Corion wrote: To me, the "utter lack of help" stems from the fact that module installation is a solved problem, and Module::Build is a reinvented wheel that hasn't really proven it's better ...
Module installation is most definitely not a solved problem. MakeMaker is a spectacular hack that does a wonderful job of handling the majority of needs that most people have but it is not a full-fledged build system. Schwern talks about how difficult it was to try and get MakeMaker to work on Mac Classic and VMS, but they were trivial to add to Module::Build because it's pure Perl. And while it's not public yet, I can guarantee that the sophisticated build work we're doing for Bricolage 2.0 would be very difficult under MakeMaker. Some build requirements (such a variable dependency lists) are beyond the capabilities of MakeMaker primarily because of how difficult they are to add. And does a new OS pop up? Once Perl is ported, there's a good chance that Module::Build will get ported to it immediately and just work. Can't say that for MakeMaker.
MakeMaker is really hard to extend and modify. One day Schwern needs to sit down and try and remember all of the features that he's rejected in MakeMaker because of this. With Module::Build, you have a robust, full-featured build system that's easy to extend, modify, and fix. PREFIX isn't in it yet because of how difficult that is to extract from MakeMaker. Of course, if anyone disputes this, the proof is in the patch.
Module::Build (and I say this with the guilty admission that I haven't ported my modules yet) is the future of build in Perl. It's not where it could be but that is due, in large part, to the fact that many, many years of arcane hacks and business knowledge are squirreled away in the internals of MakeMaker and that's not always easy to port (or well-documented, either). Of course, the fact that people won't use Module::Build until it's perfect doesn't help, either.