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> my $a, $b ... declares a global $b. Not DWIM at all.

> Regarding c) I am not a fan of use strict

Apparently you also aren't a fan of use warnings, otherwise you would have seen that that my $a, $b doesn't do what you think it does.

    # perl -E 'use strict; use warnings; my $a, $b;'
    Parentheses missing around "my" list at -e line 1.
What you want is

    my ($a, $b);

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