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.
If you have a map with many subdirectories specified, as in the following,
consider using string substitutions.
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
You could also use key substitutions in a direct map, in situations such
as the following:
You can also simplify the entry further as follows:
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 reason is that autofs would interpret the example as the following:
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.
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 - "