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Perl: Finding A Perl Module’s Path


@INC and %INC provide data related to modules. @INC is an array of the paths for which Perl will locate a module’s source and load it into the program. %INC is a hash and contains the module name as a key, and the file it was loaded from as the value. It is worth noting that the module name is written in file-system style (This/That.pm) style as opposed to package-name style (This::That).

Finding the path that a given module is loaded from is as simple as loading the module and asking for the contains of %INC:

$ perl -MList::Util -e’print $_ . ” => ” . $INC{$_} . “n” for keys %INC’

-MList::Util translates into a use List::Util for the Perl one liner. If you wanted to know the path to LWP instead, you could use -MLWP just as easily.

Running the above command we get:

$ perl -MList::Util -e’print $_ . ” => ” . $INC{$_} . “n” for keys %INC’
XSLoader.pm => /usr/lib/perl/5.10/XSLoader.pm
warnings.pm => /usr/share/perl/5.10/warnings.pm
warnings/register.pm => /usr/share/perl/5.10/warnings/register.pm
Exporter.pm => /usr/share/perl/5.10/Exporter.pm
vars.pm => /usr/share/perl/5.10/vars.pm
strict.pm => /usr/share/perl/5.10/strict.pm
List/Util.pm => /usr/lib/perl/5.10/List/Util.pm

We now know that the file which is loaded for List::Util is /usr/lib/perl/5.10/List/Util.pm. If the amount of information in %INC is too much for you, you could instead ask for only the path to the Perl module which you want to know:

$ perl -MList::Util -e’print $INC{“List/Util.pm”} . “n”‘

We can of course write a tiny script to make this even more trivial.

use warnings;
use strict;

for my $module ( @ARGV ) {
my $package = $module;

# From This::That to This/That.pm
s/::///g, s/$/.pm/ for $module;

if ( require $module ) {
print $package . ” => ” . $INC{$module} . “n”;

And then pass the modules we want to know about to it:

$ ./fpm.pl List::Util DBI
List::Util => /usr/lib/perl/5.10/List/Util.pm
DBI => /usr/lib/perl5/DBI.pm

Using Perldoc To Find Perl Module’s Paths

Knowing how to find the path with Perl itself is immensely useful, though, a slightly simpler method is to use perldoc if it is installed.

$ perldoc -lm List::Util

The -l switch instructs perldoc to display the path for the file, instead of the POD itself. The -m switch instructs perldoc to display the entire file for a given module, even if it doesn’t have a POD.

The -m switch is important, as if the module does not have a POD associated with it, failing to use the -m switch is the difference between getting the path for the file and being told there is no documentation found.

While there are a number of methods to find this information, these are among the most simple and least error prone methods to identify the path to a Perl module you’re using. What’s your recommended method?

By: Symkat