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If you read this file _as_is_, just ignore the funny characters you see.
It is written in the POD format (see pod/perlpod.pod) which is specially
designed to be readable as is.
=head1 NAME
README.symbian - Perl version 5 on Symbian OS
This document describes various features of the Symbian operating
system that will affect how Perl version 5 (hereafter just Perl)
is compiled and/or runs.
B<NOTE: this port (as of 0.4.1) does not compile into a Symbian
OS GUI application, but instead it results in a Symbian DLL.>
The DLL includes a C++ class called CPerlBase, which one can then
(derive from and) use to embed Perl into applications, see F<symbian/README>.
The base port of Perl to Symbian only implements the basic POSIX-like
functionality; it does not implement any further Symbian or Series 60,
Series 80, or UIQ bindings for Perl.
It is also possible to generate Symbian executables for "miniperl"
and "perl", but since there is no standard command line interface
for Symbian (nor full keyboards in the devices), these are useful
mainly as demonstrations.
=head2 Compiling Perl on Symbian
(0) You need to have the appropriate Symbian SDK installed.
These instructions have been tested under various Nokia Series 60
Symbian SDKs (1.2 to 2.6, 2.8 should also work, 1.2 compiles but
does not work), Series 80 2.0, and Nokia 7710 (Series 90) SDK.
You can get the SDKs from Forum Nokia (
A very rough port ("it compiles") to UIQ 2.1 has also been made.
A prerequisite for any of the SDKs is to install ActivePerl
from ActiveState,
Having the SDK installed also means that you need to have either
the Metrowerks CodeWarrior installed (2.8 and 3.0 were used in testing)
or the Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 installed (SP3 minimum, SP5 recommended).
Note that for example the Series 60 2.0 VC SDK installation talks
about ActivePerl build 518, which does no more (as of mid-2005) exist
at the ActiveState website. The ActivePerl 5.8.4 build 810 was
used successfully for compiling Perl on Symbian. The 5.6.x ActivePerls
do not work.
Other SDKs or compilers like Visual.NET, command-line-only
Visual.NET, Borland, GnuPoc, or sdk2unix have not been tried.
These instructions almost certainly won't work with older Symbian
releases or other SDKs. Patches to get this port running in other
releases, SDKs, compilers, platforms, or devices are naturally welcome.
(1) Get a Perl source code distribution (for example the file
perl-5.9.2.tar.gz is fine) from
and unpack it in your the C:/Symbian directory of your Windows
(2) Change to the perl source directory.
cd c:\Symbian\perl-5.x.x
(3) Run the following script using the perl coming with the SDK
perl symbian\
You must use the cmd.exe, the Cygwin shell will not work.
The PATH must include the SDK tools, including a Perl,
which should be the case under cmd.exe. If you do not
have that, see the end of symbian\ for notes of
how your environment should be set up for Symbian compiles.
(4) Build the project, either by
make all
in cmd.exe or by using either the Metrowerks CodeWarrior
or the Visual C++ 6.0, or the Visual Studio 8 (the Visual C++
2005 Express Edition works fine).
If you use the VC IDE, you will have to run F<symbian\>
first using the cmd.exe, and then run 'make' to generate
the VC6 makefiles and workspaces. "make vc6" will compile for the VC6,
and "make cw" for the CodeWarrior.
The following SDK and compiler configurations and Nokia phones were
tested at some point in time (+ = compiled and PerlApp run, - = not),
both for Perl 5.8.x and 5.9.x:
SDK | VC | CW |
S60 1.2 | + | + | 3650 (*)
S60 2.0 | + | + | 6600
S60 2.1 | - | + | 6670
S60 2.6 | + | + | 6630
S60 2.8 | + | + | (not tested in a device)
S80 2.6 | - | + | 9300
S90 1.1 | + | - | 7710
UIQ 2.1 | - | + | (not tested in a device)
(*) Compiles but does not work, unfortunately, a problem with Symbian.
If you are using the 'make' directly, it is the GNU make from the SDKs,
and it will invoke the right make commands for the Windows emulator
build and the Arm target builds ('thumb' by default) as necessary.
The build scripts assume the 'absolute style' SDK installs under C:,
the 'subst style' will not work.
If using the VC IDE, to build use for example the File->Open Workspace->
The emulator binaries will appear in the same directory.
If using the VC IDE, you will a lot of warnings in the beginning of
the build because a lot of headers mentioned by the source cannot
be found, but this is not serious since those headers are not used.
The Metrowerks will give a lot of warnings about unused variables and
empty declarations, you can ignore those.
When the Windows and Arm DLLs are built do not be scared by a very long
messages whizzing by: it is the "export freeze" phase where the whole
(rather large) API of Perl is listed.
