Feeds

Apple says sorry for Mac Perl breakage

Fix on the way

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Apple has apologized for breaking Perl with its latest Mac OS X security update, saying it will distribute a solution to the problem with a future update.

In a note to The Reg and a post to the Apple support forums, Senior Apple programmer Edward Moy apologized for "the unforeseen problems that the 2009-001 security update has caused" with Perl.

After the release of 2009-001 in mid-February, developers from across the web complained that after installing the update, many of their Perl scripts quit running.

"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," said one Mac OS X user, with a post to the support forum.

"I've 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."

One IT consultant even went so far as to say "Because of these kinds of problems, I stopped recommending Apple Servers to my enterprise customers."

According to one blogger, the problem only occurs if you're running Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5), you're using the Perl distro that comes with the OS, and you've updated the distro via CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network), a widely-used collection of existing Perl modules.

Apple's Moy says the problem is due to the way Perl orders its module directory search path: the system Perl directory comes before site-specific directories (e.g. /System/Library/Perl/5.8.8). "This means that if you try to update a module in the system perl directory by installing it in a site-specific directory like you normally would any other perl module, the search path order would result in the old module being found first," he writes. "So, the only way to do this kind of update is to directly overwrite the module in the system perl directory."

In other words, using CPAN to update Perl modules tweaks the system directory, and if you've installed Apple's latest security update, this could cause a problem.

Some system Perl modules use both a Perl (.pm) file and a binary (.bundle) file. With many of these modules, Moy says, Apple's new security update installs the original versions of .bundle files (complete with security fixes) without updating their matching .pm files (security fixes were required). So, when a newer version .pm file tries to load an older version .bundle file installed by the 2009-001 security update, your get a failure.

At this point, the only solution is to reinstall the affected module. But Moy says Apple is hard at work on a broader fix, and the company intends to include such a fix with a future software update. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.