There's no need for you to just focus on 5.8.x — well, except for that coredump, of course... I've got a plain perl5.6.1 for Windows from Indigostar
. That is a binary distribution which is virtually 100% compatible with Activeperl
What I'd rather think is that the way the script is invoked, matters. I usually call scripts from within my text editor, and STDOUT/STDERR are captured by a tool program in order to display the result in an editor window. What's more, I redirect STDERR to STDOUT from withing perl, from withing a little module.
Aha. When I run it from the DOS prompt, without redirection, it works as you said it would. But when I add
open STDERR, ">&STDOUT";
to the top of the script, it fails.
The lesson to be learned is that capturing file handles, and maybe STDERR and STDOUT in particular, can be tricky if some redirecting has already been done on the handles before that.