man pages section 1: User Commands

Exit Print View

Updated: July 2014

perlsymbian (1)


perlsymbian - Perl version 5 on Symbian OS


Please see following description for synopsis


Perl Programmers Reference Guide                   PERLSYMBIAN(1)

     README.symbian - Perl version 5 on Symbian OS

     This document describes various features of the Symbian
     operating system that will affect how Perl version 5
     (hereafter just Perl) is compiled and/or runs.

     NOTE: this port (as of 0.4.1) does not compile into a
     Symbian OS GUI application, but instead it results in a
     Symbian DLL.  The DLL includes a C++ class called CPerlBase,
     which one can then (derive from and) use to embed Perl into
     applications, see symbian/README.

     The base port of Perl to Symbian only implements the basic
     POSIX-like functionality; it does not implement any further
     Symbian or Series 60, Series 80, or UIQ bindings for Perl.

     It is also possible to generate Symbian executables for
     "miniperl" and "perl", but since there is no standard
     command line interface for Symbian (nor full keyboards in
     the devices), these are useful mainly as demonstrations.

  Compiling Perl on Symbian
     (0) You need to have the appropriate Symbian SDK installed.

         These instructions have been tested under various Nokia Series 60
         Symbian SDKs (1.2 to 2.6, 2.8 should also work, 1.2 compiles but
         does not work), Series 80 2.0, and Nokia 7710 (Series 90) SDK.
         You can get the SDKs from Forum Nokia (
         A very rough port ("it compiles") to UIQ 2.1 has also been made.

         A prerequisite for any of the SDKs is to install ActivePerl
         from ActiveState,

         Having the SDK installed also means that you need to have either
         the Metrowerks CodeWarrior installed (2.8 and 3.0 were used in testing)
         or the Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 installed (SP3 minimum, SP5 recommended).

         Note that for example the Series 60 2.0 VC SDK installation talks
         about ActivePerl build 518, which does no more (as of mid-2005) exist
         at the ActiveState website.  The ActivePerl 5.8.4 build 810 was
         used successfully for compiling Perl on Symbian.  The 5.6.x ActivePerls
         do not work.

         Other SDKs or compilers like Visual.NET, command-line-only
         Visual.NET, Borland, GnuPoc, or sdk2unix have not been tried.

         These instructions almost certainly won't work with older Symbian
         releases or other SDKs.  Patches to get this port running in other
         releases, SDKs, compilers, platforms, or devices are naturally welcome.

perl v5.12.5         Last change: 2012-11-03                    1

Perl Programmers Reference Guide                   PERLSYMBIAN(1)

     (1) Get a Perl source code distribution (for example the
         perl-5.9.2.tar.gz is fine) from
         and unpack it in your the C:/Symbian directory of your

     (2) Change to the perl source directory.

             cd c:\Symbian\perl-5.x.x

     (3) Run the following script using the perl coming with the

             perl symbian\

         You must use the cmd.exe, the Cygwin shell will not work.
         The PATH must include the SDK tools, including a Perl,
         which should be the case under cmd.exe.  If you do not
         have that, see the end of symbian\ for notes of
         how your environment should be set up for Symbian compiles.

     (4) Build the project, either by

             make all

         in cmd.exe or by using either the Metrowerks CodeWarrior
         or the Visual C++ 6.0, or the Visual Studio 8 (the Visual C++
         2005 Express Edition works fine).

         If you use the VC IDE, you will have to run F<symbian\>
         first using the cmd.exe, and then run 'make' to generate
         the VC6 makefiles and workspaces.  "make vc6" will compile for the VC6,
         and "make cw" for the CodeWarrior.

