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Virtual Machine

We use a virtual machine in class. While you are welcome to program on your own computer, your files MUST run in the virtual machine. It is a good idea to work there, but if you don't, you should test often.

You can access the virtual machine at https://ischoolvcl.umd.edu.

  • The first time you log in, you should click "Create Server" next to our class on the list.
  • Click “Start server” and wait for it to start. This can take a few minutes.
  • Once it has started, click the “Download RDP File” button
  • Locate the file and run it
  • Login with the password inst743 (yes, that is the incorrect class prefix, but it’s what you need to use) and password perl
  • When you are done, come back to this page and click "Stop Server". Your work will be saved in your directory on the server.
In the window at the bottom, click the second item, “Terminal Emulator” From there, you can do all the commands you need to run your code. To edit code, you can use Sublime Text 2 which is on the desktop.

Perl on your own machine

You will need libraries and other things I have installed on the Virtual Machine. However, if you want to test your files on your own machine before moving them to the virtual machine, you can install your own version of perl. NOTE: I am only going to support perl on the virtual machine (which means I can't help you if you install it or debug it locally - there are too many variables), so you are pretty much on your own if you go this route.

If you have a Mac, perl is already on your machine. Go to the Terminal application. You can run perl on the command line there just like on the virtual machine.

If you have Windows, you might try ActivePerl.


  • Programming perl from O'Reilly Press. This is the reference I use. It's invaluable.
  • Learning Perl - This provides more examples and description than the Programming perl book, but I'd recommend getting both to have a more thorough reference.

Websites For Everyone

  • CPAN - the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network, which has tons of perl modules to help you do exciting things.
  • Perl.org - documentation, tutorials, books, code, etc. A great resource.

Software For Windows

Software For Mac

  • TextWrangler - a free text editing program you can use to write perl scripts. It color codes your code and everything.
  • Fugu - secure ftp for mac