|Do you know where your variables are?|
It isn't that we haven't heard this before. And it isn't that it isn't true in some respects. However you are kidna confusing me in a few respects. You mention that perl should focus on web scripting, but then complain that most people using perl arn't realy programmers and they write messy code. Being easy to pick up and use is a feature. A very nice feature in fact. It causes some messy code, and it allows some non-programmers to actualy hack something together. These are blessings and curses, but thats how perl is.
You do act as though perl is only a web scripting language and nothing more, and that to be usefull in any way it neesd mod_perl. Those are pretty much all false. About half of the perl i right is web based, the rest deals with text processing that is realy hard to do in other languages. If I need to parse an input, format an export, manage a database then perl is where i reach. Before I could get any other language to connect or handle most those thing i would be done with 2 or 3 perl projects. If I was more profecient in other languages then this might not be the case, but the fact is you can do lots of stuff with perl long before you reach a "Proficient" level.
Perl6 is thankfully a seperate beast from perl 5. This is good because perl 5 is continuing to be maintained and is not on hold while those building perl 6 do their thing. Is perl 6 taking too long to come out? Probably, but since this is all volunteer work it is hard to push. Find someone to pay for it and i'm sure you could get it out faster, but thats not realy the perl way. Their goal is to have something better than our current perl, but still just as easy to pick up and use. Few other languages can boast both the easy of use and depth of power that perl has and that is its strenght not its weakness. This strenght results in some bad code and some misconceptions but it also gave us all a great language.
One last bit. I didn't start with perl because I wanted a scripting language for web pages. I started with it because I wanted a language that handled memory, dynamic arrays, strings, and hashs without me having to code them. Actualy i'd just finished writing myself a script language in C++ that did all this and while researching ways to improve it I found perl, junked my own mini-language and never looked back. I still dable in C++, VB, ASP, PHP, etc, but when it comes to getting a job done quick I pickup perl, get it done, then go back to playing ;)
P.S. five years ago when I started perl, people said it was dieing. Guess they were wrong! ;)