         The following SDK and compiler configurations and Nokia phones were
         tested at some point in time (+ = compiled and PerlApp run, - = not),
         both for Perl 5.8.x and 5.9.x:

             SDK     | VC | CW |
             S60 1.2 | +  | +  | 3650 (*)
             S60 2.0 | +  | +  | 6600
             S60 2.1 | -  | +  | 6670
             S60 2.6 | +  | +  | 6630
             S60 2.8 | +  | +  | (not tested in a device)
             S80 2.6 | -  | +  | 9300
             S90 1.1 | +  | -  | 7710
             UIQ 2.1 | -  | +  | (not tested in a device)

         (*) Compiles but does not work, unfortunately, a problem with Symbian.

perl v5.12.5         Last change: 2012-11-03                    2

Perl Programmers Reference Guide                   PERLSYMBIAN(1)

         If you are using the 'make' directly, it is the GNU make from the SDKs,
         and it will invoke the right make commands for the Windows emulator
         build and the Arm target builds ('thumb' by default) as necessary.

         The build scripts assume the 'absolute style' SDK installs under C:,
         the 'subst style' will not work.

         If using the VC IDE, to build use for example the File->Open Workspace->
         The emulator binaries will appear in the same directory.

         If using the VC IDE, you will a lot of warnings in the beginning of
         the build because a lot of headers mentioned by the source cannot
         be found, but this is not serious since those headers are not used.

         The Metrowerks will give a lot of warnings about unused variables and
         empty declarations, you can ignore those.

         When the Windows and Arm DLLs are built do not be scared by a very long
         messages whizzing by: it is the "export freeze" phase where the whole
         (rather large) API of Perl is listed.

         Once the build is completed you need to create the DLL SIS file by

             make perldll.sis

         which will create the file perlXYZ.sis (the XYZ being the Perl version)
         which you can then install into your Symbian device: an easy way
         to do this is to send them via Bluetooth or infrared and just open
         the messages.

         Since the total size of all Perl SIS files once installed is
         over 2 MB, it is recommended to do the installation into a
         memory card (drive E:) instead of the C: drive.

         The size of the perlXYZ.SIS is about 370 kB but once it is in the
         device it is about one 750 kB (according to the application manager).

         The perlXYZ.sis includes only the Perl DLL: to create an additional
         SIS file which includes some of the standard (pure) Perl libraries,
         issue the command

             make perllib.sis

         Some of the standard Perl libraries are included, but not all:
         see L</HISTORY> or F<symbian\install.cfg> for more details
         (250 kB -> 700 kB).

         Some of the standard Perl XS extensions (see L</HISTORY> are
         also available:

             make perlext.sis

perl v5.12.5         Last change: 2012-11-03                    3

Perl Programmers Reference Guide                   PERLSYMBIAN(1)

         which will create perlXYZext.sis (290 kB -> 770 kB).

         To compile the demonstration application PerlApp you need first to
         install the Perl headers under the SDK.

         To install the Perl headers and the class CPerlBase documentation
         so that you no more need the Perl sources around to compile Perl
         applications using the SDK:

             make sdkinstall

         The destination directory is C:\Symbian\perl\X.Y.Z.  For more
         details, see F<symbian\PerlBase.pod>.

         Once the headers have been installed, you can create a SIS for
         the PerlApp:

             make perlapp.sis

         The perlapp.sis (11 kB -> 16 kB) will be built in the symbian
         subdirectory, but a copy will also be made to the main directory.

         If you want to package the Perl DLLs (one for WINS, one for ARMI),
         the headers, and the documentation:


         which will create that can be used in another
         Windows system with the SDK, without having to compile Perl in
         that system.

         If you want to package the PerlApp sources:


         If you want to package the perl.exe and miniperl.exe, you
         can use the perlexe.sis and miniperlexe.sis make targets.
         You also probably want the perllib.sis for the libraries
         and maybe even the perlapp.sis for the recognizer.

         The make target 'allsis' combines all the above SIS targets.

         To clean up after compilation you can use either of

             make clean
             make distclean

         depending on how clean you want to be.

  Compilation problems
     If you see right after "make" this

perl v5.12.5         Last change: 2012-11-03                    4

Perl Programmers Reference Guide                   PERLSYMBIAN(1)

         cat >makefile
         'cat' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
         operable program or batch file.

     it means you need to (re)run the symbian\

     If you get the error

             'perl' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
             operable program or batch file.

     you may need to reinstall the ActivePerl.

