podlators 5.01

(format POD source into various output formats)
Maintained by Russ Allbery <rra@cpan.org>

Copyright 1999-2010, 2012-2022 Russ Allbery <rra@cpan.org>. This software is distributed under the same terms as Perl itself. Please see the section LICENSE below for more information.


podlators contains Pod::Man and Pod::Text modules which convert POD input to *roff source output, suitable for man pages, or plain text. It also includes several subclasses of Pod::Text for formatted output to terminals with various capabilities. It is the source package for the Pod::Man and Pod::Text modules included with Perl.


POD is the Plain Old Documentation format, the documentation language used for all of Perl's documentation. I learned it to document Perl modules, started using it for Perl scripts as well, and discovered it was the most convenient way I've found to write program documentation. It's extremely simple, well-designed for writing Unix manual pages (and I'm a traditionalist who thinks that any program should have a regular manual page), and easily readable in the raw format by humans.

The translators into text and nroff (for manual pages) included in the Perl distribution had various bugs, however, and used their own ad hoc parsers, so when I started running into those bugs and when a new generic parser (Pod::Parser) was written, I decided to rewrite the two translators that I use the most and fix the bugs that were bothering me. This package is the result.

podlators contains two main modules, Pod::Man and Pod::Text. The former converts POD into nroff/troff source and the latter into plain text (with various options controlling some of the formatting). There are also several subclasses of Pod::Text for generating slightly formatted text using color or other terminal control escapes, and a general utility module, Pod::ParseLink, for parsing the POD L<> formatting sequences. Also included in this package are the pod2text and pod2man driver scripts.

Both Pod::Text and Pod::Man provide a variety of options for fine-tuning their output. Pod::Man also tries to massage input text where appropriate to produce better output when run through nroff or troff, such as distinguishing between different types of hyphens.

As of Perl 5.6.0, my implementation was included in Perl core, and each release of Perl will have the at-the-time most current version of podlators included. You therefore only need to install this package yourself if you need a newer version than came with Perl (to get some bug fixes, for example).


This module requires Perl 5.10 or later and Pod::Simple 3.26 or later. (Pod::Simple 3.26 was included in Perl 5.17.10.)

The troff/nroff generated by Pod::Man should be compatible with any troff or nroff implementation with the -man macro set, including mandoc. It is primarily tested by me under GNU groff, but Perl users send bug reports for a wide variety of implementations and Pod::Man is used to generate all of Perl's own manual pages, so hopefully most of the bugs have been weeded out.


podlators uses ExtUtils::MakeMaker and can be installed using the same process as any other ExtUtils::MakeMaker module:

    perl Makefile.PL
    make install

You will have to run the last command as root unless you're installing into a local Perl module tree in your home directory.


podlators comes with a test suite, which you can run after building with:

    make test

If a test fails, you can run a single test with verbose output via:

    prove -vb <path-to-test>

The following additional Perl modules will be used by the test suite if present:

All are available on CPAN. Those tests will be skipped if the modules are not available.

To enable tests that don't detect functionality problems but are used to sanity-check the release, set the environment variable RELEASE_TESTING to a true value. To enable tests that may be sensitive to the local environment or that produce a lot of false positives without uncovering many problems, set the environment variable AUTHOR_TESTING to a true value.


The podlators web page at:


will always have the current version of this package, the current documentation, and pointers to any additional resources.

For bug tracking, use the issue tracker on GitHub:


However, please be aware that I tend to be extremely busy and work projects often take priority. I'll save your report and get to it as soon as I can, but it may take me a couple of months.


podlators is maintained using Git. You can access the current source on GitHub at:


or by cloning the repository at:


or view the repository via the web at:


The eyrie.org repository is the canonical one, maintained by the author, but using GitHub is probably more convenient for most purposes. Pull requests are gratefully reviewed and normally accepted.


The podlators package as a whole is covered by the following copyright statement and license:

  Copyright 1999-2010, 2012-2022 Russ Allbery <rra@cpan.org>
  This program is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify
  it under the same terms as Perl itself.  This means that you may
  choose between the two licenses that Perl is released under: the GNU
  GPL and the Artistic License.  Please see your Perl distribution for
  the details and copies of the licenses.

Some files in this distribution are individually released under different licenses, all of which are compatible with the above general package license but which may require preservation of additional notices. All required notices, and detailed information about the licensing of each file, are recorded in the LICENSE file.

Files covered by a license with an assigned SPDX License Identifier include SPDX-License-Identifier tags to enable automated processing of license information. See https://spdx.org/licenses/ for more information.

For any copyright range specified by files in this package as YYYY-ZZZZ, the range specifies every single year in that closed interval.

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