Clearly, if you are doing some numerical analysis, and you know in your case that 0**0 = 1 is not the right way to go, you absolutely should be checking for zeroes and handling them appropriately.
I need it to be 1. The question is if Perl will always say 0**0 is 1, or if it does something different on other platforms. Because even mathematicians can't agree on what 00 should be, I wonder if Perl will always deal with it in the same way, or depending on system configuration.
Yes, I was somewhat disturbed by what Abigail-II reported for Perl 4; one would hope for consistency. I assume you've looked in the Perl source code to see how it evaluates 0**0? I would guess that it uses the operating system's math tools. I guess you are going to have to check for zeroes anyway, and set the value as an exception to be safe. Ugly, but it should work.