Eric, I never suggested Perl was only a web scripting language. My point was that web scripting is what made Perl mainstream. Before the web it was just a fringe language. If the Perl community had only realized this and tried to accommodate web developers better, then Perl might still be attracting lots of new programmers.
There needs to be a compelling reason for people to learn Perl, otherwise the language will begin to rot. It doesn't have to be web scripting, but it needs to be something. Perl just being a great language isn't enough. Python has almost completely taken over the desktop scripting market that Perl was once making great inroads into. When people want to write small to medium sized GUI programs, they turn to Python, not Perl. PHP is now on the command line too. Ruby has surged in popularity in the past year or two, almost entirely because of its new web development platform Ror. These other languages are growing. Perl is shrinking.