Thank you, ++ikegami. I understand your explanation just enough to trust that
is the best, right way to handle Unicode text in Perl on Windows.
Should one use the same layers in the same order for both input and output? Also, do you know why it doesn't work with the open pragma?
I think you and others understand the point I'm making. If your text file is 40 years old and not EBCDIC, then it's ASCII, and writing a Perl script to handle it is easy. You're not forced to think about the character encoding of the text at all. But if you created the text file just now using Microsoft Notepad, writing a Perl script to do anything useful with the text in the file is beyond the capabilities of a neophyte Perl programmer. No one new to the language could arrive at this exceedingly arcane solution to the problem of handling a simple Unicode text file by reading any of the Perl documentation, especially PerlIO, or any books about the language. (PerlIO is incomprehensible to anyone who doesn't already know everything it documents.)
UPDATE: The expert Perl programmers addressing this same problem at Stack Overflow never arrived at the correct solution proffered here.