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README.solaris - Perl version 5 on Solaris systems


This document describes various features of Sun's Solaris operating system that will affect how Perl version 5 (hereafter just perl) is compiled and/or runs. Some issues relating to the older SunOS 4.x are also discussed, though they may be out of date.

For the most part, everything should just work.

Starting with Solaris 8, perl5.00503 (or higher) is supplied with the operating system, so you might not even need to build a newer version of perl at all. The Sun-supplied version is installed in /usr/perl5 with /usr/bin/perl pointing to /usr/perl5/bin/perl. Do not disturb that installation unless you really know what you are doing. If you remove the perl supplied with the OS, there is a good chance you will render some bits of your system inoperable. If you wish to install a newer version of perl, install it under a different prefix from /usr/perl5. Common prefixes to use are /usr/local and /opt/perl.

You may wish to put your version of perl in the PATH of all users by changing the link /usr/bin/perl. This is OK, as all Perl scripts shipped with Solaris use /usr/perl5/bin/perl.

Solaris Version Numbers.

For consistency with common usage, perl's Configure script performs some minor manipulations on the operating system name and version number as reported by uname. Here's a partial translation table:

             Sun:                      perl's Configure:
    uname    uname -r   Name           osname     osvers
    SunOS    4.1.3     Solaris 1.1     sunos      4.1.3
    SunOS    5.6       Solaris 2.6     solaris    2.6
    SunOS    5.8       Solaris 8       solaris    2.8  

The complete table can be found in the Sun Managers' FAQ under "9.1) Which Sun models run which versions of SunOS?".


There are many, many sources for Solaris information. A few of the important ones for perl:

Solaris FAQ

The Solaris FAQ is available at

The Sun Managers' FAQ is available at

Precompiled Binaries
Precompiled binaries, links to many sites, and much, much more is available at
Solaris Documentation
All Solaris documentation is available on-line at


File Extraction Problems on Solaris.

Be sure to use a tar program compiled under Solaris (not SunOS 4.x) to extract the perl-5.x.x.tar.gz file. Do not use GNU tar compiled for SunOS4 on Solaris. (GNU tar compiled for Solaris should be fine.) When you run SunOS4 binaries on Solaris, the run-time system magically alters pathnames matching m#lib/locale# so that when tar tries to create lib/, a file named lib/ gets created instead. If you found this advice too late and used a SunOS4-compiled tar anyway, you must find the incorrectly renamed file and move it back to lib/

Compiler and Related Tools on Solaris.

You must use an ANSI C compiler to build perl. Perl can be compiled with either Sun's add-on C compiler or with gcc. The C compiler that shipped with SunOS4 will not do.

=head3 Include /usr/ccs/bin/ in your PATH.

Several tools needed to build perl are located in /usr/ccs/bin/: ar, as, ld, and make. Make sure that /usr/ccs/bin/ is in your PATH.

You need to make sure the following packages are installed (this info is extracted from the Solaris FAQ):

for tools (sccs, lex, yacc, make, nm, truss, ld, as): SUNWbtool, SUNWsprot, SUNWtoo

for libraries & headers: SUNWhea, SUNWarc, SUNWlibm, SUNWlibms, SUNWdfbh, SUNWcg6h, SUNWxwinc, SUNWolinc

for 64 bit development: SUNWarcx, SUNWbtoox, SUNWdplx, SUNWscpux, SUNWsprox, SUNWtoox, SUNWlmsx, SUNWlmx, SUNWlibCx

If you are in doubt which package contains a file you are missing, try to find an installation that has that file. Then do a

	grep /my/missing/file /var/sadm/install/contents  

This will display a line like this:

/usr/include/sys/errno.h f none 0644 root bin 7471 37605 956241356 SUNWhea

The last item listed (SUNWhea in this example) is the package you need.

=head3 Avoid /usr/ucb/cc.

You don't need to have /usr/ucb/ in your PATH to build perl. If you want /usr/ucb/ in your PATH anyway, make sure that /usr/ucb/ is NOT in your PATH before the directory containing the right C compiler.

=head3 Sun's C Compiler

If you use Sun's C compiler, make sure the correct directory (usually /opt/SUNWspro/bin/) is in your PATH (before /usr/ucb/).

=head3 GCC

If you use gcc, make sure your installation is recent and complete. As a point of reference, perl-5.6.0 built fine with gcc-2.8.1 on both Solaris 2.6 and Solaris 8. You should Configure perl with

	sh Configure -Dcc=gcc  

If you have updated your Solaris version, you may also have to update your GCC. For example, if you are running Solaris 2.6 and your gcc is installed under /usr/local, check in /usr/local/lib/gcc-lib and make sure you have the appropriate directory, sparc-sun-solaris2.6/ or i386-pc-solaris2.6/. If gcc's directory is for a different version of Solaris than you are running, then you will need to rebuild gcc for your new version of Solaris.

