“Perl is dead”, crows TIOBE’s January 2008 index. The world belongs to Python.
You see what you want to see in statistics though.
For example, you could compare Perl, Python, PHP, and Ruby job trends. Don’t drop those sigils yet.
Or compare Perl’s delta to C’s delta. Both lost ground in the TIOBE index, but C declined by almost twice as much.
Here’s a fun one. TIOBE’s editorial says that C# and Java will eventually be the two most popular languages. To do this, C# has to surpass Perl. That’s a problem though; it gained more than Perl lost and still slipped a position and is still more popular than Perl.
Ultimately this isn’t even good stats porn though. There’s no analysis of why languages have gained or lost in popularity. Without that, there’s no good way of deciding what these statistics mean. Without that, it seems silly to declare winners and losers and long-term trends. (One might also suspect that the actual release of Perl 5.10 and the buzz around that from the second half of December versus the “imminent” release of Python 3 may shift numbers from this point on.)