Last month I spoke at a local (non-Perl) users group. They needed a last-minute substitution for a speaker who couldn't make it, so I gave what was more or less the talk on maintenance of CPAN modules I gave at YAPC in June. There was a guy in the first row who was evidently out to bait me. His first question was, "I hear Perl is dead."
I cited the strength of this year's YAPC, the vitality of the Perl community, etc. Since I felt he was simply trolling, my response was brief so I could get on to a more on-topic question.
This week, fresh off the plane from the Chicago Perl hackathon the popping of my Parrot/Perl 6 cherry, I was coming out of the subway on my way to work when I ran into a fellow I've known for several years. He used to attend Perl Seminar NY fairly regularly. He spoke two or three times, always did good presentations and always impressed me with the breadth of his professional experience, with respect to languages, OSes and areas of focus.
So he says (I'm paraphrasing from memory), "At my shop (a medium-sized investment bank) the amount of Perl that people are writing is really going down. People are writing a lot of JRuby and JPython because the Java libraries have gotten so much better and Perl 6 hasn't come out."
I didn't want to get into an argument there, but I urged him to come back to perlsemny some time and share his experiences working in non-Perl environments. That night I formalized that a bit by inviting him to speak at perlsemny, but in my email I also noted the big upsurge in postings on jobs.perl.org and that the fact that Perl, at long last, had enable me to get an IT job.
I work at a Perl shop, so the amount of Perl being written there is in no danger of declining. But a lot of my colleagues, who are all Perl programmers but only a few of whom participate in the Perl community, are clearly skeptical that Perl 6 will be worth the wait for it. Since I have to agree that the wait has been, shall we say, protracted, I don't have much to say in response. (I guess my own response has been to finally find a niche of the Perl 6/Parrot project I can work on -- but that's not everybody's approach.)
I'm wondering how the rest of you cope with potentially FUD-dish attitudes toward Perl.