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Running Linux, Fourth Edition by Lar Kaufman, Terry Dawson, Matthias Kalle Dalheimer, Matt Welsh

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NFS and NIS Configuration

Once you have TCP/IP enabled on your system, you may wish to configure your system to use the Network File System (NFS) or Network Information Service (NIS). NFS allows your system to share files directly with a network of machines. File access across NFS is transparent; you simply access the files as if they were stored on your local disk. In system administration terms, one system mounts another’s filesystem on a local directory, just as a local filesystem can be mounted. NFS also allows you to export filesystems, allowing other systems on the network to mount your disks directly.

NIS (formerly known as the Yellow Pages, or YP, service) is a system that allows your host to obtain information automatically on user accounts, groups, filesystem mount points, and other system databases from servers on the network. For example, let’s say you have a large collection of machines that should have the same user accounts and groups (information usually found in /etc/passwd and /etc/group). Users should be able to log into any of these machines and access their files directly (say, by mounting their home filesystem from a central location using NFS). Obviously, maintaining user accounts across many machines would be problematic; in order to add a new user, you would need to log into each machine and create the user account on each. When you use NIS, however, the system automatically consults centrally maintained databases across the network for such information, ...

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