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getc FILEHANDLE
getc

Returns the next character from the input file attached to FILEHANDLE, or the undefined value at end of file, or if there was an error. If FILEHANDLE is omitted, reads from STDIN. This is not particularly efficient. It cannot be used to get unbuffered single-characters, however. For that, try something more like:

if ($BSD_STYLE) {
    system "stty cbreak </dev/tty >/dev/tty 2>&1";
}
else {
    system "stty", '-icanon', 'eol', "\001";
}

$key = getc(STDIN);

if ($BSD_STYLE) {
    system "stty -cbreak </dev/tty >/dev/tty 2>&1";
}
else {
    system "stty", 'icanon', 'eol', '^@'; # ASCII null
}
print "\n";

Determination of whether $BSD_STYLE should be set is left as an exercise to the reader.

The POSIX::getattr() function can do this more portably on systems purporting POSIX compliance. See also the Term::ReadKey module from your nearest CPAN site; details on CPAN can be found on "CPAN" in perlmod.