in reply to SAS vs Perl?

The right direction to start learning Perl: there's more than one way to do it (TMTOWTDI). Some starters (a bit in my order of preference):

Online Perl Library (several online books)
Online Perl books (several other online books)
Perl Introduction (online introduction to Perl)
Perl Monks Tutorials (a world of knowledge on itself)
Perl Monks Library (yet another world of knowledge (yawow))
The O'Reilly Perl Center
The famous Llama Book (Learning Perl) by Randal Schwartz (and others)
The O'Reilly Perl CD Bookshelf (7 Perl books on a CD, including Learning Perl)
Perl Documentation (online and extensive)
The Perl Directory (even more documentation)
Frequently Asked Questions about Perl
CPAN Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (info and modules ready to use
CPAN Search and find
Perl Monks FAQ - Questions and answers about this website and pointers to a lot of info
The Perl Archive


Update: the above list links came from my personal list of resources. I threw in a couple of hours to adapt it and make a new, nicer formatted node, that contains these and a lot more useful links and information: Where and how to start learning Perl.