The OP specifically said (and you even reference) the fact that (s)he is using ActiveState Perl. This distribution uses binary packages put into PPM files for adding modules. Even though it includes an interface to CPAN, this is not useful because ActiveState does not distribute a make utility or a C compiler. Only Pure Perl modules will work with CPAN when using ActiveState, which is not a huge number. If you are on Windows and do want to use CPAN, most Monks recommend Strawberry Perl, which does include those necessary tools.