"While the previous editions were exceptionally well-written
references, they were also aimed squarely at experienced
programmers. This edition pushes back the starting blocks somewhat,
providing a gentler introduction to the world of Perl. The wealth
of new information is staggering, but as you'd expect from the
luminous authors, even the core language reference is highly
readable and entertaining...."
"While it's a temporary conundrum, it's a little odd to read
about features that aren't quite implemented yet. This is most
noticeable in the Unicode discussions and the chapter on threading.
Occasionally, the authors will describe a feature and then admit
that the specifics will likely change. (Have a look at the
documentation.) Granted, the bulk of the language is mature and
stable, and the definitive guide can't very well get by with
ignoring major features, but it reads a little oddly."
"The intended audience is still the serious Perl programmer.
Dabblers and casual learners will find enlightenment and
instruction. Realize, though, that while it's easier to start your
journey here, absolute beginners would do well to explore a
Learning Perl or Elements of Programming with Perl first. People
who've programmed before (beyond dabbling with VB, or doing
mouseovers in Web pages) should have little difficulty picking up
the Perl language and mindset."