Perl is a general-purpose interpreted programming language developed beginning in the late eighties by Larry Wall and friends. The name is not an acronym, however it is often associated with the "backronym" Practical Extraction and Reporting Language. Originally developed for exhaustive text manipulation, Perl has become the language of choice for a large base of system administrators, web developers, network programmers, database engineers and many others. I like it because the syntax and structure make sense to me and Perl can do a lot of tedious repetitive chores for me. I also like Perl's big friendly community.
- Perl motto: There's more than one way to do it. -Larry Wall-
Why learn Perl?
Wall and others affectionately extend the acronym to mean pathologically ecclectic rubbish lister. Perl has been called the "swiss army knife" of programming languages, a "glue language", the "duct tape of the Internet" and many other things. Perl borrows features from C, shell scripting (sh), AWK, sed, Lisp, and other tools familiar especially to those who are acquainted with Unix, the BSDs, Linux and open source software.
Perl is free software, licensed under both the Artistic License and the GNU General Public License. Distributions are available for most operating systems. It comes as standard equipment in most distributions of Linux, FreeBSD, and Mac OS X. It can even be installed on Microsoft Windows systems. A good place to find out more about perl is at Perl.org which provides a myriad of links to that big friendly community I mentioned earlier.