Is your penguin ready?
For the next few perl homeworks you can use http://codepad.org/. However you will need Linux (or a Mac) in order to make perl programs that can read files.
In order to use perl on the Mac, open an application called “Terminale” and you get you beloved shell. Perl should be already installed, check that it works by downloading any one of the programs from the blog and running it, as you did in the lab.
If you only have Windows, it would be a good idea to get Linux as soon as possible. Of course, Linux is all about choices, so feel free of doing it your way: more or less any distribution or way of installing is fine. However, since too much freedom can be bad for you health, you can also follow our suggestions. We recommend Ubuntu, since it is easy to use and very common.
A good version for our purpose would be Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. If you prefere a more recent version, Ubuntu 13.10 is available, but on the 17th of April the new version (14.04 LTS) will be released. If your computer is very old you may prefer to get “lubuntu” (which is different “flavor” of Ubuntu).
More than one way to skin a cat
There are many ways to get an Ubuntu system, here are two easy options. When you do this follow the instruction carefully and read the messages before saying OK, since you may delete your files or even Windows itself if you click on things randomly. However do not get scared. While you need to do this carefully, it is not very hard and you just need to follow the linked instructions. Before doing anything that could be bad, you will get warning messages asking you if you are sure about it. Read them! If you can, get help from someone who knows what to do. And read this post completely before doing something!
You can install Ubuntu on an USB pendrive. In this way your computer stay as it is and Ubuntu stays on your pendrive. You need at least 2 Gb of space on the pendrive and you will lose all files on it (so save them somewhere beforehand). Instructions are here. Rembember to put use “set a persistent file size for storing changes” when formatting the pendrive, so you can save your programs and data on the pendrive.
Another option is installing Ubuntu on your computer, so that when you turn it on it will ask if you want to use Windows or Ubuntu. Ubuntu will be on your computer (10Gb of hard disk space should be enough). The simplest way to do this is to use the Windows installer. Instructions are here. Note that will not work if you have Windows 8.