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Closes the file or pipe associated with the file handle, returning TRUE only if stdio successfully flushes buffers and closes the system file descriptor. 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 problem was that the program exited non-zero $! will be set to 0.) You don't have to close FILEHANDLE if you are immediately going to do another open() on it, because open() will close it for you. (See open().) However, an explicit close on an input file resets the line counter ($.), while the implicit close done by open() does not. Also, closing a pipe will wait for the process executing on the pipe to complete, in case you want to look at the output of the pipe afterwards. Closing a pipe explicitly also puts the status value of the command into $?. Example:

    open(OUTPUT, '|sort >foo'); # pipe to sort
    ...                         # print stuff to output
    close OUTPUT;               # wait for sort to finish
    open(INPUT, 'foo');         # get sort's results

FILEHANDLE may be an expression whose value gives the real filehandle name.

Source: Perl builtin functions
Copyright: Larry Wall, et al.
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