SUMMARY: passwd -r nis fails

From: David L. Markowitz (
Date: Thu Jul 01 1999 - 15:42:11 CDT

I got two responses, both of which suggested trouble-shooting techniques.
I didn't try them because I had figured out the answer myself already.

Thanks to:

        Arthur Darren Dunham <> (Thomas Anders)

The solution:

It turns out that newer versions of Solaris do not allow root to change
NIS* passwords. From man passwd(1) in Solaris 2.5.1 and later:

     In the files case, superusers (for instance, real and effec-
     tive uid equal to 0, see id(1M) and su(1M)) may change any

But, from man passwd(1) in Solaris 2.4 the same section reads:

     Super-users (for instance, real and effective uid equal to
     zero, see id(1M) and su(1M)) may change any password;

So, in 2.5 or 2.5.1 this root power was rescinded. Nice of them to
document it so well. :-(

The original question:

> I am suddenly unable to change NIS passwords on my E-150 w/ 2.5.1.
> Changing files passwords works. rpc.yppasswdd is running. This worked
> a week ago!
> When I try:
> root> passwd -r nis user
> Enter login(NIS) password:
> New password:
> Re-enter new password:
> I get:
> passwd: couldn't create client

The suggestions:

Arthur Darren Dunham <>:
        Try trussing yppasswdd. That may be more enlightening. (Thomas Anders):
        Is rpc.yppasswdd running on the same server? If not, snoop the
        network traffic and look at the rpc.yppasswdd output on the server.

        David L. Markowitz Director, UNIX Software Litronic Industries

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