Parse::CPAN::Packages::Fast is about an order of magnitude faster and uses only 40% as much memory. Neither, however, offer a way to iterate through the list without first creating the entire list in memory.
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This module allows one to easily parse the 02packages.details.txt.gz file for CPAN archives.
The major downside is that it has to initialize itself completely, which can take a while even on a fast machine (and will probably take longer as CPAN grows).
A couple of features such as determining what distribution a module is in required reading the source code since the documentation consists only of a synopsis, which leaves out a few things.
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