Larry Wall’s most recent State of the Onion on perl.com gives an interesting rundown of his experience with scripting languages. No Perl experience required to get the history lesson. His description of PHP is especially good:
We’ve also seen the rise of PHP, which takes the worse-is-better approach to dazzling new depths, as it were. By and large PHP seems to be making the same progression of mistakes as early Perl did, only slower.