"If you've been using Linux for any length of time, you've
surely heard of Perl; probably even run a number of scripts,
perhaps without even knowing it. Programs like "inews", "mirror",
"debconf", "majordomo", "sirc", and a host of others are written
purely in Perl. Taking a quick "zgrep" through the "Packages.gz"
file in the Debian distro tells me that 382 of the packages depend
on Perl (meaning that a critical part of that package is written in
it), and 28 other packages either suggest or recommend it...."
"Perl has been variously referred to as "A scripting language
with delusions of full language-hood", "The Swiss Army Chainsaw of
Unix", "The duct tape of the Web", and other equally, umm,
complimentary names. It has been used to write single-line scripts,
fast-executing programs, large projects (Amazon.com's entire
editorial production and control system, Netscape's content
management and delivery system, the Human Genome Project's DNA
sequencing and project management, etc.), and millions of quick
programs that do an amazing variety of things. Perl can also
emulate a number of common Unix system utilities (hint: if you're
looking at having to learn 'awk', 'sed', 'grep', and 'tr', I'd
suggest starting in on Perl, instead. All the functionality, much
faster, and you'll never outgrow the capabilities. Sure wish I'd
known that, way back when...)"
"As you would expect of any modern language, Perl allows you to
do object-oriented programming. It also handles networking
(sockets, etc.), is highly portable (a well-written script will run
on Linux, BSD, Solaris, DOS, Win9x, NT, MacOS, OS/2, AmigaOS, VMS,
etc. without modification), and has a very short write/debug cycle
- since there's no compilation required, you just write the changes
and run the script. There's a tremendous wealth of modules
(pre-built Perl routines) available to perform just about any task;
the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) is one of the best
resources a Perl programmer can have."