SUMMARY: yppasswdd problem

From: Meystel (
Date: Sat Oct 30 1993 - 19:25:32 CDT


This was my original question:

>I have a SparcStation IPC with SunOS 4.1.3 and OpenWindows 3.0
>When I upgraded from 4.1.1b the problems with yppasswd began.
>I keep my user passwords in a file other than /etc/passwd
>When I change the NIS password for a user, the modification to
>my secret password file is made, but it is not propagated to the
>yellow pages - I wind up having to run 'make passwd' manually
>every time there is a password change. Why?
>And now, one of my users reported the following:
>cerebrum(1)% passwd
>Changing NIS password for yose on cerebrum.
>Old password:
>New password:
>Retype new password:
>RPC: Server can't decode arguments
>passwd couldn't change entry (rpc call failed)
>What is going on?

Thanks to:

Anil Katakam (
Gene Rackow (
Seppo Niemi (
Andrew Benson (
Thomas Gusset (
25835 transue (
Katherine Hosch (
Halvard Halvorsen (
David Mostardi (

Some responses are below. It seems that I have asked a frequently asked
question (I am sorry!). The general consensus seems to be that there is
either a # or : in the user's password, or I am running the yppasswdd with
a missing argument due to an argument misalignment bug in the daemon. (Gene Rackow) said:
> Chances are the failure you are now seeing is because the user has a colon
> in his original password. Yet another bug in the passwd daemon that uses
> colons internally as record separators that causes extra grief when you
> attempt to change your password to something else. You can change your
> password to "abc:def:g" but once you set it to that, you need to get your
> admin involved the next time you want to change it.
> As to running "make" each time, check the FAQ for the sun-managers list.
> This has come up many times with the other bugs in the yppasswdd command
> line in the rc.local file. (//zaphod) said:
> We had a similar problem. The solution was to add a dummy argument to
> yppasswdd. We start it from rc.local as:
> rpc.yppasswdd /etc/yp/passwd -x -m passwd
> When started like this, it complains about the -x, but without it,
> refuses to work altogether. (Thomas Gusset) said:
> my NIS passwd file is /etc/yppasswd and the entry in rc.local is:
> if [ -f /usr/etc/rpc.yppasswdd -a -d /var/yp/ ] ; then
> /usr/etc/rpc.yppasswdd /etc/yppasswd -m passwd; echo -n ' rpc.yppasswdd '
> fi
> then you have to change all the references to /etc/passwd in /var/yp/Makefile
> to the new passwd file. (dan) said:
> This is in the FAQ but in a nutshell, it has to do with a known problem
> within the yppasswd daemon. You are most likely running/starting the
> daemon like this:
> rpc.yppasswdd /etc/passwd -m passwd
> I forget the exact reason - check the FAQ - but there is some type of
> misalignment of arguments and you need a "placeholder". I use this:
> rpc.yppasswdd /etc/passwd -nosingle -m passwd
> The -nosingle is the default anyway so this doesn't hurt anything and it
> shifts the arguments into the right place. (Katherine Minister Hosch) said:
> The user has a colon or a '#' in his old password, I bet.

Thanks once again to everyone who responded. Sorry for the delay in



Michael A. Meystel
Systems & Network Administration
IMPACT Center, College of Engineering
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA USA
+ 1 215 895 5807 /

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