Installing wikiCalc as a Perl program

The wikiCalc program is written in the Perl computer language. In order to run, it requires a copy of the Perl language system which is commonly found preinstalled on most Linux and similar systems, as well as on most web servers.

This page is oriented towards users with technical experience who are comfortable with configuring and running programs from the command line or setting up web CGI programs.

The system requirements are: Internet connection, 600KB+ disk space, Perl language system that includes the library modules: LWP::UserAgent, Net::FTP, and Time::Local.


Follow these instructions to install and run this version:
  • Make sure that you have Perl installed on your system. When you have Perl installed, you can run Perl programs from the command line by executing "perl programfile" or if you are running a web server, by serving a Perl program whose permission is set to "Execute". You can check that Perl is installed and see the version information by executing the command "perl -v".
  • The source code is covered by the GNU GPL. The program is available for free and comes with no warranty of any kind. Other additional licenses may be available in the future.
  • Download the Generic Perl Version by clicking the link below to download a gz archive file containing compressed copies of all of the source code for all variations of the program. Extract it into the "wikicalc" subdirectory of the current directory with the command "tar -xvzf wikicalc-0-97beta.tar.gz".
For information about using setting up wikiCalc when first run and then using it, see Starting to use wikiCalc.


You run the program locally by executing the command:


You can give it the option value -h to see a list of options.

When executing the program, you can exit before it's finished by pressing Ctrl-C.

After you start the program running, you interact with it by accessing the URL it lists. By default, you need to open the following local URL with your browser:

You normally quit by using the "Quit" command in the user interface.

If the program displays an error message when run complaining about a missing module, such as LWP, or LWP::UserAgent, you can get the missing module from CPAN. Most Perl installations include the module to automate this downloading process. See the Mac Perl Setup description to get an idea how to use documentation should be available on your computer by using the command "perldoc CPAN".


You run the program remotely by installing it on a web server and running it using CGI. (Note the security warning, below.) Instead of using, you want to use

For example, you could install it in the cgi-bin/wikicalc directory and invoke it with a browser with the following URL:

Before installing wikiCalc for remote access, make sure that you are aware of the security issues it may raise. For example, there are many settings that let the user save the result or read from anywhere the program has access. When run remotely, you may want to protect the program with a password (such as by using .htaccess) so that only authorized users can run it. For this reason, install and use remote access with caution. This is especially true of the runtime helper application This program is set up to be able to make HTTP requests anywhere on the Internet from your server. Unauthorized access to it (and maybe even the "Live View" functionality) may not be something you want.

wikiCalc has a user adminstration system built in (it's on the Tools tab). You can use that for simple security (and should use it if more than one user will be editing). You should set at least one user as an Admin user -- non-admin users should not get access to the user administration system. The security code is new and not well tested.

Also, if you are installing wikiCalc in a new directory, be aware that it needs to have permission to create and modify the data files in the working directory and below as well as where it publishes the HTML. Therefore, make sure that when run by the web server daemon wikiCalc has permission to create files in the directory (for example, that the directory is in the web server's group "apache" with write permission to the group).

wikiCalc is not a small system and on many systems when it is accessed as a CGI script it is restarted on each request. This adds significant overhead, often as much as a half second or more of cpu time in addition to the cpu time it uses when run (which can be as much as a second or more on a large recalc or redisplay) depending upon your server cpu speed. This means that on a shared server wikiCalc could be a heavy load. On a dedicated machine it will do quite well. On some systems you can leave wikicalc running and reuse it for each request just like when it is run on the desktop. This is done with mod_perl. To run wikiCalc using mod_perl use instead of


To uninstall the program delete the files you downloaded and extracted as well as the directories and data files created.

wikiCalc version 0.97 of 2006-11-14 10:55AM:

wikicalc-0-97beta.tar.gz [216KB]

It's also available as a zip file: [232KB]

(Note that the zip file programs - .pl, .pm, and .txt - may need to have ASCII line ending conversions before used on a Unix/Linux system.)
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