There seems to be a lot of posts recently along the lines of "Perl needs The Solution" and "Perl is Dying" in which some folks appear to be losing the Faith.
Could it be simply that other languages/frameworks are getting a lot of attention right now? You know which ones I'm talking about - without my saying here.
Could you imagine if every time a new CPAN module was released, it was awarded the hype these other frameworks are receiving? It would literally be non-stop.
Now, can you imagine the wave - nay, shockwave - that will ensue when Perl6 and Parrot are released and we can start using our new platform in earnest? I think any rumors of stillbirth will prove to have been greatly exaggerated. The most advanced language, the most high-tech dynamic VM, the most flexible language and the most pre-existing modules (CPAN) all wrapped up in the either the GPL or Artistic License.
How can it get any better than that? When Perl6 is proven and replaces Perl5 on all the Linux distros. When application frameworks (yes, that's plural) and GUI librarys (plural again) and whatever else starts popping up, Perl6 will breathe new life into an already lively community.
So why are we (collective "we", not any one person in particular) so insecure about Perl? If it's because Perl5 has the reputation of a sysadmin tool that would never scale for large systems, Perl6 solves that. If it's because Perl5's object system is "bolted on", Perl6 solves that too. If it's because Perl5 has too much punctuation, well, Visual Basic solves that (hey, what can I say about it?).
I believe Perl's TMTOWTDI maxim has paid off - sort of like a giant composte of ideas. Everyone added something because there was room to add to it. Three guys in a room didn't invent "The Solution" - thousands of men and women worked together and tried out many solutions. Several solutions were only there to compensate for weaknesses inherent within the language itself - many of which have been addressed in Perl6. Some solutions were really just different approaches: Class::DBI/DBIx::Class, Mason/Apache::ASP, Catalyst/CGI::Application, FEAR::API/HTML::Form, etc. Each dicot solving some things, leaving other parts open.
I don't think Perl5 can be made to suddenly be easy for newbies, but Perl6 sure looks like it could. With some choices made completely moot (eg: inside-out objects, threads, junctions, etc) we can get on with the really important @things.
Maybe all that's left is to build a IDE that will surpass Visual Studio.NET and Eclipse?