SPUG: cpan script not working -- behind a firewall or proxy?

Chris Wilkes cwilkes-spug at ladro.com
Wed Feb 22 18:39:49 PST 2006

On Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 09:25:07PM -0500, Michael R. Wolf wrote:
> When I run the cpan script, it goes into config mode, and initially seems to
> succeed at getting some files, but then tells me that it did not succeed at
> getting some files.  Were those new files that it couldn't download, or a
> delayed message about a co-process that didn't really succeed at getting the
> original files?  I'm betting on the later because it never shows me the pick
> list of continents/countries/mirror-sites.
> The local sysadmin told me that there's an HTTP proxy on
> It seemed to be key in getting a browser to work.
> Since I'm ignorant about proxy servers and ports, could someone share their
> experience or point me to some documentation on how I can debug what's
> missing so that I can configure the cpan script accordingly.

>From within the CPAN shell do a 
  o conf http_proxy
and to set it do a 
  o conf http_proxy

Give that a shot.

A quick explaination of a proxy server is a server that clients, usually
browsers on people's desktops, connect to that then turns around and
gets the web page from the internet.

People usually install them to save on bandwidth (the server can cache
images, which is helpful if hundreds of people go to the same website)
and when they want to restrict what IPs can go out the internet or what
websites people can go to.

In your case the admin has probably turned off all web access to clients
not going through the proxy server.  Since you didn't tell CPAN to use a
proxy server it tries to connect to the website directly, thus the
admin's firewall is blocking your request.


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