Installing Heavy Metal on Linux

If you're running Linux, you almost certainly already have the basic Perl environment installed.  To verify this, type:

perl -v

at a command prompt.  You should be rewarded with a version message.  If not, go back to your installation disks and look for the perl RPM's.  (Contact me directly if you have problems - click here to email).

Even if you do have Perl, we likely still have some installing to do.  Besides the Perl environment, Heavy Metal relies on a Linux utility program called "setserial".  To see if you've already got this installed, type:

setserial -v

Chances are, you don't have this one - it isn't installed by default on most Linux distributions.  So, if you don't have it, wander over to the Red Hat site and download the setserial RPM.  Or, if you're lazy like me, just click here and install using rpm.

Now comes the hardest part (which is really pretty easy).  One of the great things about Perl is that there is so much reusable software written in it.  The downside is that you have to fetch and install the modules you want to use.  Depending on your Perl installation, you may already have most or all of these packages already install.  The process to use is as follows.  For each package listed below, see if you have it by typing:

perl -e "use <package name>"

where <package name> is from the list below.  For example, to see if you already have the "Tk" package installed, type:

perl -e "use Tk"

If the command silently completes, you already have the package.  If not, you'll need to download and install it.  So, first let's see what you need.  Follow the above process on the following items and keep track of which ones give you the "can't find blah blah blah in @INC" error message:


The standard location for finding perl modules is CPAN.  Here you can find just about anything you could ever want about Perl, including any of the above modules that you might be missing.  The standard process of installing a new module is to download it from CPAN.  It will arrive as a gzip'd tar file, named something like module.tgz

Once you download it, do:

tar zxvf module.tgz

Then cd into the new directory it just created.  There you will find a README, which will tell you how to build, test and install the module.  It usually consists of performing the following, but it's a good idea to read it anyway:

perl Makefile.PL


make test

make install

There are sometime slight differences, so be sure to read the README.  Note also that the "make install" will probably have to be performed as root.

As mentioned before, CPAN is the best place to get the modules.  However, for convenience I've placed copies of the modules that I had to download from CPAN in:

After you've downloaded and installed all of the necessary modules, all that's left is to grab a copy of the Heavy Metal program itself.  To do that, click here.  Then, just do:


Finally, if you want to try out the simulated AP newswire or Web Surfing feature (and you really should - at least once), make sure you have the Lynx text-mode browser installed.  Chances are that either you do or it's there somewhere on your distribution CDs.  To check, type:

lynx -version

If you can't find it, look for an RPM at Red Hat or visit the Lynx folks at my alma mater, the University of Kansas:

As always, please let me know if you run into any difficulty - even if you solve the problem on your own I'd like to know so that I can document it here.  Click here to email me.


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