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I did try to see what is in $contents and nothing was there.
Do you have a functioning perl already built on your machine ? If you do, try running the following script. (In that script you'll first need to change $filename to point to the full path to pod/perldelta.pod on your machine.)
That script should reveal that @want contains (5, 16,3). Is that what you get ?
Then try running the same script using the perl that you've just built with your compiler. (That perl is located in the top level source folder - ie one level up from the win32 folder.)
To do that, cd to that top level source folder and run perl /full/path/to/above/script.pl.
How does that fare ?
(While you're in that folder, you might also like to check the output of perl -V just to verify that the perl that's being run is, in fact, the one that you've just built. The @INC listing at the end should *not* contain a site/lib directory, and the first directory listed should be in your source tree. )
Sorry - out of time for tonight, but I can pick this up again tomorrow morning if need be.