Attempts to read LENGTH characters of data into variable SCALAR from the specified FILEHANDLE, using the system call read(2). It bypasses buffered IO, so mixing this with other kinds of reads,
eof can cause confusion because stdio usually buffers data. Returns the number of characters actually read,
0 at end of file, or undef if there was an error. SCALAR will be grown or shrunk so that the last byte actually read is the last byte of the scalar after the read.
Note the characters: depending on the status of the filehandle, either (8-bit) bytes or characters are read. By default all filehandles operate on bytes, but for example if the filehandle has been opened with the
:utf8 I/O layer (see "open", and the
open pragma, open), the I/O will operate on characters, not bytes.
An OFFSET may be specified to place the read data at some place in the string other than the beginning. A negative OFFSET specifies placement at that many characters counting backwards from the end of the string. A positive OFFSET greater than the length of SCALAR results in the string being padded to the required size with
"\0" bytes before the result of the read is appended.
There is no syseof() function, which is ok, since eof() doesn't work very well on device files (like ttys) anyway. Use sysread() and check for a return value for 0 to decide whether you're done.