(I am replying to my own post, after reading the responses by other peoplke up until now. I am a newcomer to perlmonks, but an experienced programmer. In Perlmonks I am stolkin -- but for some reason my posts show up as being from "Anonymous Monk".)
I may want to stay with Perl 5 rather than go to perl 6. But there is a problem in staying with Perl 5. Due to Perl 6 the Perl 5 community is deprived of the resources of several key people, e.g. Larry, and also "Good Damian".
I wonder if Parrot will be further delayed due to the need to support Perl 6, when a Perl 5 oriented Parrot might be done much sooner.
Ruby holds little appeal for me, and Python even less.
I think it is telling that most of the responses to my email are a technical discussion, e.g. how to make Perl more like Scheme. But Scheme, while elegant, is still a "boutique" language whereas Perl is widely used.
As we know, when Larry designed Perl he took the best parts of awk, C, sh, etc., plus added a few excellent new ideas, and produced a language that was a mixture -- but a mix based on features that had been proven to be good.
In contrast Perl 6 is a mixture of a variety of theoretically desireable features, e.g. multimethods, functional programming, logic programming, aspect oriented programming, design by contract, etc. that have not been proven in widely used languages. I agree that these features are theoretically desirable. But that does not mean they should all be put into one language. The thrust of the second system syndrome is the temptation to add all those other truly good features that the first system did not have.
The claim that people will still be able to program in Perl 6 using a Perl 5 like subset is disingenuous. Most people read as much code as they write. The new language is much larger, and much harder to understand. It is likely to produce odd error messages, at least odd to people who have not taken courses in formal program language semantics.
The original design of perl was simple. I learned Perl 4 from its man page -- yes there was one long man page that completely described the entire language. Apocalyse 6 included almost 30 pages discussing the new ==> and <== operators! This is not a good sign.