What is Perl?:
Perl, sometimes referred to as Practical Extraction and Reporting Language, is an interpreted programming language with a huge number of uses, libraries and resources. Arguably one of the most discussed and used languages on the internet, it is often referred to as the swiss army knife, or duct tape, of the web.
Who created it?:
Perl was first brought into being by Larry Wall circa 1987 as a general purpose Unix scripting language to make his programming work simpler. Although it has far surpassed his original creation, Larry Wall still oversees development of the core language, and the newest version, Perl 6.
Where can I get it?:
Many web hosts and Unix / Linux machines already have Perl installed and running, so check with your host or system administrator first. If you're installing on a local machine, go to the Perl web site, click on the 'Downloads' link, and find the version for your operating system. There are binary packages available, or you may install it from the source code.
How can I tell if it's installed?:
Get to a command prompt on your system and type the command perl -v. If Perl is installed correctly, you should see the version information displayed.
Where do I find Perl libraries?:
The list of Perl libraries and modules is very extensive, and often an important reason when people decide to use Perl for a particular application. Rather than trolling the net in search of the most useful ones, you can begin your search by browsing CPAN - the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network.