open($fh, '<', $filename) or die "can't open $filename: $!"
Maybe it's the QA or documentatino guy in me coming out (Back! back!), but I'd much rather see the error message say something like Can't open $filename for reading: $!. Then again, I find it's very rare that I have a filehandle open longer than a dozen lines of code, so I'm not sure I would ever have need of your improvement.
Alex / talexb / Toronto
"Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds