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Returns the number of non-leap seconds since whatever time the system considers to be the epoch (that's 00:00:00, January 1, 1904 for MacOS, and 00:00:00 UTC, January 1, 1970 for most other systems). Suitable for feeding to gmtime and localtime.

For measuring time in better granularity than one second, you may use either the Time::HiRes module from CPAN, or if you have gettimeofday(2), you may be able to use the syscall interface of Perl, see perlfaq8 for details.