I think we've been a bit unfair to Mr. Clinick. If you read the whole paragraph plus the previous one it's clear he did not mean that all Perl programs are write-only.
Perl actually stands for Practical Extraction and Report Language and was invented by Larry Wall to help him develop solutions on UNIX that C and Shell scripts just didn't address. You could say that he invented "scripting" as we know it today. I'm convinced that I'll get a ton of mail about that (from avid Rexx and TCL programmers, no doubt), but I think Larry deserves a lot of the credit for developing scripting into the vibrant community it is today. It's difficult to describe Perl; it's similar in syntax to Cóbut is much easier to learn and develop, because it was designed to give you as many shortcuts as possible. Ask Perl developers to do something, and they invariably reply, "No problem. I could do that in two lines of Perl," closely followed by a colleague claiming it could be done in one line! That's not to say that you can't develop large programs in Perl. It's just that a lot of Perl scripts are very small because the language gives you those shortcuts.
Sometimes, those shortcuts can be a little counterproductive, though. Perl is famous for its ability to create programs that are entirely illegible to everyone but the developer who wrote them. The Perl community even has obfuscation contests to see who can write the most unintelligible Perl code!
I think the quote was taken out of context and thus may seem to mean something else than was intended.
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-- P. Simon in Mrs. Robinson
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