You can get a precompiled version of gcc from Make sure you pick up the package for your Solaris release.

=head3 GNU as and GNU ld

The following information applies to gcc version 2. Volunteers to update it as appropropriate for gcc version 3 would be appreciated.

The versions of as and ld supplied with Solaris work fine for building perl. There is normally no need to install the GNU versions to compile perl.

If you decide to ignore this advice and use the GNU versions anyway, then be sure that they are relatively recent. Versions newer than 2.7 are apparently new enough. Older versions may have trouble with dynamic loading.

If you wish to use GNU ld, then you need to pass it the -Wl,-E flag. The hints/ file tries to do this automatically by executing the following commands:

	ccdlflags="$ccdlflags -Wl,-E"
	lddlflags="$lddlflags -Wl,-E -G"  

However, over the years, changes in gcc, GNU ld, and Solaris ld have made it difficult to automatically detect which ld ultimately gets called. You may have to manually edit and add the -Wl,-E flags yourself, or else run Configure interactively and add the flags at the appropriate prompts.

If your gcc is configured to use GNU as and ld but you want to use the Solaris ones instead to build perl, then you'll need to add -B/usr/ccs/bin/ to the gcc command line. One convenient way to do that is with

	sh Configure -Dcc='gcc -B/usr/ccs/bin/'  

Note that the trailing slash is required. This will result in some harmless warnings as Configure is run:

	gcc: file path prefix `/usr/ccs/bin/' never used  

These messages may safely be ignored. (Note that for a SunOS4 system, you must use -B/bin/ instead.)

Alternatively, you can use the GCC_EXEC_PREFIX environment variable to ensure that Sun's as and ld are used. Consult your gcc documentation for further information on the -B option and the GCC_EXEC_PREFIX variable.

=head3 GNU make

Sun's make works fine for building perl. If you wish to use GNU make anyway, be sure that the set-group-id bit is not set. If it is, then arrange your PATH so that /usr/ccs/bin/make is before GNU make or else have the system administrator disable the set-group-id bit on GNU make.

=head3 Avoid libucb.

Solaris provides some BSD-compatibility functions in /usr/ucblib/libucb.a. Perl will not build and run correctly if linked against -lucb since it contains routines that are incompatible with the standard Solaris libc. Normally this is not a problem since the solaris hints file prevents Configure from even looking in /usr/ucblib for libraries, and also explicitly omits -lucb.

Environment for Compiling Perl on Solaris

=head3 PATH

Make sure your PATH includes the compiler (/opt/SUNWspro/bin/ if you're using Sun's compiler) as well as /usr/ccs/bin/ to pick up the other development tools (such as make, ar, as, and ld). Make sure your path either doesn't include /usr/ucb or that it includes it after the compiler and compiler tools and other standard Solaris directories. You definitely don't want /usr/ucb/cc.


If you have the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable set, be sure that it does NOT include /lib or /usr/lib. If you will be building extensions that call third-party shared libraries (e.g. Berkeley DB) then make sure that your LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable includes the directory with that library (e.g. /usr/local/lib).

If you get an error message

	dlopen: stub interception failed  

it is probably because your LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable includes a directory which is a symlink to /usr/lib (such as /lib). The reason this causes a problem is quite subtle. The file actually *only* contains functions which generate 'stub interception failed' errors! The runtime linker intercepts links to "/usr/lib/" and links in internal implementations of those functions instead. [Thanks to Tim Bunce for this explanation.]


See the INSTALL file for general information regarding Configure. Only Solaris-specific issues are discussed here. Usually, the defaults should be fine.

64-bit Issues with Perl on Solaris.

See the INSTALL file for general information regarding 64-bit compiles. In general, the defaults should be fine for most people.

By default, perl-5.6.0 (or later) is compiled as a 32-bit application with largefile and long-long support.

=head3 General 32-bit vs. 64-bit issues.

Solaris 7 and above will run in either 32 bit or 64 bit mode on SPARC CPUs, via a reboot. You can build 64 bit apps whilst running 32 bit mode and vice-versa. 32 bit apps will run under Solaris running in either 32 or 64 bit mode. 64 bit apps require Solaris to be running 64 bit mode.

Existing 32 bit apps are properly known as LP32, i.e. Longs and Pointers are 32 bit. 64-bit apps are more properly known as LP64. The discriminating feature of a LP64 bit app is its ability to utilise a 64-bit address space. It is perfectly possible to have a LP32 bit app that supports both 64-bit integers (long long) and largefiles (> 2GB), and this is the default for perl-5.6.0.

