If you've ever done any perl programming, or if you've spent any time talking
to perl programmers, you have probably heard of "CPAN" - the Comprehensive Perl
Archive Network. CPAN provides a central repository of perl modules, most of
which are made available under the same licenses as perl itself (the GPL and
The Artistic License). In many ways, CPAN has been "the killer app" that has
made perl one of the most popular languages around. By using CPAN, a perl
developer can quickly assemble the majority of the code needed for their
programs, leaving them to simply code the glue needed to stick all the modules
together into a cohesive whole.
The PHP Extension and Add-on Repository (PEAR) project is an effort to develop a repository similar to perl's
CPAN and TeX's CTAN for the PHP community. PEAR will offer much more than the
useful, but rather ad-hoc code snippets in the
Zend's web site. By providing an infrastructure and defining a set of
standards that all contributors must adhere to, PEAR, combined with PHP 4, may
be just what is needed to take PHP to the next level.