I was just reading in ziggy's journal that some people wanted to replace POD with XML because XML is sexier. And well, I'm an XML guy, so you'd think I'd be all for that.
I'm not. But not why you might think I'm not.
Let me just say right out that POD sucks. It really really sucks. It is fantastic though for what it was designed for, unfortunately it was really designed in Perl 4's day, and so while it's kinda good at documenting a module or script with a few functions, it's pretty bad at documenting an OO module with parameters and a class hierarchy, and so on.
POD is also pretty bad for extensibility - so many people have tried to add things like footnotes or tables to POD, and most have failed pretty badly.
Finally, and this really is the biggy: the POD spec is like the Perl spec. Non-existant. And yet there's many POD parsers (and only one Perl parser - perl), and they probably all get it wrong (despite the release of perlpodspec.pod). Take L... you can actually parse the same L different ways depending on what spec you read. And if you parse it the way perlpodspec says, you break documents in the wild...
XML solves all of these problems. But, it doesn't solve some of the problems that POD *does* solve, such as being easy to author (I know *I* find XML easy to author, but most other people don't (and you don't count, robin!)).
What I'd personally advocate is a better plugability layer for docs than =begin. That would allow us XML geeks to have tons of metadata that most people couldn't give a shit about. The plugability layer should work like an XML parser in many ways - where you get more information if more information is available, and it should work like SAX in some ways - it should present the same API to the user no matter what "plugin" doc format they've decided to use.
Anyway, I guess I've become one of ziggy's hated "ideas" people rather than an implementor