Circa 2005, perl's core code needed to be re-written for the modern world
That was realised far before then. Chip's Topaz project to write a new, modern C++ perl core, kicked off in 1999, IIRC. It failed. Then there was another major attempt in 2000. That became perl6, and took 18 years. In the meantime, some of us have been keeping the existing perl5 core ticking over. We haven't been stopping anyone from forking the core and modernising it in Their Own Image - for example Kurila and cperl.
We are however regularly accused of being Evil and breaking backwards compatibility on every new release. You only need to install a Marc Lehman mode from CPAN to get a virtual earful on how capricious the Porters supposedly are.
Then we get in the neck from a second group of people on how evil we are for not rewriting perl in a shiny new modern way and be damned with old scripts still running.
I think we have attempted to steer a reasonable middle course. We don't get it right all the time of course.