I cut my teeth on COBOL and C, both of which have big issues with initialization.
I'm still pretty much a Perl newbie, but since scoping is so easy and "use warnings" works so well, I haven't been motivated to do much initialization in Perl.
On the other hand, I'm not managing 911 databases with Perl the way I did with COBOL and C.
So if you need suspenders *and* a belt, initialize. Otherwise, Perl handles variable values in a pretty sane manner.
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