For a more complete explanation of 64-bit issues, see the Solaris 64-bit Developer's Guide at

You can detect the OS mode using "isainfo -v", e.g.

      fubar$ isainfo -v   # Ultra 30 in 64 bit mode
      64-bit sparcv9 applications
      32-bit sparc applications  

By default, perl will be compiled as a 32-bit application. Unless you want to allocate more than ~ 4GB of memory inside Perl, you probably don't need Perl to be a 64-bit app.

=head3 Large File Support

For Solaris 2.6 and onwards, there are two different ways for 32-bit applications to manipulate large files (files whose size is > 2GByte). (A 64-bit application automatically has largefile support built in by default.)

First is the "transitional compilation environment", described in lfcompile64(5). According to the man page,

    The transitional compilation  environment  exports  all  the
    explicit 64-bit functions (xxx64()) and types in addition to
    all the regular functions (xxx()) and types. Both xxx()  and
    xxx64()  functions  are  available to the program source.  A
    32-bit application must use the xxx64() functions in  order
    to  access  large  files.  See the lf64(5) manual page for a
    complete listing of the 64-bit transitional interfaces.  

The transitional compilation environment is obtained with the following compiler and linker flags:

    getconf LFS64_CFLAGS        -D_LARGEFILE64_SOURCE
    getconf LFS64_LDFLAG        # nothing special needed
    getconf LFS64_LIBS          # nothing special needed  

Second is the "large file compilation environment", described in lfcompile(5). According to the man page,

    Each interface named xxx() that needs to access 64-bit entities
    to  access  large  files maps to a xxx64() call in the
    resulting binary. All relevant data types are defined to  be
    of correct size (for example, off_t has a typedef definition
    for a 64-bit entity).

    An application compiled in this environment is able  to  use
    the  xxx()  source interfaces to access both large and small
    files, rather than having to explicitly utilize the  transitional
    xxx64()  interface  calls to access large files.  

Two exceptions are fseek() and ftell(). 32-bit applications should use fseeko(3C) and ftello(3C). These will get automatically mapped to fseeko64() and ftello64().

The large file compilation environment is obtained with

	getconf LFS_LDFLAGS     # nothing special needed
	getconf LFS_LIBS        # nothing special needed  

By default, perl uses the large file compilation environment and relies on Solaris to do the underlying mapping of interfaces.

=head3 Building an LP64 Perl

To compile a 64-bit application on an UltraSparc with a recent Sun Compiler, you need to use the flag "-xarch=v9". getconf(1) will tell you this, e.g.

      fubar$ getconf -a | grep v9
      XBS5_LP64_OFF64_CFLAGS:         -xarch=v9
      XBS5_LP64_OFF64_LDFLAGS:        -xarch=v9
      XBS5_LP64_OFF64_LINTFLAGS:      -xarch=v9
      XBS5_LPBIG_OFFBIG_CFLAGS:       -xarch=v9
      XBS5_LPBIG_OFFBIG_LDFLAGS:      -xarch=v9
      XBS5_LPBIG_OFFBIG_LINTFLAGS:    -xarch=v9
      _XBS5_LP64_OFF64_CFLAGS:        -xarch=v9
      _XBS5_LP64_OFF64_LDFLAGS:       -xarch=v9
      _XBS5_LP64_OFF64_LINTFLAGS:     -xarch=v9
      _XBS5_LPBIG_OFFBIG_CFLAGS:      -xarch=v9
      _XBS5_LPBIG_OFFBIG_LDFLAGS:     -xarch=v9
      _XBS5_LPBIG_OFFBIG_LINTFLAGS:   -xarch=v9  

This flag is supported in Sun WorkShop Compilers 5.0 and onwards (now marketed under the name Forte) when used on Solaris 7 or later on UltraSparc systems.

If you are using gcc, you would need to use -mcpu=v9 -m64 instead. This option is not yet supported as of gcc 2.95.2; from install/SPECIFIC in that release:

GCC version 2.95 is not able to compile code correctly for sparc64 targets. Users of the Linux kernel, at least, can use the sparc32 program to start up a new shell invocation with an environment that causes configure to recognize (via uname -a) the system as sparc-*-* instead.

All this should be handled automatically by the hints file, if requested.

=head3 Long Doubles.

As of 5.6.0, long doubles are not working.

Threads in Perl on Solaris.

It is possible to build a threaded version of perl on Solaris. The entire perl thread implementation is still experimental, however, so beware. Perl uses the sched_yield(3RT) function. In versions of Solaris up to 2.6, that function is in -lposix4. Starting with Solaris 7, it is in -lrt. The hints file should handle adding this automatically.

