Early advantages? Could you cite some objective examples? Not packages or apps, but just plain Python versus plain Perl.
I primarily had packages in mind and more specifically numpy and scipy. IIRC as far as Python qua Python is concerned, one advantage was that it looks like pseudocode and so was presumably more appealing to individuals with existing scientific knowledge but none in programming.
PHP is a polished turd and it took the web from Perl. Winning is not necessarily an indication of a better underlying tool.
I agree. PHP is a revolting stain on the open source / free software community.