If I didn't grab your attention with my Perl 5 Is Dying post, allow me to follow up.
First, to reiterate my main point: if only Perl programmers know that Perl isn't dead, it's dead.
Or maybe those of a political bent might appreciate the observation that for many people, perception trumps reality. Seriously, perception trumps reality. If decision makes perceive that Perl is dead, we can all laugh quietly at their idiocy. After all, some COBOL programmers are still laughing.
Got that? Really? Seems to me a few people either missed that point or dispute it. Fair enough. Now sit back and relax.
When I was living in Portland working for a company called 'OnSite Technology', we had trouble hiring Perl programmers. We had no trouble finding Perl programmers. They were a dime a dozen. People write a couple of admin scripts in Perl and they put Perl on their CV. Now don't get me wrong, I have Java on my CV, but I would never dream of sitting down for a Java interview without their knowing up front that my knowledge is pre 1.5 and I don't know any of the modern tools. It's only there because I want employers to know that I have some exposure to it, not that I think I know it.
Now, maybe I'm just being naive, but somehow people with Perl on their CV think they can do this job, but they can't. Not even close. At OnSite we struggled so hard to find programmers that we hired one of our programmers from California and another one from Idaho (or was that Iowa? I forget). Two-thirds of our Perl programmers were from out of state because that's what we had to do to keep our company going.
It's not just Portland. In the "dying" thread, mock complained about companies in Victoria and Vancouver having trouble hiring Perl programmers. We're having the same problem here in London. My brother (the Java programmer, not the one banned from Portugal) tells me that he can't find Perl programmers but Java guys are a dime a dozen. Here at the BBC, I've been told that lack of competent Perl programmers has been one of the reasons we've considered moving away from Perl. Many employers I've spoken with in London tell me the same sad story. In fact, it's bad enough that Dave Cross picked up a Simon Cozens' project and offered a free Perl class at the BBC. We might even do this again.
Oddly, I hear that Python has a similar problem (I wouldn't know), but that Ruby and PHP don't. While this is still all anecdotal evidence, when employers tell me that they can find developers for languages which are not Perl, I find that interesting. And maybe they're wrong, but like the whole "Perl 5 Is Dying" meme, it's still a problem.
So, you've got a great product idea and need to start a new team. You've heard that Perl is really quick to develop in, but you hear that Perl is dead and you can't find any Perl programmers. Hmm
We can point to Perl's rather flat job trends and claim we're not dying, but others can point out that we're not growing. Of course, other languages have flat job trends, but they're also not fighting the bad PR we are. We can compare relative job growth in our direct competitors and see that we're dead last. I suppose we can wait until the pain really sets in (and I know that some will), but then it will be too late.
Publish articles. Publish articles in places which aren't typically Perl-centric. Blog about Perl. If you have a Perl-related site, try and make it look modern, not like some throwback to the 90s. If you don't have the skill for that (I certainly don't), ask for help. If your bosses say "Perl is dying", politely correct them with information, not faith.
And if your bosses counter with "we can't find good Perl programmers", well, I ain't got no advice for you there. If the decision makers and new programmers decide that Perl is dead, then we know where we're going. It's a vicious cycle we have to break. In the past few years, dynamic languages have been carving their own niche, but Perl's not well-represented there even though many of them learned their hard won lessons from us.