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Closes the file or pipe associated with the file handle, returning true only if IO buffers are successfully flushed and closes the system file descriptor. Closes the currently selected filehandle if the argument is omitted.

You don't have to close FILEHANDLE if you are immediately going to do another open on it, because open will close it for you. (See open.) However, an explicit close on an input file resets the line counter ($.), while the implicit close done by open does not.

If the file handle came from a piped open close will additionally return false if one of the other system calls involved fails or if the program exits with non-zero status. (If the only problem was that the program exited non-zero $! will be set to 0.) Closing a pipe also waits for the process executing on the pipe to complete, in case you want to look at the output of the pipe afterwards, and implicitly puts the exit status value of that command into $?.

Prematurely closing the read end of a pipe (i.e. before the process writing to it at the other end has closed it) will result in a SIGPIPE being delivered to the writer. If the other end can't handle that, be sure to read all the data before closing the pipe.


open(OUTPUT, '|sort >foo')  # pipe to sort
    or die "Can't start sort: $!";
#...			# print stuff to output
close OUTPUT		# wait for sort to finish
    or warn $! ? "Error closing sort pipe: $!"
               : "Exit status $? from sort";
open(INPUT, 'foo')		# get sort's results
    or die "Can't open 'foo' for input: $!";

FILEHANDLE may be an expression whose value can be used as an indirect filehandle, usually the real filehandle name.