I can't imagine trying to learn Perl as a first programming language
though. Way too much information and complexity at once, especially
if one is trying to do something as complex as CGI programming.
The very end of that paragraph outlines one of the biggest problems
with people trying to learn Perl as their first language. It isn't
that Perl isn't a reasonable language to learn as the first language
--- it is that many people who do so are attempting to do something
complex like writing CGI applications as they learn. They don't seem
to want to bother working their way up. And Perl makes it seductively
easy to get started. However, soon they are in over their heads --- and it
isn't merely too much syntax or that Perl is way too complex, it is
because they just haven't built up their basic programming skills
over any period of time, nor been taught fundamental concepts such as
variable scope or shown how to tackle and decompose a problem in a
structured fashion ...
Any language would be a horrible first language if people tried to
learn it all at once and without any real instruction in programming
to speak of --- one doesn't learn how to program as a side-effect
of learning a programming language. But that winds up being both the
expectation of many beginners, and the route they try to take.