quoted from man page regarding system() :
The return value is the exit status of the program as returned
by the "wait" call. To get the actual exit value shift right
by eight (see below). See also "exec". This is not what you
want to use to capture the output from a command, for that you
should use merely backticks or "qx//", as described in
"'STRING'" in perlop. Return value of -1 indicates a failure
to start the program (inspect $! for the reason).
You can get to this by issuing the "perldoc -f system" command.