Chapter 18. Network File System

With roots deep in Mac OS X’s Unix predecessors and cousins, the Network File System (NFS) is widely used and understood in the Unix world, and a virtual requirement for integration with Unix environments. Additionally, though, some Mac OS X Server services (such as NetBoot) also rely on it, and it fits well in some file sharing roles for which AFP and SMB are not appropriate. Regardless of whether or not you support Unix clients, NFS is worth understanding. This chapter examines NFS services in Mac OS X Server. They don’t differ much from an administrative perspective from similar services offered on other Unix platforms—other than an occasional tendency to be quirky.


It is worth admitting at the beginning that NFS in Mac OS X Server could use some tweaking. Despite that, it is mostly functional and has come a very long way from Jaguar server’s implementation (and Cheetah’s before that). Although Mac OS X Server would not currently make much sense as a single-purpose large scale NFS server, nothing should dissuade you from taking advantage of its NFS server in addition to any other services you might be deploying.

The NFS (In)security Model

There’s no getting around it—NFS is old. Like SMTP and so many other protocols, it was designed at a time when the network was a much more trusted entity, when only trusted parties had administrative access to hosts on the network, and when the population of the Internet was much, much lower than it is ...

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