I'm studying to the code, trying to work out what is going on. My first comment was just a reaction to trying to find where the subroutine arguments were going and how used. etc.
I'm not sure about the performance differences between backticks and the system call. I do know you don't want exec because it essentially replaces the script process with the new process of the exec call. There would be no way for your next line to be reached.
Are you benchmarking the spawning of processes here? What's up? -ben (perlcapt)
I came across this
Spawing other programs in Perl which might help. The big difference it useability between backticks and system() is what they return. Backticks return the stdout of the spawned process, and system() returns the exit code. -ben