Base 64-bit Cygwin now requires Perl?

Daniel Jensen
Thu Aug 15 20:39:00 GMT 2013

Warren Young wrote:

> Name a currently shipping Unixy system that does *not* have Perl installed by default. 

"default" seems to me to be the wrong thing to compare to cygwin base. I don't think most cygwin users would be pleased to see cygwin's base install inflated to mimic most distros' defaults, install gigabytes of GNOME/KDE stuff, etc.

FreeBSD's base system hasn't included Perl for a decade. Some of the other BSDs may not have it in base either; I'm not sure. Minimalist distros (e.g. TinyCore) and rescue distros (e.g. Parted Magic) routinely leave it out as well.

I guess groff needs perl for such things as the "chem" preprocessor for producing chemical structure diagrams. Not exactly what most people are looking for when they install man. Regular 32-bit cygwin groff doesn't require perl, with the result that typing "chem" at a command prompt on a base install results in '/usr/bin/env: perl: No such file or directory'. AFAIK nobody ever complained about that.

Some distros (e.g. Fedora) have a separate package for the groff stuff that requires perl. Other distros (e.g. Ubuntu) don't split the package but instead have perl as a "recommended," rather than required, dependency. I wish there were more of a way cygwin packages could take the latter route. Sometimes it'd be better to let software fail when users try to use obscure functionality that depends on another package they didn't install rather than have the package manager be too smart by half and just install every package their software could ever make use of.

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