Just like the Basic programming language, the name ‘Perl’ isn’t really an acronym. People like making up acronyms though and Larry has two favorite expansions. According to its creator, Perl is the Practical Extraction and Report Language, or the Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister. Either way, it doesn’t really matter. Perl is a language for doing what you want to do.
The Perl motto is ‘There’s More Than One Way To Do It’, emphasizing both the flexibility of Perl and the fact that Perl is about getting the job done. We can say that one Perl program is faster, or more idiomatic, or more efficient than another, but if both do the same thing, Perl isn’t going to judge which one is ‘better’. It also means that you don’t need to know every last little detail about the language in order to do what you want with it. You’ll probably be able to achieve a lot of the tasks you might want to use Perl for after the first four or five chapters of this book.