SUMMARY: NIS maps, "+ syntax" and nsswitch file

From: Rasana Atreya (
Date: Wed Aug 13 1997 - 17:22:02 CDT

Hi Managers,

My original post and summary follow:

> Page 30 (paragraph 3) of the "Managing NFS and NIS" book by O'Reilly states:
> "Conversely, local files that are appended to by NIS maps are always
> consulted first, even if NIS is running."
> The local files they are talking about are /etc/passwd, /etc/group etc. I'm a
> little confused by the "appending" (with a +) part of it. Isn't
> /etc/nsswitch.conf what decides the naming service that is consulted (i.e.
> local files, NIS+, NIS or DNS)? Then how does the above statement fit in?

First from the horse's mouth, so to speak!

| From: Hal.Stern@East.Sun.COM (Hal Stern - Distinguished Systems Engineer)
| the o'reilly book is specific to sunos 4.1.x. in solaris, the name
| service switch determiens the order of lookups, unless you use
| the "ypcompat" service, in which case you get files-then-NIS
| just like in 4.1.x
| --hal (author of the o'reilly book!)

Maybe he'd consider on working on updating the (very well written) book! ;)

- "+" syntax is pre-Solaris 2.x. On Solaris 2.x it went away and was replaced
  by /etc/nsswitch.conf. You can however use the + on Solaris 2.x if you put
  compat next to passwd and group in the nsswitch.conf (in the format "files
  compat" - where "compat" means behaviour compatible with SunOS 4), although
  it might be somewhat flakey.

- Previously, you had to use the defaults for which maps are appended and
  which are replaced. With the nsswitch.conf, you can make that decision
  administratively now and in which order you prefer.

- A few people mistakenly thought that "The /etc/nsswitch.conf file is a part
  of _only_ NIS+, not NIS.". This is not true. It's an OS (Solaris feature).

Thanks a lot to:

From: Mariel Feder <>
From: Glenn Satchell - Uniq Professional Services <>
From: Rick Kelly <>
From: Leo Crombach <>
From: (Paul R. Hybert)
From: (Terry Bohaning)
From: Benjamin Cline <>
From: Arthur Darren Dunham <>
From: Robert Hill <>
From: Tom E Smith <>
From: Casper Dik <casper@holland.Sun.COM>
From: Stephen Harris <>
From: "K.Ravi" <>
From: Culley Roy <>
From: negativl (Raymond Wong)


~ Rasana Atreya 					Taos Mountain      ~
~							   ~

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