Is Perl "less popuplar" than it used to be ... perhaps. So what?
Some would argue it's a benefit. Many people in technology are obsessed with the bleeding edge -- the ones who rush to learn a new language, so they can assert their superiority over everyone else, or just because they like learning.
That's fine -- there are always going to be people like that, and for the most part, they're going to quickly complain, and/or jump ship to whatever next new language comes along. Why? Because they're adopting too early in the hype cycle.
I'd personally say that Perl is comfortably in the 'Plataeu of Productivity'. It's well established, its shortcomings are known, and we can set realistic expectations on projects written in it.
There's always going to be the group of language nomads -- they can't settle on a language, because they're just never happy. They're the ones pushing Ruby now ... maybe they were last on Python, or Java, or whatever else. In some ways, every good programmer should learn experiment with other languages -- see what the alternate tools are that are out there, so they can make an informed decision about their language choices.
I personally like a language where there are a good number of experts to refer questions to, rather than watching a community of newbies struggle along in the dark as they all try to implement the same things with varying degrees of success.
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