Updated: 06/30/2019 by Computer Hope

Perl may refer to any of the following:

Perl logo

1. Perl is an interpreted, free, open source programming language first developed by Larry Wall in 1987. It is very similar in structure to the C language. Perl is one of the more commonly used languages in writing CGI scripts and programming for Internet and web page applications. Below is an example of a Perl script that prints "Hello World!".

print "Hello World!\n";

Files that include Perl code on a web server may have any file extension, however, commonly they end in .CGI, .PL, or .PLX.

If you're running a Linux distro, often Perl is already installed on the computer. However, if you're using macOS or Microsoft Windows, you need to download and install a Perl client. We recommend ActiveState or Strawberry for Perl, available from the links below.


Perl is not an acronym, but is often referred to the backronym "Practical Extraction and Reporting Language."

2. Perl is also a Linux command. See the perl command page for further information, overview, and syntax of this command.

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