Once the build is completed you need to create the DLL SIS file by
make perldll.sis
which will create the file perlXYZ.sis (the XYZ being the Perl version)
which you can then install into your Symbian device: an easy way
to do this is to send them via Bluetooth or infrared and just open
the messages.
Since the total size of all Perl SIS files once installed is
over 2 MB, it is recommended to do the installation into a
memory card (drive E:) instead of the C: drive.
The size of the perlXYZ.SIS is about 370 kB but once it is in the
device it is about one 750 kB (according to the application manager).
The perlXYZ.sis includes only the Perl DLL: to create an additional
SIS file which includes some of the standard (pure) Perl libraries,
issue the command
make perllib.sis
Some of the standard Perl libraries are included, but not all:
see L</HISTORY> or F<symbian\install.cfg> for more details
(250 kB -> 700 kB).
Some of the standard Perl XS extensions (see L</HISTORY> are
also available:
make perlext.sis
which will create perlXYZext.sis (290 kB -> 770 kB).
To compile the demonstration application PerlApp you need first to
install the Perl headers under the SDK.
To install the Perl headers and the class CPerlBase documentation
so that you no more need the Perl sources around to compile Perl
applications using the SDK:
make sdkinstall
The destination directory is C:\Symbian\perl\X.Y.Z. For more
details, see F<symbian\PerlBase.pod>.
Once the headers have been installed, you can create a SIS for
the PerlApp:
make perlapp.sis
The perlapp.sis (11 kB -> 16 kB) will be built in the symbian
subdirectory, but a copy will also be made to the main directory.
If you want to package the Perl DLLs (one for WINS, one for ARMI),
the headers, and the documentation:
which will create that can be used in another
Windows system with the SDK, without having to compile Perl in
that system.
If you want to package the PerlApp sources:
If you want to package the perl.exe and miniperl.exe, you
can use the perlexe.sis and miniperlexe.sis make targets.
You also probably want the perllib.sis for the libraries
and maybe even the perlapp.sis for the recognizer.
The make target 'allsis' combines all the above SIS targets.
To clean up after compilation you can use either of
make clean
make distclean
depending on how clean you want to be.
=head2 Compilation problems
If you see right after "make" this
cat >makefile
'cat' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.
it means you need to (re)run the symbian\
If you get the error
'perl' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.
you may need to reinstall the ActivePerl.
If you see this
The system cannot find the file specified.
C:\Symbian\...\make.exe: [rename_makedef] Error 1 (ignored)
please ignore it since it is nothing serious (the build process of
renames the Perl as to avoid confusing it
with a of the SDK).
=head2 PerlApp
The PerlApp application demonstrates how to embed Perl interpreters
to a Symbian application. The "Time" menu item runs the following
Perl code: C<print "Running in ", $^O, "\n", scalar localtime>,
the "Oneliner" allows one to type in Perl code, and the "Run"
opens a file chooser for selecting a Perl file to run.
The PerlApp also is started when the "Perl recognizer" (also included
and installed) detects a Perl file being activated througg the GUI,
and offers either to install it under \Perl (if the Perl file is in
the inbox of the messaging application) or to run it (if the Perl file
is under \Perl).
In the symbian subdirectory there is utility which can be
used to package Perl scripts and/or Perl library directories into SIS
files, which can be installed to the device. To run the
utility, you will need to have the 'makesis' and 'uidcrc' utilities
already installed. If you don't have the Win32 SDKs, you may try
for example or
=head2 Using Perl in Symbian
First of all note that you have full access to the Symbian device
when using Perl: you can do a lot of damage to your device (like
removing system files) unless you are careful. Please do take
backups before doing anything.
The Perl port has been done for the most part using the Symbian
standard POSIX-ish STDLIB library. It is a reasonably complete
library, but certain corners of such emulation libraries that tend
to be left unimplemented on non-UNIX platforms have been left
unimplemented also this time: fork(), signals(), user/group ids,
select() working for sockets, non-blocking sockets, and so forth.
See the file symbian/ and look for 'undef' to find the
unsupported APIs (or from Perl use Config).
The filesystem of Symbian devices uses DOSish syntax, "drives"
separated from paths by a colon, and backslashes for the path. The
exact assignment of the drives probably varies between platforms, but
for example in Series 60 you might see C: as the (flash) main memory,
D: as the RAM drive, E: as the memory card (MMC), Z: as the ROM. In
Series 80 D: is the memory card. As far the devices go the NUL: is
the bit bucket, the COMx: are the serial lines, IRCOMx: are the IR
ports, TMP: might be C:\System\Temp. Remember to double those
backslashes in doublequoted strings.
