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My point is about potential problems in backwards compatibility.
A transformation of a string or a number into another string or number is common, BUT the transformation of refs is impossible.
Hence it's far more likely that legacy code will break if something like $_++ became illegal for an aliased input like 3+4 .
Same code for refs wouldn't make sense at all.
I can't come up with more intuitive examples, but I'm sure those exist.
In reply to Re^9: Shouldn't references be readonly? (updated)