The CPAN's main purpose is to help programmers locate modules and programs not included in the Perl standard distribution. There is no formal bug tracking system, but there is a third-party bug tracking system that CPAN designated as the suggested official method of reporting issues with modules.Continuous development on modules is rare; many are abandoned by their authors, or go years between new versions being released.Some sites are major FTP servers which mirror lots of other software, but others are simply servers owned by companies that use Perl heavily.
They can release new versions of the module, and accept patches from the community to the module as their time permits.
On May 16, 2018, the Perl Foundation announced that org would be shut down on June 29, 2018 (after 19 years of operation), due to its aging codebase and maintenance burden.
Users will be transitioned and redirected to the third-party alternative Meta CPAN.
Most software on CPAN is free and open source software.
Like many programming languages, Perl has mechanisms to use external libraries of code, making one file contain common routines used by several programs. Perl modules are typically installed in one of several directories whose paths are placed in the Perl interpreter when it is first compiled; on Unix-like operating systems, common paths include /usr/lib/perl5, /usr/local/lib/perl5, and several of their subdirectories. Some of these perform bootstrapping tasks, such as , which is used for building and installing other extension modules; others, like CGI.pm, are merely commonly used. Forking, and creating competing modules for the same task or purpose, is common.