Interesting, but perl 5 is dying because nobody created a good way for folks to build web applications with perl. CGI scripts? No, sorry. mod_perl? Died an ugly death somewhere between Apache 1.x and the new MPMs in Apache 2.x. All the interesting frameworks (i.e. Mason, embperl) depended on mod_perl. Those are all basically dying of upstream dehydration.
There’s no technical reason that a conceptual equivalent of Perl on Rails couldn’t have been created years ago. But the innovation shifted outside of the Perl community and those still left were too busy figuring out what was going on with perl 6 to help people figure out how to put a perl-based website together. And don’t get me started about threading.
Perl once was the duct tape of the Internet, but those days are long gone. It’s too hard to connect Perl to a scalable website anymore, so it’s pretty much over until someone can figure out how to change that. It doesn’t hold up next to the options available in PHP or modern Java… not by a long shot.
Perl still has all the good stuff: CPAN and the wildly rich collection of modules comes to mind. But I’m not sure that this can save Perl as a platform.
Sidenote: it’s a crying shame that all that great code in CPAN will end up being rewritten over the coming years. What a waste of time and effort. Just another reason why a multi-language VM is such an important part of a long term strategy.