And last but not the least, is there some preferred flavour of linux that any one of you could suggest?
As to your problem of running multiple Perls, all you need to do is install your multiple Perl versions manually, and simply change the symlink /usr/bin/perl to point to whichever version you wish to run, like /usr/bin/perl5.14.1 or /usr/bin/perl5.16.0, etc. You just need to keep track of which Perl version you are running,
when you install modules. Thats all Perlbrew essentially does for you.
If you don't have root priviledges, you can use local::lib to install to your home directory. In that case, you can put a symlink in your homedir's ~/bin directory, which will point to your privately installed Perl's, something like /home/myuser/lib/perl5/various_versions/bin/perl .... that filepath is just off the top of my head, :-)
but you should be get the idea. Do it manually, instead of relying on perlbrew.