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System Administration Guide: Network Services
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Autofs Reference

The remaining sections of this chapter describe more advanced autofs features and topics.

Autofs and Metacharacters

Autofs recognizes some characters as having a special meaning. Some characters are used for substitutions, and some characters are used to protect other characters from the autofs map parser.

Ampersand (&)

If you have a map with many subdirectories specified, as in the following, consider using string substitutions.

john        willow:/home/john
mary        willow:/home/mary
joe         willow:/home/joe
able        pine:/export/able
baker       peach:/export/baker

You can use the ampersand character (&) to substitute the key wherever the key appears. If you use the ampersand, the previous map changes to the following:

john        willow:/home/&
mary        willow:/home/&
joe         willow:/home/&
able        pine:/export/&
baker       peach:/export/&

You could also use key substitutions in a direct map, in situations such as the following:

/usr/man                        willow,cedar,poplar:/usr/man

You can also simplify the entry further as follows:

/usr/man                        willow,cedar,poplar:&

Notice that the ampersand substitution uses the whole key string. Therefore, if the key in a direct map starts with a / (as it should), the slash is included in the substitution. Consequently, for example, you could not do the following:

/progs                &1,&2,&3:/export/src/progs 

The reason is that autofs would interpret the example as the following:

/progs                 /progs1,/progs2,/progs3:/export/src/progs
Asterisk (*)

You can use the universal substitute character, the asterisk (*), to match any key. You could mount the /export file system from all hosts through this map entry.

*                        &:/export

Each ampersand is substituted by the value of any given key. Autofs interprets the asterisk as an end-of-file character.

Autofs and Special Characters

If you have a map entry that contains special characters, you might have to mount directories that have names that confuse the autofs map parser. The autofs parser is sensitive to names that contain colons, commas, and spaces, for example. These names should be enclosed in double-quotes, as in the following:

/vms    -ro    vmsserver: -  -  - "rc0:dk1 - "
/mac    -ro    gator:/ - "Mr Disk - "
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