What am I working on right now? Probably the Sprog project [sourceforge.net].
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XML::Simple 2.15 should be winging its way to a CPAN mirror near you. To those people who have been waiting for a release - thanks for your patience. The full change log is here but it's mostly small stuff. The biggest changes are in Makefile.PL
If this version finds that the target machine has a broken parser module, then Makefile.PL will fail with a message explaining what is wrong and how to fix it - ie: it won't generate a Makefile so it won't get as far as trying (and failing) to run tests.
If there's no parser module at all then the normal automatic dependency resolution should pull in a reasonable default, although it will require that libexpat is installed and a compiler is available.