Believe what you want, it doesn’t mean you’re right
Recently Perl 5.12.0 was announced. There are some great changes in this release, some incremental and some new goodness has been introduced. Looking at the commentary this announcement spawned I suspect there is a disconnect between the Perl developers, the Perl community, and the people who might be interested in Perl.
If you read on-line articles and blogs you could be forgiven for having discounted Perl when considering a language for a new project. The most telling review of the news of perl 5.12.0’s release announcement I have seen was in Ars Technica, and I’ll not link to it because I don’t want to drive any traffic their way. As a poorly researched article which managed to play to the false notion that Perl has in some way stagnated it succeeds, and the article is only redeemed by some of the comments.
A more general thing which I have noticed is that Perl seems to be frequently absent from the list of dynamic languages mentioned in on-line articles, as if it has vanished. In my personal experience Perl is still actively used in loads of places, the Perl community is still active socially, and CPAN is still growing, and the language is still developing – both perl 5.x and perl 6.
There may well be some rough old Perl code out there, the language is twenty years old and has attracted developers of all abilities. I wonder how many of the people who disparage Perl have looked at the tools and techniques which can let a serious developer craft readable, robust, scalable code with ease.
In my opinion modern Perl is a great language to develop in. The more languages you know the more informed your choice will be, but at least let your choice be based on having used the language – don’t take my word for it, don’t take my love of Ruby to mean you should love it too, don’t take some Google fan-boy’s word that some language is good because Google uses it, try some languages out!