DistributedNetworks DistributedNetworks

NIS Client Networking  «Prev  Next»
Lesson 6Command Line Configuration of an NIS Client
ObjectiveEdit Configuration Files for the NIS Client by Hand

Edit Configuration Files for the NIS Client by Hand

Authconfig makes it easy to configure user authentication information on your Red Hat Linux computer. You can use it to modify the following text configuration files
  1. /etc/sysconfig/network
  2. /etc/yp.conf
  3. /etc/passwd

Each of these files holds specific configuration information needed to interact with the NIS system on your network.

/etc/sysconfig/ network

The file /etc/sysconfig/network is used by the init program at boot time. It specifies which network services and daemons to start.


/etc/yp.conf is the main NIS configuration file. It holds the NIS domain and server information that you can also enter in authconfig. The main line you need to concern yourself with looks like
ypserver HOSTNAME
In this line, HOSTNAME is the name or IP address of the client's NIS domain server.


/etc/passwd is the password file that governs each user's home directory, shell, and group membership. On older systems, this file actually contained the passwords paired with each user, which meant that anyone who could gain access to this file could compromise the entire system. In newer systems, like Red Hat Linux, the password is replaced by an "x" and encrypted passwords are stored elsewhere. This file is updated when new user accounts are added, changed, or removed.

Setting Up Red Hat Linux as an NIS Client

If your network uses NIS centrally to administer users, groups, network addresses, and other information, you can set up your Red Hat Linux system to use that information as an NIS client. To configure Red Hat Linux as an NIS client, you need to get the following information from your NIS administrator:
  1. NIS Domain Name: This is a keyword used to describe the group of hosts that use the common set of NIS files. Domain name is an unfortunate way of referring to this keyword, because it doesn't have anything to do with the TCP/IP domain name. Its only similarity is that it refers to a group of computers.
  2. NIS Master Server Name: This is the name of the computer on your network that maintains the NIS databases and responds to requests from the network for that information.
  3. NIS Slave Server Names: An NIS domain may have more than one NIS server that can handle requests for information from the NIS database of the domain .
    An NIS slave server keeps copies of the NIS maps so that it can respond to requests if the master NIS server goes down. (NIS slave servers are optional.)
When you installed Red Hat Linux, if you knew that your network used NIS, you could have selected NIS as the way to handle user names and passwords on your computer. If you have not already configured NIS for your computer, the procedures that follow will describe how to do that. The procedures consist of defining your NIS domain name, setting up the /etc/yp.conf file, and configuring NIS client daemons (ypbind and ypwhich) to start when you boot your system.
The next lesson explains how to test the NIS client machine.