Perl 5 version 6.2 documentation



README.epoc - Perl for EPOC


Perl 5 README file for the EPOC operating system.


EPOC is a OS for palmtops and mobile phones. For more informations look at:

This is a port of perl to EPOC. It runs on ER5 machines: Psion 5mx, 5mx Pro, Psion Revo and on the Ericson M128. I have no report about the Psion Netbook or the S7. It runs on ER3 Hardware (Series 5 classic), too. For more information about this hardware please refer to

Vendors which like to have support for their devices are free to send me a sample.


You can download a ready-to-install version from You may find other versions with some CPAN modules included at this location.

You will need at least 4MB free space in order to install and run perl.

Install perl.sis on the EPOC machine. If you do not know how to do that, consult your PsiWin documentation.

Perl itself and its standard library is using 2.9 MB disk space. Unicode support and some other modules are left out. (For details, please look into epoc/ If you like to use these modules, you are free to copy them from a current perl release.


For ER5 machines, you can get the software Perlstart It contains file recognizers for files with the extension .pl and .pm. With it you can start perl with a double click on the camel icon. Be sure to configure the perl installation drive first. You can even provide a script with a special commandline, if needed.

Alternativly you can get ESHELL from symbian:

Running ESHELL you can enter: perl -de 0 in order to run the perl debugger. If you are leaving perl, you get into the system screen. You have to switch back manually to ESHELL. When perl is running, you will see a task with the name STDOUT in the task list.

If you have a ER3 machine (i.e. a PSION 5), you may have to supply the full path to the perl executable C:\system\programs\perl.exe.

If you need to set the current directory of perl, please use the command line switch '-x'. See perlrun for details.


You can stop a running perl process in the task list by closing the application `STDOUT'. You cannot stop a running perl process if it has not written anyting to stdout or stderr! Be very cautious with I/O redirection. You will have to reboot the PDA!


I/O Redirection

You can redirect the output with the UNIX bourne shell syntax (this is built into perl rather then eshell) For instance the following command line will run the script with the output redirected to stdout_file, the errors to stderr_file and input from stdin_file.

perl >stdout_file <stdin_file 2>stderr_file

Alternatively you can use 2>&1 in order to add the standard error output to stdout.

PATH Names

ESHELL looks for executables in ?:/System/Programs. The SIS file installs perl in this special folder directory. The default drive and path are the same as folder the executable resides. The EPOC filesystem is case-preserving, not case-sensitive.

The EPOC estdlib uses the ?: syntax for establishing a search order: First in C: (RAM), then on D: (CF Card, if present) and last in Z: (ROM). For instance ?:\a.txt searches for C:\a.txt, D:\a.txt (and Z:\a.txt)

The perl @INC search path is implemented with '?:'. Your perl executable can live on a different drive than the perl library or even your scripts.

ESHELL paths have to be written with backslashes '\', file arguments to perl with slashes '/'. Remember that I/O redirection is done internally in perl, so please use slashes for redirects.

perl.exe C:/ >C:/output.txt


A suitable text editor can be downloaded from symbian


The built-in function EPOC::getcwd returns the current directory.


Features are left out, because of restrictions of the POSIX support in EPOC:

  • backquoting, pipes etc.

  • system() does not inherit ressources like: file descriptors, environment etc.

  • signal, kill, alarm. Do not try to use them. This may be impossible to implement on EPOC.

  • select is missing.

  • binmode does not exist. (No CR LF to LF translation for text files)

  • EPOC does not handle the notion of current drive and current directory very well (i.e. not at all, but it tries hard to emulate one) See PATH.

  • Heap is limited to 4MB.

  • Dynamic loading is not implemented.

Compiling Perl 5 on the EPOC cross compiling environment

Sorry, this is far too short.

  • You will need the C++ SDK from

  • You will need to set up the cross SDK from

  • You may have to adjust (cc, cppflags) to reflect your epoc and SDK location.

  • Get the Perl sources from your nearest CPAN site.

  • Unpack the sources.

  • Build a native perl from this sources... Make sure to save the miniperl executable as miniperl.native.

    Start again from scratch

    1. cp epoc/* .
    2. ./Configure -S
    3. make
    4. cp miniperl.native miniperl
    5. make
    6. make ext/Errno/pm_to_blib
    7. perl perlmain.o lib/auto/DynaLoader/DynaLoader.a \
    8. lib/auto/Data/Dumper/Dumper.a \
    9. lib/auto/File/Glob/Glob.a lib/auto/IO/IO.a \
    10. lib/auto/Socket/Socket.a \
    11. lib/auto/Fcntl/Fcntl.a lib/auto/Sys/Hostname/Hostname.a \
    12. perl.a `cat ext.libs`
    13. perl
    14. wine G:/bin/makesis perl.pkg perl.sis


I'm offering this port "as is". You can ask me questions, but I can't guarantee I'll be able to answer them.


Olaf Flebbe <>