I should tell you now, that this problem is an unusual one, and not likely to be yours, but the odds are still non-zero, so here goes.
As soon as we also turned on NIS authentication, our Finder began crashing. After much work, we traced this down to the fact that one of our automount maps was attempting to mount under /network. It turns out this conflicts with the Mac's /Network (duh). Fortunately for us, this was a vestigial map, no longer used (at some point, we had changed the Sun's default /net to /network, because when they came out with that, we already had something else called /net). It's unclear why the crashing only occurred when NIS authentication was used, as the conflict should occur in either case. But the solution was straight-forward for us -- we just rearranged the maps into something that made more sense anyway.
So the lesson is, don't use an autofs map named network. And yes, I realize that in this case one could say that I gave in and did things the mac way. But the reality is that we moved to something that was more standard, so I'm fine with that.
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