The biblatex-biber project provides probably the best way for biblatex users to switch to pure UTF-8 bibliography information. However, getting it to build can cause problems: biblatex-biber is a Perl programme, and needs various downloads from CPAN. I thought it would therefore be useful to put some simple recipes here, explaining what I’ve done to get a working biblatex-biber on Windows, Ubuntu and Mac OS X. I’m assuming that the latest biblatex-biber release has been downloaded and unzipped somewhere, and that the Command Prompt/Terminal/Shell is open in that directory (folder).
Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)
Mac OS X comes with Perl installed, so life is relatively easy. At the Terminal, you need to run the
cpan script as root:
The cpan script has its own prompt, but this is very similar to the Terminal one. First, I updated
cpan itself and installed a helper module with
That done, the various requirements for biblatex-biber can be installed, using the single call
install Data::Dump List::AllUtils Readonly Text::BibTeX Readonly::XS
For the more cautious person (such as me), each
install instruction can be given on a separate line: this keeps things a bit more controlled. I accepted the standard settings, except when asked about installing items that were only needed for testing, where I said no.
cpan has done all of the installing, you can leave it by typing
So now back at the Terminal prompt, a few simple instructions
sudo ./Build install
That put biblatex-biber onto the path for all users: everything then worked correctly.
Once again, Perl is installed as standard in Linux distributions: I’m using Ubuntu as a representative system. Before starting
cpan, there is an additional step, which is to install an extra Ubuntu package. So at the Terminal, you need to do
sudo apt-get install libxml2-dev
This is needed as otherwise you get some very odd errors in a bit. Now, essentially the same recipe works as for the Mac. First run
cpan running and update and install
YAML. Then there is a long list of items to install
install Data::Dump List::AllUtils Readonly Text::BibTeX Readonly::XS XML::Writer XML::LibXML File::Slurp
which can again be done one at a time, for the more cautious.
cpan, the same three lines at the Terminal should work as in the Mac section.
sudo ./Build install
Windows (XP, Vista and 7)
To date, my attempts to build biblatex-biber on Windows (using Strawberry Perl) have failed as I can’t get the Perl module
Text::BibTeX to install. This is supposed to be optional, but without it biblatex-biber does not seem to work, although I do get it to build. Luckily, there is a self-contained binary for Windows available from the project site. This includes its own Perl system, so there is no need to get Perl set up before trying it. Everything seems to work for me with this version. Any ideas on what is necessary would be helpful!