I don't have an action plan or any available magic that could restore Perl to its former glory. In fact, I don't think that's possible. However, Perl needs to become more attractive to younger developers and reach out to those who've drifted to other pastures. For the first time ever, Perl needs to figure out how to sell itself. I was hoping way back in 2010 that an official release of Perl 6 might prime the pump for that occurrence. Obviously, that hasn't happened.
My worry is that by the time we see a "complete" Perl 6 spec and Perl 6 binaries are shipping standard with most major distributions, it will be a day late and a dollar short. We all know Perl 5 isn't going anywhere, especially as there are no guarantees that Perl 6 will be backward-compatible with Perl 5 code, which may ultimately harm Perl 6's adoption. The waters of the software development sea are vastly different today than they were 13 years ago when Perl 6 was announced. It's impossible to keep chasing the horizon and expect to actually get there.
Lastly, I want to make it abundantly clear that I am in no way cheering for the demise of Perl -- quite the opposite. The world is a vastly better place with a vibrant and growing Perl community. However, refusing to admit the problem and address these realities work against that goal. And as far as the vituperative nature of some of my detractors goes, read this comment by YojimboJango on Slashdot, laugh, and lighten up.
This story, "Making the case for Perl," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Paul Venezia's The Deep End blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.