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NIS is a protocol developed by sun to allow one to defer user authentication to a server. The server software is in the ypserv package, and the client software is in the yp-tools package. ypbind-mt is also available, which is a multi threaded version of the client daemon.

Note: obviously this article is far from finished. hopefully in the future that will change, but in the meantime check the More resources section.

How to set up a NIS client

The first step is to install the tools that you need. This provides the configuration files and general tools needed to use NIS.

# pacman -S yp-tools ypbind-mt

Next add your NIS domain name to the file /etc/conf.d/nisdomainname

If your NIS domainname has not already been set you can run this command to set it.

# /bin/domainname nis.domain

Now edit the /etc/yp.conf file and add your ypserver or nis server.

ypserver your.nis.server

Start the rpcbind and ypbind daemons (add them to your rc.conf file if you want it to start automatically).

# /etc/rc.d/rpcbind start
# /etc/rc.d/ypbind start

To test the setup so far you can run the command yptest:

# yptest

If it works you will, among other things, see the contents of the NIS user database (which is printed in the same format as /etc/passwd).

To actually use NIS to log in you have to edit /etc/nsswitch.conf. Modify the lines for passwd, group and shadow to say the following:

passwd: compat
group: compat
shadow: compat

See section 7.5 of The Linux NIS HOWTO for further information on configuring /etc/nsswitch.conf.

More resources