If you are a complete n00b, you don't know where to find this "Perl interpreter" that you have to put on the first line after a cryptic "#!".
The shebang is optional, and generally unix specific. Unix users already know how it works, Windows users don't have to even care about it.
If your provider has set up PHP for you, you can rename a .html file to .php and you have your first working php script (well... in a sense that is).
That's *mod_php* in Apache that does this and has absolutely nothing to do with PHP's programming language. In exactly the same way, a server COULD be set up to handle .pl files (or .plp) using a mod_perl handler.
Also, in PHP if i want to create in image, i can do that out-of-the-box. No modules to find, download, make, make test, make install, import. It just works.
This is a matter of how the distribution is formed. This is different, but neither is better. I, for one, hate PHP's crammed together packaging of everything there is, because it means I have to upgrade PHP every time an important bug is fixed in one of its standard extensions.
I remember when i wanted to work with images in Perl i was totally intimidated by the amount of choice i had.
Choice is tough. If you can't handle this, you should simply not be programming at all, regardless of language. Programming is continuously making choices, at several levels. If you can manage it, then you will learn and benefit from it in more ways than you can think of at the time of your first module choice. Again, this has little to do with the programming *language*.
So what everybody already knows about PHP (its easy of use) is a forte. It is also probably why so many people use PHP.
It is at the same time the reason why many professionals avoid PHP like the Plague. Ease of use is nice, very nice even, but it should never get in the way of a professional. This is a recurring topic in the perl6-language mailinglist. PHP is a tool meant for and made by beginning programmers. It's a pity that most of them will never use their full brain capacity with it.
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