Comprehensive Perl Archive Network - [L1 ]
There are several key parts to CPAN:
- A master site of contributed Perl source module tar/zip files, organized by author and general subject area
- A group whose job is to manage (in a rough form) Perl module names
- A series of mirrored ftp/http sites providing copies of the master site
- A central web site which redirects visitor to one of the mirrors based on a guess at the visitor's world area (based on IP address, etc.)
- A Perl module that ships with the basic language that streamlines searching a local cache or connecting via the internet to a one of the mirrors to fetch perl modules
Note that not all Perl modules are in CPAN - some people do not care to participate, while others have other technical issues that restrict/prevent them from managing their code at a central site.
"Why isn't there a Comprehensive Tcl Archive Network like Perl's CPAN?"
See Cantcl and ETEN for related information.