Actually I'd like to address this one now if you dont mind.
Activestate has been a long term champion of Perl, they have put serious programming and marketing effort into making Perl a competetive language in one of the largest software markets there is. Its arguable that Activestates work with Microsoft has legitimized the use of perl in many enviornments where it would have otherwise been forbidden. They have put considerable effort into improving perl on the Win32 platform, they have employed at least a couple of perl gurus (Gurusamy Sarathy & Dominus when the latter wrote the regex debugger) and they did so before YAS offered funding to the likes of TheDamian and Elian and Larry Wall. They release a perfectly capable and free version of Perl (one that is used I have no doubt by a considerable, if not the majority of the monks here).
Considering all of this I for one do not begrudge ActiveState charging what is necessary to keep themselves afloat in these difficult times and ensuring that these very same programmers can make a living. And frankly I resent the implication (made not only by you but by others as well) that they are not entitled to do so.
I for one am very happy that ActiveState maintains its focus on Perl, and that they are continually trying to push new boundaries and produce new and exciting products. I hope they continue to do so, and I hope the community of Win32 Perl users dont take that effort for granted.
Regarding the rest of your post VisualPerl is simply an IDE for perl that lives within the .NET framework. It can everything that normal perl can do and (a few things extra). It has a powerful regex and code debugger. In short I think its a good buy if you already have dot net to use. (Our team was impressed enough that we got our normally parsimonious company to buy us four seats.)
Yves / DeMerphq
Writing a good benchmark isnt as easy as it might look.