NPEREZ asks, "Who are these people that have a vested interested in Perl and yet do not participate?" Well, I guess until very recently I was one of them.
The core of my professional work is a set of C++ libraries. But there are 11,000 lines of Perl 5 code split across about 30 programs which are essential components supporting those libraries. Most of it is generating things, including 95,000 lines of C++ code and hundreds of makefiles, VC++ projects, etc. The Perl 5 I use is either the vendor-supplied Perl (on my Linux boxen and my MacBook) or ActiveState on Windows; my development environment requires that most of that 11,000 lines runs on every platform I use.
In this context, Perl 5 has just plain worked for me for the last decade. With a fresh Linux install it usually takes me about five minutes to get the modules I use off of CPAN and than I'm up and running. I can't recall ever having an issue with using a different version of Perl for this; it just has always worked, quickly and easily.
Given that, why would I have "participated" in steering Perl 5? I'm a busy guy, and Perl 5 has been steered perfectly for my purposes without my contribution. It took Perl 6 to draw me into the community. Now that I'm following a number of Perl blogs (thank you Iron Man), I'm taking an interest in Perl 5 development as well, because I'm excited about the newer modules I am learning about.
So I come to this issue from both sides. On the one hand, I'm very excited about new developments in Perl (both Perl 5 and Perl 6); I'm correspondingly disappointed that 5.10 has not been widely adopted, because that slows my own use of it. (Though after seemingly good results compiling a "personal" 5.10 on one of my Linux boxen, I may try switching to this approach, leaving the vendor Perl for the system to use and upgrading the version I use personally.)
On the other hand, I'd be pretty put out if someone gratuitously broke all my scripts. (The proposed idea of making "use strict" default would do it nicely, breaking all but the most recent.) I guess if the breakage could be controlled by a command line switch it would just be a minor nuisance. Otherwise the cost would likely be somewhere between days of work and simply refusing to ever update Perl 5 again.
Having just taken my first steps into the community, I don't feel like the me of six months ago somehow deserved to be screwed over just because I wasn't really part of the community then. From my perspective, the Perl community did a fantastic job of steering the language through 5.005, 5.6, and 5.8; to the extent there has been a bit of a fumble with 5.10, it seems to be the lack of updates more than the changes to the language. I'd like to see that great work continue along similar lines.