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I've learned that SOAP is a relative of SMTP.
That's certainly not how I would phrase it. Perhaps you can explain how you think they are "relatives"?
I never use Module::Build when I have the choice but it looks to me like that is Module::Build boilerplate. The only way you are going to remove this is to change the distribution's dependencies such that SOAP::Lite is no longer a recommended dependency.
Does the # commented line represent a test?
No. It is a diagnostic message output by the test script which is not part of TAP. You can safely ignore it if all your tests pass. I think this means we can safely bypass Q3, Q4 and Q5. :-)
Q6) Are there more subtle ways to do this?
Dear $DEITY I hope not. That's an unattended privilege escalation and is 100% asking for trouble. Don't even go there.
In reply to Re: looking at tests was: cpan warning