|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
A hammer for a nail; a screwdriver for a screw. Yeah, there are some people who will use a butter knife to screw in the leads to an electrical socket, just as there are those who will use a stale loaf of bread wrapped up in six layers of aluminum foil and dipped in three coats of shellac to use as an organic mallet on the third day after midsummer's eve to pound Hershey's kisses into used corn cobs.
Why do people do these things? It's a fear of change, or sheer laziness. And learning a new perl dialects is no different. One chum codes everything as .pl files, all Perl4-esque, and hates anything OO in Perl5. Another has been living on the latest tidbits of Perl6 to come out.
However, I've also encountered people completely new to Perl programming, and they're not overwhelmed at all. They credit the plethora of books that have been written, and especially the user community here at perlmonks.org, with dispelling any FUD they might have about the language.
I myself am helping them become more comfortable about using regexes, and sure enough they learning it, and learning it well. No fancy IDEs, no Eclipse, no VS.NET.
Just vi and a dream.
I've used Eclipse, and I like it for Java, but it's like jumping back into smalltalk on steroids after a fashion, and using a heavy IDE can sometimes be daunting, just like trying to learn enough TSO/ISPF and JCL to compile COBOL programs.
Do Perl hackers have an inferiority complex? Not that I've seen. We're some of the most capable, strong-willed, upstanding bunch I know. The industry tends to play us down in favor of more traditional (read: compiled) languages, such as Java or C#. What Perl6 will do to that perception will depend on which CIO reads the appropriate Hip & Trendy™ buzzwords in some magazine recommended by Someone-Who-Knows.
Is Perl in any danger of dying out? No. It's ubiquitous because it is useful, and continues to evolve with its programming family of adherents.
Falling off my soapbox,
"Perl. There is no substitute."