I'm using the Module::Build approach which seems to do a decent job of the basics. However, at the module level I would expect some things were a little easier. Like installing files to a custom place, like /var/www/html.
It's even harder with ExtUtils::MakeMaker. That's probably the reason I'm going to switch to Module::Build.
"When we finally get to the stage where nearly everyone is using CPAN/CPANPLUS (or some similar system of automatically dealing with dependencies, e.g. Debian's debs via apt-get), then life will get much easier for CPAN authors..."
Aren't you already there? Who isn't using package systems that automatically know how to resolve things?
am certainly already there, but if you release some modules on CPAN you'll discover that not everyone is. There's just enough set-up hassles for CPAN/CPANPLUS (e.g. finding a good set of mirror sites to use) that a lot people haven't done this -- I don't know how many, but clearly quite a few haven't.
The biggest unsolved problem with CPAN.pm and CPANPLUS.pm, in my opinion, would be the occasional breakage of deps, and almost as bad, asking the user irritating questions.
I don't care if it needs to chug for an hour, I don't want it to chug for an hour and then to hang-up on something.
And further, it's a little hard to see how these problems can be fixed without a centralized agency in charge of cleaning them up (e.g a distro centered on perl?). Possibly the perl world needs to borrow a page from Debian and get a little more fanatic about defining and demanding adherence to Policy.