     If you see this

         The system cannot find the file specified.
         C:\Symbian\...\make.exe: [rename_makedef] Error 1 (ignored)

     please ignore it since it is nothing serious (the build
     process of renames the Perl as to
     avoid confusing it with a of the SDK).

     The PerlApp application demonstrates how to embed Perl
     interpreters to a Symbian application.  The "Time" menu item
     runs the following Perl code: "print "Running in ", $^O,
     "\n", scalar localtime", the "Oneliner" allows one to type
     in Perl code, and the "Run" opens a file chooser for
     selecting a Perl file to run.

     The PerlApp also is started when the "Perl recognizer" (also
     included and installed) detects a Perl file being activated
     througg the GUI, and offers either to install it under \Perl
     (if the Perl file is in the inbox of the messaging
     application) or to run it (if the Perl file is under \Perl).
     In the symbian subdirectory there is utility which
     can be used to package Perl scripts and/or Perl library
     directories into SIS files, which can be installed to the
     device.  To run the utility, you will need to have
     the 'makesis' and 'uidcrc' utilities already installed.  If
     you don't have the Win32 SDKs, you may try for example or

  Using Perl in Symbian
     First of all note that you have full access to the Symbian
     device when using Perl: you can do a lot of damage to your
     device (like removing system files) unless you are careful.
     Please do take backups before doing anything.

perl v5.12.5         Last change: 2012-11-03                    5

Perl Programmers Reference Guide                   PERLSYMBIAN(1)

     The Perl port has been done for the most part using the
     Symbian standard POSIX-ish STDLIB library. It is a
     reasonably complete library, but certain corners of such
     emulation libraries that tend to be left unimplemented on
     non-UNIX platforms have been left unimplemented also this
     time: fork(), signals(), user/group ids, select() working
     for sockets, non-blocking sockets, and so forth.  See the
     file symbian/ and look for 'undef' to find the
     unsupported APIs (or from Perl use Config).

     The filesystem of Symbian devices uses DOSish syntax,
     "drives" separated from paths by a colon, and backslashes
     for the path.  The exact assignment of the drives probably
     varies between platforms, but for example in Series 60 you
     might see C: as the (flash) main memory, D: as the RAM
     drive, E: as the memory card (MMC), Z: as the ROM.  In
     Series 80 D: is the memory card.  As far the devices go the
     NUL: is the bit bucket, the COMx: are the serial lines,
     IRCOMx: are the IR ports, TMP: might be C:\System\Temp.
     Remember to double those backslashes in doublequoted

     The Perl DLL is installed in \System\Libs\.  The Perl
     libraries and extension DLLs are installed in
     \System\Libs\Perl\X.Y.Z\.  The PerlApp is installed in
     \System\Apps\, and the SIS also installs a couple of demo
     scripts in \Perl\ (C:\Mydocs\Perl\ on Nokia 7710).

     Note that the Symbian filesystem is very picky: it strongly
     prefers the \ instead of the /.

     When doing XS / Symbian C++ programming include first the
     Symbian headers, then any standard C/POSIX headers, then
     Perl headers, and finally any application headers.

     New() and Copy() are unfortunately used by both Symbian and
     Perl code so you'll have to play cpp games if you need them.
     PerlBase.h undefines the Perl definitions and redefines them
     as PerlNew() and PerlCopy().

     Lots.  See symbian\TODO.

     As of Perl Symbian port version 0.4.1 any part of Perl's
     standard regression test suite has not been run on a real
     Symbian device using the ported Perl, so innumerable bugs
     may lie in wait.  Therefore there is absolutely no warranty.

     When creating and extending application programming
     interfaces (APIs) for Symbian or Series 60 or Series 80 or

perl v5.12.5         Last change: 2012-11-03                    6

Perl Programmers Reference Guide                   PERLSYMBIAN(1)

     Series 90 it is suggested that trademarks, registered
     trademarks, or trade names are not used in the API names.
     Instead, developers should consider basing the API naming in
     the existing (C++, or maybe Java) public component and API
     naming, modified as appropriate by the rules of the
     programming language the new APIs are for.

