I second the home dir installation idea. Maybe not default, but definitely have an easy syntax to do home dir installations; something like perl Makefile.PL install_dir (replace Makefile.PL with whatever makes sense (my brain is a little fried right now from 12+ hours of trying to shoehorn XS modules into a poorly configured machine); hopefully you get the idea).
Update: I just saw this quote in The St. Larry Wall Shrine, the irony was too much to pass up...
"What is the sound of Perl? Is it not the sound of a wall that people have stopped banging their heads against?"
--Larry Wall in <1992Aug26.email@example.com>