in reply to
Installing CPAN modules without using 'ppm'
Can you be more specific, and perhaps show the errors you experienced when building these modules? You may want to check out the CPAN::Mini module, along with merlyn's article Mirroring your own mini-CPAN.
Are you tied to ActiveState? If not you may be interested in PxPerl:
"PXPerl lets you install new modules with the Perl built-in cpan script. No need for proprietary packages containing modules binaries, like ActivePerl. You can basically choose whatever module you want from CPAN and install it. If the module requires a C compiler, then PXPerl configures it for you. You can choose among these compilers: MinGW, Microsoft C++ Compiler, and Intel C++ Compiler."
Hope this helps.