FAQ 4.3: Why isn't my octal data interpreted correctly?

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4.3: Why isn't my octal data interpreted correctly?

    Perl only understands octal and hex numbers as such when they occur as
    literals in your program. Octal literals in perl must start with a
    leading "0" and hexadecimal literals must start with a leading "0x". If
    they are read in from somewhere and assigned, no automatic conversion
    takes place. You must explicitly use oct() or hex() if you want the
    values converted to decimal. oct() interprets hex ("0x350"), octal
    ("0350" or even without the leading "0", like "377") and binary
    ("0b1010") numbers, while hex() only converts hexadecimal ones, with or
    without a leading "0x", like "0x255", "3A", "ff", or "deadbeef". The
    inverse mapping from decimal to octal can be done with either the "%o"
    or "%O" sprintf() formats.

    This problem shows up most often when people try using chmod(), mkdir(),
    umask(), or sysopen(), which by widespread tradition typically take
    permissions in octal.

        chmod(644,  $file); # WRONG
        chmod(0644, $file); # right

    Note the mistake in the first line was specifying the decimal literal
    644, rather than the intended octal literal 0644. The problem can be
    seen with:

        printf("%#o",644); # prints 01204

    Surely you had not intended "chmod(01204, $file);" - did you? If you
    want to use numeric literals as arguments to chmod() et al. then please
    try to express them as octal constants, that is with a leading zero and
    with the following digits restricted to the set 0..7.


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