|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
I'm specifically after a module that makes it dead simple to call system() for the most simple cases, and still get proper error-handling. What I essentially want is Fatal for system().
That means we're not capturing output, and we're not doing complicated pipelines. If you want a module that handles all that and more, then there's IPC::Run. It's complete, but it's not simple.
What's proper-error handling for the most simple cases? Well, if your program never started, that's an error. If it got killed by a signal or dumped core, then you probably didn't expact that, so that's an error too. If it returns a non-zero exit status, then that's also an error unless you pass an argument to say otherwise.
As for efficiency, this is a clear case where correctness should easily trump speed. system() is slow to begin with, since there's all that fork-and-exec'ing going on under the hood. Having error-checking that's hard to get wrong (ie, exceptions), and having meaningful error messages (instead of die "Ooops! $! - $?") is going to be much better for correctness and programmer productivity in the long run.
This is very much a case of wanting something that makes simple things easy. We've already got many ways of making the hard things possible.
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