I don't have the specifics on our company's network; but all the Windows PCs (Windows XP) currently in my new company's environment use novell client to sign in and use Novell's groupwise for email. Is it true that a Mac can't 'work' in this kind of environment? It just seems like Novell would make an effort to support it. Is IT right or lazy? Can a Mac exist in such a corporate environment without causing too much of a headache?
Novell has a Groupwise client for Mac, and it works very well (but is java based, and has some font issues.) eDirectory, which is what Novell uses for logins, is basically LDAP and Mac can authenticate against it.
The only thing I'm not sure you can do without your administrator's help is to mount file shares. I generally use the web access to our novell shares, but I think that's a separate product that we paid for.
I'm in an all-Novell shop and use my personal Mac on a daily basis. 3 of our developers use Macs and are very happy. Our boss has a Mac Pro and is mostly happy with it, but the font issues frustrate him and Novell doesn't seem to be in a hurry to fix them.
Novell products are usually quite cross platform.
GroupWise has a Mac client as noted. It shares the code base with the Linux/Unix cross platform client and is not 100% as feature complete as the Windows GW client.
However WebAccess gets better with each release and much of what you need can be done in WebAccess. Additionally it supports IMAP and POP for email access and calendar publishing, if you want to use something like Thunderbird for reading mail, or Apple's Mail app.
For authentication if you extend your eDirectory schema and add posix (rfc2307 I think) attributes to users, then you can fairly easily authenticate to eDirectory via the Apple login process. (You need a uid, gig, homeDirectory, etc set of attributes).
If your administrators are using OES on Linux, then they likely have those added already. (Novell calls it LUM (Linux User Management) which is needed to let Linux boxes login properly).
There are some additional products to make life easier, like Kanaka from Condrey Consulting in case they are still all Netware, to allow for Mac support in a much simpler fashion.
If they are saying they cannot support it, there is an element of laziness, in all likelyhood.