|go ahead... be a heretic|
Perl is of course a language but here is what makes it (IMHO) more than just another language
1) First Perl is efficient (you can do complex things fast!)
2) Perl can be extanded (May St Larry bless CPAN)
3) Most inportant : Perl is fun to use
Let me developp this a little bit as it's the key point for me :
<flames protection on> I mean, of course python,ruby have similar features; and a lot of languages even do better in some areas<flames protection off>, but which language gives you has much fun when you use it ?
The infamous TIMTOWTDI allow you to code the way you want, more than any other language, Perl allow you to developp your style...
And let's be honest the (sometimes) cryptic syntax is also part of the fun...
With Perl coding can become black magic again...
In this world or even the half-brained dummy can code or become a webmaster, Perl allow the true Gurus to produce ununderstandable code by any Perl-illiterate...
More than any other language, Perl has short-cuts, tricks which make it long to handle efficiently...
This make (feel?) real Perl programmers apart from the rest of the world...
This elitist aspect may not be a good thing, but it's a force which lead us to enhance our skill to reach the true Perl knowledge and is (for me) a big part of the fun.