Fixed on autodie reference, I was using it before 5.10 and that was my oversight. Glad to know it is in core now, and has been for a while!
As, for utf8, I wholly disagree, the encoding of the perl source and of the IO stream should be separate. You can argue that both should be UTF8: but, I don't think you can logically argue that the Perl source shouldn't be utf8. Even if you're not using UTF8, and even if the files you want to read aren't using utf8, the authors using nextgen and contributing to CPAN should be encoding their perl source in UTF8. We shouldn't assume they have the same legacy-needs you do.
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