Perl is my preferred programming language, for a number of reasons. One is definitely the excellent open-source support through CPAN, which has an excellent selection of support on nearly any topic. There are some problems with inelegant syntax, and a major problem in class inheritance. However, these are easily offset by its strengths.
The one weakness of it is speed: Perl is slower to run than compiled languages like Java. However, Perl can be extended with C routines -- which is in keeping with good programming theory to only optimize the few limiting steps rather than wasting time in optimizing all the code.
Other Perl links:
Learn to program at Brooks College, San Jose