The Perl DLL is installed in \System\Libs\. The Perl libraries and
extension DLLs are installed in \System\Libs\Perl\X.Y.Z\. The PerlApp
is installed in \System\Apps\, and the SIS also installs a couple of
demo scripts in \Perl\ (C:\Mydocs\Perl\ on Nokia 7710).
Note that the Symbian filesystem is very picky: it strongly prefers
the \ instead of the /.
When doing XS / Symbian C++ programming include first the Symbian
headers, then any standard C/POSIX headers, then Perl headers, and finally
any application headers.
New() and Copy() are unfortunately used by both Symbian and Perl code
so you'll have to play cpp games if you need them. PerlBase.h undefines
the Perl definitions and redefines them as PerlNew() and PerlCopy().
=head1 TO DO
Lots. See F<symbian\TODO>.
=head1 WARNING
As of Perl Symbian port version 0.4.1 any part of Perl's standard
regression test suite has not been run on a real Symbian device using
the ported Perl, so innumerable bugs may lie in wait. Therefore there
is absolutely no warranty.
=head1 NOTE
When creating and extending application programming interfaces (APIs)
for Symbian or Series 60 or Series 80 or Series 90 it is suggested
that trademarks, registered trademarks, or trade names are not used in
the API names. Instead, developers should consider basing the API
naming in the existing (C++, or maybe Java) public component and API
naming, modified as appropriate by the rules of the programming
language the new APIs are for.
Nokia is a registered trademark of Nokia Corporation. Nokia's product
names are trademarks or registered trademarks of Nokia. Other product
and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks or trade names of
their respective owners.
=head1 AUTHOR
Jarkko Hietaniemi
Copyright (c) 2004-2005 Nokia. All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 2006-2007 Jarkko Hietaniemi.
=head1 LICENSE
The Symbian port is licensed under the same terms as Perl itself.
=head1 HISTORY
=over 4
=item *
0.1.0: April 2005
(This will show as "0.01" in the Symbian Installer.)
- The console window is a very simple console indeed: one can
get the newline with "000" and the "C" button is a backspace.
Do not expect a terminal capable of vt100 or ANSI sequences.
The console is also "ASCII", you cannot input e.g. any accented
letters. Because of obvious physical constraints the console is
also very small: (in Nokia 6600) 22 columns, 17 rows.
- The following libraries are available:
AnyDBM_File AutoLoader base Carp Config Cwd constant
DynaLoader Exporter File::Spec integer lib strict Symbol
vars warnings XSLoader
- The following extensions are available:
attrs Compress::Zlib Cwd Data::Dumper Devel::Peek Digest::MD5 DynaLoader
Fcntl File::Glob Filter::Util::Call IO List::Util MIME::Base64
PerlIO::scalar PerlIO::via SDBM_File Socket Storable Time::HiRes
- The following extensions are missing for various technical reasons:
B ByteLoader Devel::DProf Devel::PPPort Encode GDBM_File
I18N::Langinfo IPC::SysV NDBM_File Opcode PerlIO::encoding POSIX
re Safe Sys::Hostname Sys::Syslog
threads threads::shared Unicode::Normalize
- Using MakeMaker or the Module::* to build and install modules
is not supported.
- Building XS other than the ones in the core is not supported.
Since this is 0.something release, any future releases are almost
guaranteed to be binary incompatible. As a sign of this the Symbian
symbol exports are kept unfrozen and the .def files fully rebuilt
every time.
=item *
0.2.0: October 2005
- Perl 5.9.3 (patch level 25741)
- Compress::Zlib and IO::Zlib supported
- added
We maintain the binary incompatibility.
=item *
0.3.0: October 2005
- Perl 5.9.3 (patch level 25911)
- Series 80 2.0 and UIQ 2.1 support
We maintain the binary incompatibility.
=item *
0.4.0: November 2005
- Perl 5.9.3 (patch level 26052)
- adding a sample Symbian extension
We maintain the binary incompatibility.
=item *
0.4.1: December 2006
- Perl 5.9.5-to-be (patch level 30002)
- added extensions: Compress/Raw/Zlib, Digest/SHA,
Hash/Util, Math/BigInt/FastCalc, Text/Soundex, Time/Piece
- port to S90 1.1 by alexander smishlajev
We maintain the binary incompatibility.
=item *
0.4.2: March 2007
- catchup with Perl 5.9.5-to-be (patch level 30812)
- tested to build with Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition
(which uses Microsoft Visual C 8, instead of the old VC6),
SDK used for testing S60_2nd_FP3 aka 8.1a
We maintain the binary incompatibility.