Shazam! Use Image::Magick with Perlbrew in minutes

Wednesday, 1 January by David Farrell

The open source ImageMagick software provides amazing tools for creating and manipulating images in over 100 formats. Unfortunately, installing ImageMagick's Perl module under Perlbrew can be a frustrating and time-consuming task. However it doesn't have to be this way - with the method described below you can have the module installed in minutes, no root access required!

Update 07-01-2014

Zaki (@zhmughal) has worked up a sweet shell script to automate the installation process for you, so you can save the finger work for using ImageMagick with your next Perl program:)


You'll need to have Perlbrew and a local Perl installation via Perlbrew on Unix-based platform. This has been tested on Perl 5.16.3 but should work on any modern Perl version.


Create a local directory: we will install ImageMagick here. Open up the terminal and enter the following:

mkdir ~/local

Installing Image::Magick - don't use CPAN

Although the Image::Magick module is available on CPAN, installing it via CPAN is usually a fruitless task as the process croaks on make. Instead download the whole ImageMagick tarball. Once downloaded, navigate to the tarball's parent directory using the terminal and un-tar the archive with the following command

tar xvfz ImageMagick.tar.gz

Now change into the new directory:

cd ImageMagick-6.8.8-0

Enter the following command, replacing [username], [path to CORE] and [path to Perl bin] with your system's details. Remove the "--without-threads" text if your Perl was compiled with threads (here is how to check).

LDFLAGS=-L/home/[username]/perl5/perlbrew/perls/[path to CORE] \
    ./configure --prefix /home/[username]/local \
    --with-perl=/home/[username]/perl5/perlbrew/perls/[path to Perl bin] \
    --enable-shared --without-threads

Here is a completed example for my system:

LDFLAGS=-L/home/sillymoose/perl5/perlbrew/perls/perl-5.16.3/lib/5.16.3/x86_64-linux/CORE \
    ./configure --prefix /home/sillymoose/local \
    --with-perl=/home/sillymoose/perl5/perlbrew/perls/perl-5.16.3/bin/perl \
    --enable-shared --without-threads

Running this command should cause ImageMagick to run a series of configuration checks, at the end of which it will print a configuration summary, which should look something like this:

ImageMagick is configured as follows. Please verify that this configuration
matches your expectations.

Host system type: x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu
Build system type: x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu

                  Option                        Value
Shared libraries  --enable-shared=yes		yes
Static libraries  --enable-static=yes		yes
Module support    --with-modules=no		no
GNU ld            --with-gnu-ld=yes		yes
Quantum depth     --with-quantum-depth=16	16
High Dynamic Range Imagery
                  --enable-hdri=no		no

Delegate Configuration:
BZLIB             --with-bzlib=yes		yes
Autotrace         --with-autotrace=no		no
Dejavu fonts      --with-dejavu-font-dir=default	/usr/share/fonts/dejavu/
DJVU              --with-djvu=yes		no
DPS               --with-dps=yes		no
FFTW              --with-fftw=yes		no
FlashPIX          --with-fpx=yes		no
FontConfig        --with-fontconfig=yes		no
FreeType          --with-freetype=yes		yes
GhostPCL          None				pcl6 (unknown)
GhostXPS          None				gxps (unknown)
Ghostscript       None				gs (9.10)
Ghostscript fonts --with-gs-font-dir=default	/usr/share/fonts/default/Type1/
Ghostscript lib   --with-gslib=no		no
Graphviz          --with-gvc=no		
JBIG              --with-jbig=yes		no
JPEG v1           --with-jpeg=yes		yes
JPEG-2000         --with-jp2=yes		yes
LCMS v1           --with-lcms=yes		yes
LCMS v2           --with-lcms2=yes		no
LQR               --with-lqr=yes		no
LTDL              --with-ltdl=yes		no
LZMA              --with-lzma=yes		yes
Magick++          --with-magick-plus-plus=yes	no (failed tests)
MUPDF             --with-mupdf=no		no
OpenEXR           --with-openexr=yes		no
PANGO             --with-pango=yes		no
PERL              --with-perl=/home/sillymoose/perl5/perlbrew/perls/perl-5.16.3/bin/perl		/home/sillymoose/perl5/perlbrew/perls/perl-5.16.3/bin/perl
PNG               --with-png=yes		yes
RSVG              --with-rsvg=no		no
TIFF              --with-tiff=yes		yes
WEBP              --with-webp=yes		no
Windows fonts     --with-windows-font-dir=	none
WMF               --with-wmf=no		no
X11               --with-x=			yes
XML               --with-xml=yes		yes
ZLIB              --with-zlib=yes		yes

Check that the image file formats you expect to be working with are showing as "yes". If any are showing as "no" that you require, you'll need to install the appropriate C library (e.g. libpng for PNG files) and re-run the previous command.

To install ImageMagick and the Image::Magick Perl module, run this command:

make install

Confirm Installation

Confirming that the Image::Magick module has installed is not quite straightforward either. With version Image Magick 6.8.8, the $VERSION variable is stored in the super class Image::Magick::Q16. Hence you'll need to type:

perl -MImage::Magick::Q16\ 999

Which should yield:

Image::Magick::Q16 version 999 required--this is only version 6.88.


Thanks to Jason Galea - his invaluable GitHub notes formed the basis of this solution.