1) I'm not sure what you call a "real" application, but I've written a number of significant applications using Perl and Tk that are used daily by a number of people or are major parts of our corporate software deployment process. They look awful (Tk's like that), but were quick to write, are easy to maintain and are very appropriate to their purpose. Oh, and they are all running on Windows of course.
There is no "perfect" language, although there are languages that are well suited to particular application domains. Perl is a very good text processing and prototyping language. It is not such a good general GUI application development language, although it performs really well in that role for small applications if you don't care much about the "look". Perl can be very portable across systems.
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