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I'm migrating from a Solaris server with Perl 5.6.1 to a Redhat Linux server with Perl 5.8.8 .

My stance is that we keep the newer version of Perl and do not downgrade to the older version to avoid compatibility issues with any scripts as the compatibility issues with downgrading the OS default install would be worse.

My assumption is that Redhat Linux could be dependent on Perl somewhere and if the older version is necessary we should explicitly make a named binary perl561 so that users can choose to use the older version if they need it.

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You should not replace the system perl; this will definitely lead to issues with any installed system packages that assume you have a different Perl version than the system has. So if you NEED to have a perl 5.6.x, then you should install one next to the system perl. You can use tools as Perlbrew for this.

Also please note that typically you would not need a specific version of perl; scripts that run on 5.6 would normally run on 5.8 without problems as well. It's not like Python in that regard.

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  • You're correct: don't remove the system perl, and do use perlbrew to install a specific version if you require one. That said, 5.6 to 5.8 was a pretty big forward leap for perl (as compared to, say, 5.10-5.12), so testing is definitely in order. – Jeff Albert Mar 22 '12 at 22:15
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Some of the other packages are, but the system stuff itself cares more about the Python version instead.

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