Feeds

Apple's Mac OS X update breaks Perl

Never trust a vendor

The Power of One Infographic

Apple's latest Mac OS X security update has a knack for breaking Perl, according to Mac users across the web.

"I've just done the update using Software update and just about everything I look at is working, except that perl seems to have gone almost AWOL," says one Mac OS X user, with a post to Apple's support forum.

"I seen it pop up occasionally in the Activity Monitor, but, when I try to run perl scripts from the command line or the cron jobs that ran flawlessly before the update, nothing happens. Period."

Two additional support forum visitors say they've experienced similar problems with the popular programming language following Mac updates, and others have complained of Perl breakage on a public Perl mailing list and an independent blog.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company released its Security Update 2009-001 on Thursday.

According to blogger Tatsuhiko Miyagawa, Perl breakage only occurs if you're running Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5), you're using the Perl distro baked into the OS, and you've updated the distro via CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network), a widely-used collection of existing Perl modules.

Miyagawa's post says the problem generates error messages that look something like this:

% perl -MIO IO object version 1.22 does not match bootstrap parameter 1.23 at /System/Library/Perl/5.8.8/darwin-thread-multi-2level/XSLoader.pm line 94.

Compilation failed in require. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted

This would indicate that Apple's security update reverts Mac Perl to an older IO object incompatible with newer CPAN modules. "The Security Update brings (old) IO.bundle with version 1.22 but your IO.pm has been updated to the latest 1.23 on CPAN shell. (But hey, 1.23 was released in 2006...Why do you bring that ancient version back, Apple!?)," Miyagawa writes.

The blogger claims you can fix the problem if you reload the IO module. But since Perl is broken, this takes a little finesse. "The fix is to update IO.pm to 1.23, but since IO.pm is now broken, you can't even run CPAN shell to do this (Ugh!). You need to go to CPAN and grab IO-1.2301.tar.gz, unpack it and run 'perl Makefile.PL; make; sudo make install' to fix this."

And one support forum poster says the fix is only a partial solution.

"This is another reason why you shouldn't use Perl that comes from vendors," Miyagawa says. "Apple isn't any different from Fedora on this!" ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.