At long last there's a new perl Apocalypse out. What a wait. But what an Apocalypse! It is long (64 page printout) and dense as you would expect, but it outlines some of the most needed features for programming perl in the large, which is exactly what perl needs, since programming in the large is definitely the thing that is most difficult in perl. There's a solid type system (optional of course), function prototypes (optional of course) and a general consolidation of the model of ALL structure which at the same times cleans up the many ways in which control can flow and then promptly fills up the conceptual space made available by the cleanup with yet more arcana.
I stand by earlier statements that the redesign is doing more harm than good by the enormous addition of features, but clearly there are vast improvements also.
The syntax in this apocalypse is presented using spiffy new Apocalypse 5 regexes, and they are beautiful and very readable. The new type system and prototypes look very promising indeed.
Also, a programming style replacing line noise with method calls on builtin abstract data types and a few universal operators is emerging in the examples, which is very welcome. I find the many discussions on super powerful operators sad and completely beside the point when the point isn't writing one page programs doing amazing stuff.
In short, there is hope still for a simple to use but extremely powerful new perl. The pace of development is higly unpredictable however. This Apocalypse has been 9 months in the making. From mailing lists I gather there's been plenty of external problems delaying it, and the subject of course promises to be the second last whopping big one (the last one being objects). With a little luck we're halfway there, so we'll have perl6 around 2005.
There's a separate problem with the runtime though. It seems to be bogged down in some pretty arcane discussions without solid use-case discussions, but I'm just a bystander in the process, so I might just be missing some solid thinking.