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Linux NIS / NIS+ Tutorial
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7.5. The nsswitch.conf File

The Network Services switch file /etc/nsswitch.conf determines the order of lookups performed when a certain piece of information is requested, just like the /etc/host.conf file which determines the way host lookups are performed. For example, the line

    hosts: files nis dns

specifies that host lookup functions should first look in the local /etc/hosts file, followed by a NIS lookup and finally through the domain name service (/etc/resolv.conf and named), at which point if no match is found an error is returned. This file must be readable for every user! You can find more information in the man-page nsswitch.5 or nsswitch.conf.5.

A good /etc/nsswitch.conf file for NIS is:

#
# /etc/nsswitch.conf
#
# An example Name Service Switch config file. This file should be
# sorted with the most-used services at the beginning.
#
# The entry '[NOTFOUND=return]' means that the search for an
# entry should stop if the search in the previous entry turned
# up nothing. Note that if the search failed due to some other reason
# (like no NIS server responding) then the search continues with the
# next entry.
#
# Legal entries are:
#
#       nisplus                 Use NIS+ (NIS version 3)
#       nis                     Use NIS (NIS version 2), also called YP
#       dns                     Use DNS (Domain Name Service)
#       files                   Use the local files
#       db                      Use the /var/db databases
#       [NOTFOUND=return]       Stop searching if not found so far
#

passwd:     compat
group:      compat
# For libc5, you must use shadow: files nis
shadow:     compat

passwd_compat: nis
group_compat: nis
shadow_compat: nis

hosts:      nis files dns

services:   nis [NOTFOUND=return] files
networks:   nis [NOTFOUND=return] files
protocols:  nis [NOTFOUND=return] files
rpc:        nis [NOTFOUND=return] files
ethers:     nis [NOTFOUND=return] files
netmasks:   nis [NOTFOUND=return] files
netgroup:   nis
bootparams: nis [NOTFOUND=return] files
publickey:  nis [NOTFOUND=return] files
automount:  files
aliases:    nis [NOTFOUND=return] files

passwd_compat, group_compat and shadow_compat are only supported by glibc 2.x. If there are no shadow rules in /etc/nsswitch.conf, glibc will use the passwd rule for lookups. There are some more lookup module for glibc like hesoid. For more information, read the glibc documentation.

Linux NIS / NIS+ Tutorial
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