in reply to Taking backwards steps...
There is a good overview of the differences between 5.003, 5.004, 5.005, and 5.6.0 here. For much more detail, there are perl delta files you can probably access on your 5.6.0 box; have a look at perldoc perldelta, perldoc perl5005delta, and perldoc perl5004delta.
needless to say, we've been asking the university to supply us with a local server that we can control.
You can make a very strong case for running a local pentium box with BSD or Linux for a development box.
1) Development servers should not be running production applications as well. If your "development" box is running other NetWare applications, they will be hosed with any development crashes.
2) Your group can control what is installed, with no work for the network admins when you need new modules.
3) If you don't need NetWare in your production environment, running it in your development environment is going to slow you down a lot, because you will have to back-convert many modules to 5.003.