Foo JH wrote:
> In the academia the general directive in choosing a language would be
> something to this effect:
> 1. teach modern language concepts, such as OO
> 2. minimise the learning curve by way of something easy to teach, easy
> to learn without having to figure out all the details of programming
> 3. introduce the students to a language that will make them attractive
> to the general market
>
> You probably have a feel why Perl isn't a strong choice given these
> objectives.

On points 1 & 2:
1. Perl supports more programming paradigms than Java.
2. You write fewer lines of perl to get things done than you do in Java.

There is empirical evidence of this - anyone seen the Software Productivity Group research on programming languages? In general:

C - 6 x more productive than assembler
Java/C++ - 3 x more productive than C
Perl/Python (Ruby/javascript not represented) - 2-3 x more productive than Java/C++

Results are consistent over 2 studies a decade or so apart.

Point 3 does scream "Java" but take a look at this:

http://lambda-the-ultimate.org/node/2941

The author laments the ubiquity of Java as the language of choice in education (despite having advocated it himself). On balance he'd go for python but doesn't dismiss Perl out of hand either.

I can't convince my own colleagues of the benefits of perl despite the fact I continually produce decent quality s/w faster than they can, when given the opportunity. Folk will see what they expect to see.

This was demonstrated by a psychology experiment in the 90's. Subjects were asked to look at a video of 2 football teams passing a football around and count how many times the ball was passed.

When asked at the end of the video the answers were pretty accurate. Then they were asked "What about the gorilla?". In the middle of the video someone in a gorilla suit walks on, bangs on its chest and walks off. Hardly anyone spots the gorilla.