init. (context computing English) comprehensive Perl archive network, an Internet-based archive of software modules written in the Perl programming language.
The Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) is a repository of over 150,000 software modules and accompanying documentation for 33,000 distributions, written in the Perl programming language by over 12,000 contributors. The modules can be downloaded from metacpan.org as well as mirrored sites worldwide. CPAN can denote either the archive network itself, or the Perl program that acts as an interface to the network and as an automated software installer (somewhat like a package manager). Most software on CPAN is free and open source software. CPAN was conceived in 1993 and active online since October 1995.