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windows: exit status 66 in $? after pipe close

Subject: windows: exit status 66 in $? after pipe close
From: Warren Burstein
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2006 19:23:48 +0300
A Windows 2000 computer running ActivePerl build 631 occasionally (something like every few weeks, it does thousands of these on most days with no problem) opens a pipe from another perl script, gets no input from the pipe, close fails on the filehandle, $! is false, and $? contains 0x100 * 66 which should mean that perl's exit status was 66.

Windows error 66 is not defined in the errno.h that comes with MSVC 6, but "net helpmsg 66" prints "The network resource type is not correct.". I don't know if there's any connection between that error and the one I'm getting. The perl script, and perl.exe are on local drives so I don't understand how a network error could result.

I can't see how either perl or my script could return an exit status of 66. perl will return the error code if it can't open the file, but I can only see how that could be 2 (ENOENT) or 13 (EACCESS). And perl would print an error message, which would get logged to a file, and that isn't happening. Likewise, my perl script will always print something to a log file at startup and before exiting and that isn't happening. But the logfile is getting written to - that's where I found the error 66 in the first perl script. So I wonder if the error is coming from somewhere in the implementation of open().

I looked at the pipe code in the sources (in win32/win32.c), and don't see how anything other than a windows error code or the exit status from my command could wind up in $?, but I don't know how either of those could be 66 (and even if perl or my script did exit(66), why an error message doesn't get read from the pipe).

Has anyone seen this before? And has it been fixed in a later release of ActivePerl? Or if it's not a bug, what it means? If it happened daily, I'd just upgrade and see if it stopped, but since the problem occurs so rarely, it will take a few months before I have even a small degree of confidence that it helped.

Here is the code. I'm leaving out the details of how the output gets into a log file.

if ( !open(PIPE, "perl $PATH/faxrpt.pl 2>&1|")) {
 die "pipe failed, $!\n";
while (<PIPE>) {
if ( !close(PIPE)) {
 if ($!) {
    warn "error closing pipe, $!\n";
 } else {
   if ($? >= 0x100) {
     $s = $? / 0x100;
     warn("exit status $s\n");
   } else {
     warn "signal $?\n";
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