On Feb 17, 2013, at 11:43 AM, John Fereira wrote:

> I have been writing software "professionally" since around 1980 and first encounterd perl in the early 1990s of so and have *always* disliked it.   Last year I had to work on a project that was mostly developed in perl and it reminded me how much I disliked it.  As a utility language, and one that I think is good for beginning programmers (especially for those working in a library) I'd recommend PHP over perl every time.  

I'll agree that there are a few aspects of Perl that can be confusing, as some functions will change behavior depending on context, and there was a lot of bad code examples out there.* 

... but I'd recommend almost any current mainstream language before recommending that someone learn PHP.

If you're looking to make web pages, learn Ruby.

If you're doing data cleanup, Perl if it's lots of text, Python if it's mostly numbers.

I should also mention that in the early 1990s would have been Perl 4 ... and unfortunately, most people who learned Perl never learned Perl 5.  It's changed a lot over the years.  (just like PHP isn't nearly as insecure as it used to be ... and actually supports placeholders so you don't end up with SQL injections)