IPX/SPX and SMB(NetBT) have historically been easier to use from a client standpoint. Outside of medium-to-small LANs, however, the unavoidable broadcast traffic of either takes it's toll.
Unix-style TCP/IP networking, on the other hand, wastes faaarr less bandwidth on broadcasts, and with Dynamic DNS (DNS+DHCP), client configuration can be just as simple.
From a routing standpoint, IP is sooo much better supported than IPX. If you want to do routed SMB, it has to encapsulated in, you guessed it, IP. But you still have to deal with WINS and excessive broadcasts. IPX RIP doesn't scale well, and NLSP is convoluted. If you're lucky enough to support Cisco gear, EIGRP is a nearly ideal Interior Gateway Protocol for IP in even multi-hundred site WANs. If you have Bay/Nortel routers, you can still get by with OSPF to avoid IP RIP1.
Mind you, I've got nothing against NetWare, I just dislike supporting IPX/SPX in WANs and large LANs.
My professional opinions, worth exactly what you paid for them. <grin> Oposing opinions get equal airtime, under Federal Campaign Reform Law.
and what's this got to do with Perl?