in reply to The Perl Hacker Inferiority Complex
I don't think Perl hackers have any sort of "inferiority complex". What I see happening is that some people are perhaps feeling a bit threatened by the popularity of other languages, wondering whether they're wisely staying with a superior language (Perl), or whether they're missing something even better. That's always going to be a question with computer trends. In the past, conservatism has usually resulted in stagnation and losing the lead on new technology. Why trouble with those new-fangled VDT's, when you can just toggle the code in through the front-end switches? I fought like a tiger against using a mouse...
Part of the problem, I suspect, is our impatience to see Perl6 unveiled. Everyone else has a bright, shiny new toy to play with, and we're still using good old Perl 5. Poor us... And yet, it says a great deal that Perl 5 is still competitive, considering its advanced age. I like Perl 5. I'm content to use it, until Perl6 comes along. I still have plenty to learn about Perl 5, to keep me busy. Once I've learned all the language, I'll get impatient - but if I ever get that good, I'll start helping out with Perl6.
I agree that TIMTOWTDI has paid off handsomely and continues to do so. It seems to me that a similar approach works in biology. Genetic diversity pays off. You never know when some off-the-wall mutation will be the one to survive the changing environment. Too much purity leaves a species vulnerable to extinction by impairing its ability to create these mutations. That's OK if the environment is stable - but history shows this is not the case. In IT, the environment is even less stable.
Perl 5 isn't hard for newbies - unless you're referring to those who have never programmed in any language. Programming itself is difficult for a newcomer, because it requires a highly structured way of thinking that is not usually taught to non-programmers. It's the disciplined thinking that is difficult, not the particular idiom (though some idioms are more difficult to grasp). For someone who already understands the concepts of programming, Perl is not at all difficult to learn.