First I released a new version of Archive::Tar of which the main change is the return of the 'bin/ptar' script, which I accidentally forgot to include. Luckily DH reminded me of this
The latter is an abstraction from CPANPLUS' generic file fetching code, which should enable you to download a file from the web (http or ftp for now) from pretty much any connected system.
Alien::Zlib requires this, as one is not meant to upload other peoples sources (in this case the zlib source code) to CPAN.
The idea behind Alien::Zlib (and Alien::* in general) is to provide a way to resolve non-perl prereqs; Compress::Zlib requires the zlib libraries and headers to be available, but has no pure perl way of doing so. Now it can require 'Alien::Zlib' and CPAN/CPANPLUS will Do The Right Thing.
This is an idea that was suggested at a CPAN-meeting last year in London. I'm still not sure this is the way to go to solve the 'Non perl prerequisite' problem, but it at least gives us some working code to study, and the people who thought they needed such a system to see if this brings them what they expected.
So with this out of the way, I might finally be able to get back to developing CPANPLUS 0.050. I'm still hoping to get a development release out RSN