Learning Perl, 4th Edition
Making Easy Things Easy and Hard Things Possible
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: July 2005
Pages: 312

Learning Perl, better known as "the Llama book", starts the programmer on the way to mastery. Written by three prominent members of the Perl community who each have several years of experience teaching Perl around the world, this edition has been updated to account for all the recent changes to the language up to Perl 5.8.

Perl is the language for people who want to get work done. It started as a tool for Unix system administrators who needed something powerful for small tasks. Since then, Perl has blossomed into a full-featured programming language used for web programming, database manipulation, XML processing, and system administration--on practically all platforms--while remaining the favorite tool for the small daily tasks it was designed for. You might start using Perl because you need it, but you'll continue to use it because you love it.

Informed by their years of success at teaching Perl as consultants, the authors have re-engineered the Llama to better match the pace and scope appropriate for readers getting started with Perl, while retaining the detailed discussion, thorough examples, and eclectic wit for which the Llama is famous.

The book includes new exercises and solutions so you can practice what you've learned while it's still fresh in your mind. Here are just some of the topics covered:

  • Perl variable types
  • subroutines
  • file operations
  • regular expressions
  • text processing
  • strings and sorting
  • process management
  • using third party modules

If you ask Perl programmers today what book they relied on most when they were learning Perl, you'll find that an overwhelming majority will point to the Llama. With good reason. Other books may teach you to program in Perl, but this book will turn you into a Perl programmer.

Table of Contents
Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews


by PowerReviews
oreillyLearning Perl, 4th Edition

(based on 5 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars



Reviewed by 5 customers

Sort by

Displaying reviews 1-5

Back to top

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Review of Learning Perl

By Ludwig Lim

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 4th Edition:

Overall I find that "Learning Perl" is a good book. The authors painstakingly try to teach how to program Perl the way professional Perl programmers do. The book also tries to explain some of the "predefined variables" (such as @_, $!) that people who maintain Perl programs might come across with (Thanks for this).

One of my "gripe" is that it seems that Chapter 1 can be more terse. It needs 11 pages before it shows the "hello world" program, (Seems that there are only 3 scripts found in Chap. 1 is "Hello World", there are a couple of other, 2 others are just to show that you can write complicated programs using perl ).

It would be nice if "Learning Perl" and "Intermediate Perl" can be combined into one book (It is almost akin to splitting a C++ book into 2 books, 1 book for non-OO features of C++, and another book for the OO features of C++ [A little exaggeration])

Overall a very good book, especially for those who don't have programming background.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


The code examples ARE downloadable

By ggeller

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 4th Edition:

A simple google search:

site:oreilly.com learning perl code download

Shows that the code examples are available at:


However, the README file in the archive says the code goes with the third edition of the book.


An enjoyable read!

By Brad C

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 4th Edition:

I'm still in the process of reading this book, affectionately nick-named the llama by the Perl community. But I feel I've made it far enough in that I have a good feel for the writing style and overall quality of the book.

While there are a couple of technical errors here and there, they are mostly to do with the formatting and typography rather than the code. If you do find an error in your edition (there have been many additional printings of the 4th Edition), the books website (where you're probably reading this review right now) has a comprehensive list of errata, along with their corrections.

I have to say I really enjoy the writing style of the authors, and from what I've seen of the alpaca, there's more to come. They make the subject matter interesting, covering only what's needed, deferring more advanced techniques to later texts.

In my own experience, I am finding this book a great help in clarifying certain concepts as I read from cover-to-cover. But since I have decided to take on the maintenance of a previous programmer's Perl/Tk program, the learning curve is a little steeper than it may otherwise have been. That said, if I'd not decided to look at this code, I'd not likely be bothering to learn Perl at all, and what a shame that would be. I do find it to be a rather enjoyable language. Anyway, this book is a great tool, and is easy to use in conjunction with Mastering Perl/Tk as well as the Definitive Reference: the Camel.

Finally, a note to the authors: Keep up the great work! This is exactly the kind of book I have come to expect from O'Reilly, though I have, on occasion, been disappointed.


Simply the best

By Matthew

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 4th Edition:

There were a few reasons why I wanted to learn Perl. Amongst those reasons were IRSSI (http://www.irssi.org) , an IRC client, which can use Perl scripts. My main motivation though, was to use Perl for the administration of UNIX based systems.

I have never programmed before, so I'm proud to say that Perl is my first language. I didn't know a single thing about Perl, but once I purchased Learning Perl, I quickly became familiar with the language (I'm amazed at how fast I learned). The book taught me everything from what a Scalar Variable is, to how Larry Wall thinks (perhaps that is an exaggeration), but I did indeed learn a lot. I found Perl to be an easy language to learn, thanks to Learning Perl.

And because this book was so great, I did not hesitate to purchase Intermediate Perl, Mastering Regular Expressions, and Peogramming Perl. They are all (in my opinion) a must have.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Read this first!

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Perl, 4th Edition:

Even if you are a brainiac, you probably shouldn't jump right to the Camel.

I read about half of the Camel and then picked this (Llama) up and I'm very glad I did.

Perfect pace and choice of topics.

Really cleared up some of the fundamentals that were hindering my progress with the Camel.

Maybe I just needed to read Camel twice, but it's alot easier to just read this one first.

I am enjoying this one so much, I bought the Alpaca already. I have every confidence that the Camel will be a much more pleasant read after Llama and Alpaca.

If you are only 3 or 4 chapters into Camel, don't assume you are sailing smooth. You are about to hit very choppy water.

One gripe: book mentions downloadable code, but website has none. Not a big deal, since you should be typing everything anyway to get practice with the syntax.

Displaying reviews 1-5

Back to top

Buy 2 Get 1 Free Free Shipping Guarantee
Buying Options
Immediate Access - Go Digital what's this?