I don't know much about "Python's extended-precision formats" and I'd probably agree.
The OP wasn't very clear about what his problem is, it looked like the usual "why is FP arithmetics not DWIM".
As it turned out later, he has a problem with some bigint automatisms and not Perl (like his rather naive title indicated).
Anyway - modern language or not - understanding FP's limitations is still crucial.
(addicted to the Perl Programming Language and ☆☆☆☆ :)
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