Perl is not interpreted. At least it is not in the same sense as shell. Shell scripts are source-level interpreted. Perl programs go through a full-scan compilation into another form which is then executed. It isn't translated directly into machine code, but syntax errors are caught at compilation time and not run time. The process does happen generally every time you run a program, but that does not mean it doesn't happen.
Nearly every useful language has the ability to execute external commands. Most shells rely on that for most of their utility. If you think Perl is insecure because it can call an external binary, then what of shell, which often must?
Also related to how shell is used is your footprint comment. How is Perl's footprint compared to every Unix command available on every version of Unix? Undisciplined shell programmers can use every CLI-based program on the system to get their work done. They often must use the search path to attempt any kind of portability, and can be effected by other environment differences. An undisciplined Perl programmer who uses every dark corner of Perl can at least expect some compatibility among different installations of the same version. If you're depending on external tools for most of your functionality, you can't count on much of anything.
Shell doesn't have an eclectic feature set? Again, you're talking about the entire installed command set of whatever machine you're on, often depending on the search path and environment variables.
Perl has its weaknesses, but I don't think you're assessing them fairly here. Perl and most shells are worlds apart.
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