Since it appears each file is processed independently of each other, and no state is maintained in memory, you might also consider forking processes to handle each file instead of doing it directly in one process. Your parent process won't be affected by any memory consumed by child processes.
Also, if you 'exec "/bin/true"' or some-such instead of 'exit()' at the end of each child process, you'll find that memory frees up much faster than waiting for perl garbage collection, helping performance too.
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