Perl is a high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming language. Its name isn’t an acronym but the Perl scripting language has received a few various backronyms which are used in some cases, like: Practical Extraction and Reporting Language. Perl was invented by Larry Wall in 1987 as a general-purpose Unix scripting language. It was created to make report processing easier. Throughout the years, it has changed a lot and evolved through many changes and revisions. The most up-to-date major stable version is 5.16, released on May 2012. Perl 6 is a from-scratch reboot of the Perl scripting language, announced in 2000 and still being actively developed as of 2012.
Perl script can be installed on almost every computing platform in the world, from ancient 486 desktops to supercomputing clusters. First, you have to choose where you’ll be running your Perl scripting applications from. If you’re mostly interested in coding web apps, you’re better of choosing a web hosting company that has Perl script running capabilities pre-installed on their servers (most hosts have that enabled). By choosing this route, you must make sure that you have SSH or telnet shell access to the server where your Perl scripting applications will run from. Windows users can use PuTTY, a telnet/SSH client, to log into their user accounts on the server. Using telnet is highly unsafe and should be avoided because your username and password are being broadcasted over the web visible in plain text. SSH is a secure protocol designed for running shell sessions on remote hosts and is highly recommended.