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Significant bug fixes

<HANDLE> on empty files

With $/ set to undef, "slurping" an empty file returns a string of zero length (instead of undef, as it used to) the first time the HANDLE is read after $/ is set to undef. Further reads yield undef.

This means that the following will append "foo" to an empty file (it used to do nothing):

    perl -0777 -pi -e 's/^/foo/' empty_file  

The behaviour of:

    perl -pi -e 's/^/foo/' empty_file  

is unchanged (it continues to leave the file empty).

eval '...' improvements

Line numbers (as reflected by caller() and most diagnostics) within eval '...' were often incorrect where here documents were involved. This has been corrected.

Lexical lookups for variables appearing in eval '...' within functions that were themselves called within an eval '...' were searching the wrong place for lexicals. The lexical search now correctly ends at the subroutine's block boundary.

The use of return within eval {...} caused $@ not to be reset correctly when no exception occurred within the eval. This has been fixed.

Parsing of here documents used to be flawed when they appeared as the replacement expression in eval 's/.../.../e'. This has been fixed.

All compilation errors are true errors

Some "errors" encountered at compile time were by necessity generated as warnings followed by eventual termination of the program. This enabled more such errors to be reported in a single run, rather than causing a hard stop at the first error that was encountered.

The mechanism for reporting such errors has been reimplemented to queue compile-time errors and report them at the end of the compilation as true errors rather than as warnings. This fixes cases where error messages leaked through in the form of warnings when code was compiled at run time using eval STRING, and also allows such errors to be reliably trapped using eval "...".

Implicitly closed filehandles are safer

Sometimes implicitly closed filehandles (as when they are localized, and Perl automatically closes them on exiting the scope) could inadvertently set $? or $!. This has been corrected.

Behavior of list slices is more consistent

When taking a slice of a literal list (as opposed to a slice of an array or hash), Perl used to return an empty list if the result happened to be composed of all undef values.

The new behavior is to produce an empty list if (and only if) the original list was empty. Consider the following example:

    @a = (1,undef,undef,2)[2,1,2];  

The old behavior would have resulted in @a having no elements. The new behavior ensures it has three undefined elements.

Note in particular that the behavior of slices of the following cases remains unchanged:

    @a = ()[1,2];
    @a = (getpwent)[7,0];
    @a = (anything_returning_empty_list())[2,1,2];
    @a = @b[2,1,2];
    @a = @c{'a','b','c'};  

See perldata.

(\$) prototype and $foo{a}

A scalar reference prototype now correctly allows a hash or array element in that slot.

goto &sub and AUTOLOAD

The goto &sub construct works correctly when &sub happens to be autoloaded.

-bareword allowed under use integer

The autoquoting of barewords preceded by - did not work in prior versions when the integer pragma was enabled. This has been fixed.

Failures in DESTROY()

When code in a destructor threw an exception, it went unnoticed in earlier versions of Perl, unless someone happened to be looking in $@ just after the point the destructor happened to run. Such failures are now visible as warnings when warnings are enabled.

Locale bugs fixed

printf() and sprintf() previously reset the numeric locale back to the default "C" locale. This has been fixed.

Numbers formatted according to the local numeric locale (such as using a decimal comma instead of a decimal dot) caused "isn't numeric" warnings, even while the operations accessing those numbers produced correct results. These warnings have been discontinued.

Memory leaks

The eval 'return sub {...}' construct could sometimes leak memory. This has been fixed.

Operations that aren't filehandle constructors used to leak memory when used on invalid filehandles. This has been fixed.

Constructs that modified @_ could fail to deallocate values in @_ and thus leak memory. This has been corrected.

Spurious subroutine stubs after failed subroutine calls

Perl could sometimes create empty subroutine stubs when a subroutine was not found in the package. Such cases stopped later method lookups from progressing into base packages. This has been corrected.

Taint failures under -U

When running in unsafe mode, taint violations could sometimes cause silent failures. This has been fixed.

END blocks and the -c switch

Prior versions used to run BEGIN and END blocks when Perl was run in compile-only mode. Since this is typically not the expected behavior, END blocks are not executed anymore when the -c switch is used, or if compilation fails.

See /"Support for CHECK blocks" for how to run things when the compile phase ends.

Potential to leak DATA filehandles

Using the __DATA__ token creates an implicit filehandle to the file that contains the token. It is the program's responsibility to close it when it is done reading from it.

This caveat is now better explained in the documentation. See perldata.




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