- Perl is not taught in colleges because (a) there are not textbooks, (b) it has only recently become mature enough to use for demonstration CompSci concepts, (c) the vast majority of CS professors don't have years of experience with Perl (as a result of b). No one is really blaming anything on anyone; but it is perfectly reasonable to say that new Perl jobs are harder to come by, in part, because new CS graduates have not been taught Perl but other languages instead.
- Only a very few people CGI means Perl: most people realize that it is a method for a web server to generate dynamic pages by executing code (which can be written in any language, in theory). There is, of course, a CGI module that made writing CGI scripts and applications easier in Perl than in many other languages. That is why Perl quickly became a very common tool to produce CGI-based web sites.
As for CPAN, it's not a buzzword, but it is a powerful point toward choosing Perl for Rapid Prototyping or Rapid App. Development projects. Yes, Java and C# code can be readily located using Google searches, but CPAN is more than a centralized repository. CPAN, in combination with the CPAN module (or Bundle::CPAN) has full dependency tracking, and is supported by the CPAN Testers, so that one can know a module has a test suite and the like.
I think many people make the mistake that Perl is trying to compete with other languages, or that people will chose Java, C#, or some other language instead of Perl.
The reality, of course, is that most Perl programmers don't program only in Perl. Many very knowledgable Perl folks use C, Java, or even one of the .NET languages. Perl does what it does very well, and continues to be used (albiet more quietly than in the past) to maintain a huge extant code base and to create new applications.
Unfortunately, because Perl is not in the limelight (marketing, magazine articles, etc.) nor taught in programming classes, Perl programmers are harder to find. Because there are fewer Perl programmers than, say, Java programmers, management is more likely to select Java because they know they can find a replacement coder if someone quits.
What gets used for big software projects has almost nothing to do with the quality of the language, and everything to do with management's confidence in finding good people (and being able to afford to pay them).
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