AFAICT with a quick check, Perl has always behaved as your code shows. It appears this documentation bug was introduced with a rewrite of the split manpage for 5.16 in bd46758. The previous version did not have this issue, it said:
Empty trailing fields, on the other hand, are produced when there is a match at the end of the string (and when LIMIT is given and is not 0), regardless of the length of the match. For example:
produce the output 'h:i: :t:h:e:r:e:!:' and 'hi:there:', respectively, both with an empty trailing field.
print join(':', split(//, 'hi there!', -1)), "\n";
print join(':', split(/\W/, 'hi there!', -1)), "\n";
You should definitely open a bug report against perlfunc.pod.
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