !/usr/bin/perl
    – netawater
    Aug 5, 2020 at 6:32

Anyway you can easily download last Perl distribution (5.16 or 5.14) and install it:

1. Install Perl

wget http://search.cpan.org/CPAN/authors/id/R/RJ/RJBS/perl-5.16.0.tar.gz
tar -xzf perl-5.16.0.tar.gz
cd perl-5.16.0
./Configure -des -Dprefix=$HOME/usr/local
make test
sudo make install

then add:

export PATH=$HOME/usr/local/bin/:$PATH

as result you will get:

 $ perl -v 
 $ perl 5.16

Old perl version is still locate here: /usr/bin/perl

new Perl version will be there: /usr/local/bin/perl

2. Work with CPAN modules

I suggest you install cpanminus (cpanm) for easy manage CPAN modules for new version of Perl.

wget http://search.cpan.org/CPAN/authors/id/M/MI/MIYAGAWA/App-cpanminus-1.5017.tar.gz
tar -xzf App-cpanminus-1.5017.tar.gz
cd App-cpanminus-1.5017
perl Make.pl
make test
sudo make install

After that you can install CPAN modules for your new version of Perl.


you may consider downloading .deb package and installing it from dpkg. the command for a .deb package:

dpkg -i my.deb

you may find the deb file for perl 5.12 in here https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/perl/5.12.3-6ubuntu4/+build/2483691 named: perl_5.12.3-6ubuntu4_i386.deb (3.4 MiB)

it will probably want another package and another one want another one..... recursively :) but it's always possible to install like this.

  • But it seems like a 32bit version right? I have a 64bit ubuntu.
    – Denzel
    Aug 16, 2012 at 3:22
  • also you may update your sources for apt and hopefully you'll find a newer version of perl. for example i just looked for a debian mirror (ftp.linux.org.tr/debian/pool/main/p/perl) and see perl 5.14 there
    – alpera
    Aug 16, 2012 at 3:23
  • you can find an 64bit version too, here it is: launchpadlibrarian.net/71084438/perl_5.12.3-6ubuntu3_amd64.deb ..by the way i dont like installing packages manually so use this process with your own risk, i'm not responsible if a critical machine breaks down. :)
    – alpera
    Aug 16, 2012 at 3:28
  • Yes, a breakdown can be horrible...
    – Denzel
    Aug 16, 2012 at 3:34
  • Because I am not using my own server now, too terrible.
    – Denzel
    Aug 16, 2012 at 3:35

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