     Nokia is a registered trademark of Nokia Corporation.
     Nokia's product names are trademarks or registered
     trademarks of Nokia.  Other product and company names
     mentioned herein may be trademarks or trade names of their
     respective owners.

     Jarkko Hietaniemi

     Copyright (c) 2004-2005 Nokia.  All rights reserved.

     Copyright (c) 2006-2007 Jarkko Hietaniemi.

     The Symbian port is licensed under the same terms as Perl

     o   0.1.0: April 2005

         (This will show as "0.01" in the Symbian Installer.)

           - The console window is a very simple console indeed: one can
             get the newline with "000" and the "C" button is a backspace.
             Do not expect a terminal capable of vt100 or ANSI sequences.
             The console is also "ASCII", you cannot input e.g. any accented
             letters.  Because of obvious physical constraints the console is
             also very small: (in Nokia 6600) 22 columns, 17 rows.
           - The following libraries are available:
             AnyDBM_File AutoLoader base Carp Config Cwd constant
             DynaLoader Exporter File::Spec integer lib strict Symbol
             vars warnings XSLoader
           - The following extensions are available:
             attributes Compress::Zlib Cwd Data::Dumper Devel::Peek Digest::MD5 DynaLoader
             Fcntl File::Glob Filter::Util::Call IO List::Util MIME::Base64
             PerlIO::scalar PerlIO::via SDBM_File Socket Storable Time::HiRes
           - The following extensions are missing for various technical reasons:
             B ByteLoader Devel::DProf Devel::PPPort Encode GDBM_File
             I18N::Langinfo IPC::SysV NDBM_File Opcode PerlIO::encoding POSIX
             re Safe Sys::Hostname Sys::Syslog
             threads threads::shared Unicode::Normalize
           - Using MakeMaker or the Module::* to build and install modules
             is not supported.
           - Building XS other than the ones in the core is not supported.

perl v5.12.5         Last change: 2012-11-03                    7

Perl Programmers Reference Guide                   PERLSYMBIAN(1)

         Since this is 0.something release, any future releases
         are almost guaranteed to be binary incompatible.  As a
         sign of this the Symbian symbol exports are kept
         unfrozen and the .def files fully rebuilt every time.

     o   0.2.0: October 2005

           - Perl 5.9.3 (patch level 25741)
           - Compress::Zlib and IO::Zlib supported
           - added

         We maintain the binary incompatibility.

     o   0.3.0: October 2005

           - Perl 5.9.3 (patch level 25911)
           - Series 80 2.0 and UIQ 2.1 support

         We maintain the binary incompatibility.

     o   0.4.0: November 2005

           - Perl 5.9.3 (patch level 26052)
           - adding a sample Symbian extension

         We maintain the binary incompatibility.

     o   0.4.1: December 2006

           - Perl 5.9.5-to-be (patch level 30002)
           - added extensions: Compress/Raw/Zlib, Digest/SHA,
             Hash/Util, Math/BigInt/FastCalc, Text/Soundex, Time/Piece
           - port to S90 1.1 by alexander smishlajev

         We maintain the binary incompatibility.

     o   0.4.2: March 2007

           - catchup with Perl 5.9.5-to-be (patch level 30812)
           - tested to build with Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition
             (which uses Microsoft Visual C 8, instead of the old VC6),
             SDK used for testing S60_2nd_FP3 aka 8.1a

         We maintain the binary incompatibility.

     See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following

perl v5.12.5         Last change: 2012-11-03                    8

Perl Programmers Reference Guide                   PERLSYMBIAN(1)

     |Availability   | runtime/perl-512 |
     |Stability      | Uncommitted      |
     This software was built from source available at  The original
     community source was downloaded from

     Further information about this software can be found on the
     open source community website at

perl v5.12.5         Last change: 2012-11-03                    9