Thank God for cpanminus. Now that I'm free from having to use them, allow me to rant, no, bitch about them.
1. Bad defaults. Some default values might make sense 10-15 years ago, but not so much nowadays. For example, I'd argue that "follow" should now be default. See #2.
2. Too developer-oriented. For example, I believe "notest" should be on by default. This is compounded by the fact that installing Perl modules is so damn-slow already. See #3.
3. Too slow. Startup takes around 10-30 seconds or more. Installing Moose usually takes minutes (but with cpanminus, it only takes about 1 minute with --notest on my PC). Autocomplete takes one to a couple of seconds.
4. Too interactive, too verbose. The older clients are getting better but not quiet enough, cpanminus is such a breathe of fresh air.
5. Too bloated (which is the reason why cpanminus was developed in the first place).
The older CPAN clients are an embarassment if we compare it to "apt-get", "yum", "urpmi", which are way faster, way quieter, way less interactive. There's no reason why a CPAN client cannot be like those. And fortunately cpanminus proves it.