There is an excellent slideshow entitled Perl Myths
by Tim Bunce
of DBI fame, busting the long lived Perl misconceptions. I would post it to the News section of this site - but I have a couple of comments on it.
I'll start that the numbers showing CPAN expotential growth should not be treated as Perl specialty - it is Open Source as a whole that has this property. But still no other language has so much infrastructure built for making the openly available code useful. CPAN was the first of a kind repository and it is also the first one to reach such a massive scale forcing us to find ways to keep it useful under this expotential growth. And this is something that will not be easily copied by other languages - because it is an ecosystem - a complex conglomerate of software tools, social practices and supporting organisations. The testing culture with supporting modules, dependency scanning , Perl::Critic, mailing lists, IRC chatrooms, TPF and our own site are all elements of it. This is where the language maturity really shows off. And there are new experiements mashrooming all the time - like Annotated CPAN documentation and CPAN::Forum (which is, by the way, waiting for some Google Summer of Code applicants to write a mailing list gateway and other improvements).
And in the face of expotential growth of all Open Source software Perl is once again in the avant garde treading the new ways of maintaining a massive ecosystem of interdependend code libraries.
Update: There are other versions of that talk (including a video) linked from Tims blog
Related:Have you heard about recent startups using Perl?, What can bring the excitement back to Perl?
Update: Divine Invention: An interview with Larry Wall: "Most other computer languages are pretty sterile. They're about technology. The difference with Perl is that I decided to create the culture at the same time as I was creating the language."