Malloc Issues with Perl on Solaris.

Starting from Perl 5.7.1 Perl uses the Solaris malloc, since the perl malloc breaks when dealing with more than 2GB of memory, and the Solaris malloc also seems to be faster.

If you for some reason (such as binary backward compatibility) really need to use perl's malloc, you can rebuild Perl from the sources and Configure the build with

	sh Configure -Dusemymalloc  

You should not use perl's malloc if you are building with gcc. There are reports of core dumps, especially in the PDL module. The problem appears to go away under -DDEBUGGING, so it has been difficult to track down. Sun's compiler appears to be okay with or without perl's malloc. [XXX further investigation is needed here.]


Dynamic Loading Problems With GNU as and GNU ld
If you have problems with dynamic loading using gcc on SunOS or Solaris, and you are using GNU as and GNU ld, see the section "GNU as and GNU ld" above. ./perl: fatal: relocation error:
If you get this message on SunOS or Solaris, and you're using gcc, it's probably the GNU as or GNU ld problem in the previous item "GNU as and GNU ld".
dlopen: stub interception failed
The primary cause of the 'dlopen: stub interception failed' message is that the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable includes a directory which is a symlink to /usr/lib (such as /lib). See "LD_LIBRARY_PATH" above.
#error "No DATAMODEL_NATIVE specified"
This is a common error when trying to build perl on Solaris 2.6 with a gcc installation from Solaris 2.5 or 2.5.1. The Solaris header files changed, so you need to update your gcc installation. You can either rerun the fixincludes script from gcc or take the opportunity to update your gcc installation.
sh: ar: not found
This is a message from your shell telling you that the command 'ar' was not found. You need to check your PATH environment variable to make sure that it includes the directory with the 'ar' command. This is a common problem on Solaris, where 'ar' is in the /usr/ccs/bin/ directory.


op/stat.t test 4 in Solaris

op/stat.t test 4 may fail if you are on a tmpfs of some sort. Building in /tmp sometimes shows this behavior. The test suite detects if you are building in /tmp, but it may not be able to catch all tmpfs situations.

nss_delete core dump from op/pwent or op/grent

See perlhpux/"nss_delete core dump from op/pwent or op/grent".


You can pick up prebuilt binaries for Solaris from, ActiveState, and under the Binaries list at the top of the page. There are probably other sources as well. Please note that these sites are under the control of their respective owners, not the perl developers.


Limits on Numbers of Open Files on Solaris.

The stdio(3C) manpage notes that only 255 files may be opened using fopen(), and only file descriptors 0 through 255 can be used in a stream. Since perl calls open() and then fdopen(3C) with the resulting file descriptor, perl is limited to 255 simultaneous open files.


See the modules under the Solaris:: namespace on CPAN,


Proc::ProcessTable on Solaris

Proc::ProcessTable does not compile on Solaris with perl5.6.0 and higher if you have LARGEFILES defined. Since largefile support is the default in 5.6.0 and later, you have to take special steps to use this module.

The problem is that various structures visible via procfs use off_t, and if you compile with largefile support these change from 32 bits to 64 bits. Thus what you get back from procfs doesn't match up with the structures in perl, resulting in garbage. See proc(4) for further discussion.

A fix for Proc::ProcessTable is to edit Makefile to explicitly remove the largefile flags from the ones MakeMaker picks up from This will result in Proc::ProcessTable being built under the correct environment. Everything should then be OK as long as Proc::ProcessTable doesn't try to share off_t's with the rest of perl, or if it does they should be explicitly specified as off64_t.

BSD::Resource on Solaris

BSD::Resource versions earlier than 1.09 do not compile on Solaris with perl 5.6.0 and higher, for the same reasons as Proc::ProcessTable. BSD::Resource versions starting from 1.09 have a workaround for the problem.

Net::SSLeay on Solaris

Net::SSLeay requires a /dev/urandom to be present. This device is not part of Solaris. You can either get the package SUNWski (packaged with several Sun software products, for example the Sun WebServer, which is part of the Solaris Server Intranet Extension, or the Sun Directory Services, part of Solaris for ISPs) or download the ANDIrand package from If you use SUNWski, make a symbolic link /dev/urandom pointing to /dev/random.

It may be possible to use the Entropy Gathering Daemon (written in Perl!), available from


The original was written by Andy Dougherty drawing heavily on advice from Alan Burlison, Nick Ing-Simmons, Tim Bunce, and many other Solaris users over the years.

Please report any errors, updates, or suggestions to


$Id: README.solaris,v 1.4 2000/11/11 20:29:58 doughera Exp $




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