A few comments:
That assign from @_ idiom may still be relatively common, but
it's not recommended these days. While Conway does use the @_ assign
throughout his "Object Oriented Perl", now his "Perl Best
Practices" recommends using shift to access @_.
And myself, I'm having trouble reproducing this
problem at present. I just made a quick try at comparing
assigning an array vs shifting off of an array, and I find
that they've both gotten slightly faster under perl 5.9.5
vs perl 5.8.8 on my AMD64 based laptop, running kubuntu
(linux kernel: 2.6.22-14-generic).
And incidentally, I see that the "shift" method is around 30%
faster than assign from array.
(Benchmark code available upon request. At present I'm just
skipping it because it's fairly dull.)
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