Chapter 5. Directory Services

A directory service manages information about users and resources such as printers and servers. It can manage this information for anything from a single machine to an entire corporate network. The Directory Services architecture in Mac OS X is called Open Directory. Open Directory includes flat files (such as /etc/hosts), LDAPv3, other services available through third-party plug-ins, and even its own XML-based data store.

This chapter describes how to perform common configuration tasks, such as adding a user or host on a standalone Mac. If your system administrator has configured your Macintosh to consult an external directory server, some of these instructions may not work. If that’s the case, you should ask your system administrator to make the changes you need.

Understanding Directory Services

Coming from Unix or Linux, you’re probably used to modifying files such as /etc/passwd and /etc/group to add and edit users and groups. On Mac OS X, however, if you need to do something simple such as adding a user, you can’t just add the new user to /etc/passwd and be done with it. Instead, you’ll need to work with Mac OS X’s Directory Services.

In Mac OS X 10.1.x and earlier, the system was configured to consult the NetInfo database for all directory information. To make changes to the directory, you had to use the NetInfo Manager (or NetInfo’s command-line utilities).

As of Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar), NetInfo functions started to become more of a legacy protocol ...

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