Solaris Naming Administration Guide

Differences Between This and Earlier NIS Versions

The following features are new or different in Solaris Release 2.6 NIS.

NSKit Discontinued

The most recent Solaris releases have not included NIS service. Up to now, NIS service had to be installed from the unbundled NSKit. NIS has now been included in the Solaris Release 2.6 and there is no 2.6 Release NSKit.

Because NIS service is now part of the Solaris 2.6 Release, the SUNWnsktu and SUNWnsktr packages no longer exist. Instead, NIS is now installed via the NIS Server cluster (containing the SUNWypu and SUNWypr packages).

NIS service is no longer started with the /etc/init.d/yp script which no longer exists. With the Solaris 2.6 Release, you first configure your master server NIS maps with the ypinit script, and then start NIS with ypstart. NIS service is stopped with the ypstop command.

The ypupdated Daemon

The most recent versions of NSKit did not include the ypupdated daemon. The ypupdated daemon is now included in this Solaris release.


As with the previous NSKit release, the /var/yp/securenets file is now used to limit access to NIS services. If such a file exists on an NIS server, the server only answers queries or supplies maps to machines and networks whose IP addresses are listed in the file. For the file format, see the securenets man page.

The following is an example of a securenets file.

where is the netmask and is the network address. For the set up in line 1, ypserv responds to only those addresses in the subnet range.

If you modify entries in the /var/yp/securenets file, you must kill and restart the ypserv and ypxfrd daemons.

Multihomed Machine Support

As with the previous NSKit release, the ypserv process provides support for machines which have more than one network address. When the machine maps are created, the Makefile creates a YP_MULTI_HOSTNAME entry in the map for any machine that has more than one address. This entry lists all the addresses for that machine. When the machine address is needed, an attempt is made to use the closest address on the list. See the ypserv man page for more details.

The determination of closest address is an arithmetic one and as such there is no check for address validity. For example, suppose that a multihomed machine has six IP addresses and only five of the interfaces on the machine are operating normally. Machines on a network that is not directly connected to this multihomed machine can receive the IP address for the down interface from ypserv. Thus, this hypothetical client can not reach the multihomed machine.

Note -

All addresses for a multihomed machine should normally be active. If a particular address or machine is going to be out of service, remove it from the NIS maps.

Sun Operating Environment 4.X Compatibility Mode

Solaris operating environment NIS supports password configuration files in both the Sun Operating Environment 4.x (Solaris release 1) password format and the Solaris Release 2 password and shadow file formats.

The mode of operation is determined by the existence of the file $PWDIR/shadow, where $PWDIR is the Makefile macro set in the /var/yp/Makefile file. If the shadow file exists, NIS operates in the Solaris Release 2 mode. If this file does not exist, NIS operates in the SunOS 4.x mode.

In the SunOS 4.x mode, all password information is kept in the passwd file. In the Solaris Release 2 mode, password information is kept in the shadow file and the user account information is kept in the passwd file.

If the make macro PWDIR is set to the /etc directory, NIS can operate only in the Solaris Release 2 mode because of the Solaris Release 2 passwd processing requirements. However, if PWDIR points to any directory other than /etc, the user has the option of keeping passwd configuration files in either the SunOS 4.x format or in the Solaris Release 2 format. The rpc.yppasswdd daemon understands both password formats. The Solaris Release 2 format is recommended.

Using the Name Service Switch

The name service switch is designed to simplify name service administration. Client machines and applications use this switch to select a name service. The switch mechanism is implemented using the /etc/nsswitch.conf file, which specifies the source(s) used to resolve references for each information type.

This section discusses only those elements that are needed to properly configure the name service switch for NIS operation. For a more detailed description of the nsswitch.conf file, see Chapter 2, The Name Service Switch.

An nsswitch.conf file is automatically loaded into every machine's /etc directory by the Solaris operating environment software, along with three alternate (template) versions:

These alternate template files contain the default switch configurations used by the NIS+ service, NIS, and local files. (See "The nsswitch.conf Template Files".) No default file is provided for DNS, but you can edit any of these files to use DNS (see "DNS Forwarding for NIS Clients").

This switch functionality does not exist under SunOS 4.x. Thus, DNS forwarding for 4.x clients must be done on the NIS server. In this situation, if a 4.x client requests information for a host that is not listed in the NIS server's NIS map, the NIS server forwards the client's host request to a DNS server on the client's behalf.

When Solaris operating environment software is first installed on a machine, the installer selects the machine's default name service: NIS+, NIS, or local files. During installation, the corresponding template file is copied to /etc/nsswitch.conf. For a machine client using NIS, the installation process copies nsswitch.nis to nsswitch.conf. Unless you have an unusual NIS database setup, the default /etc/nsswitch.nis template file as copied to nsswitch.conf should be sufficient for NIS operation.

When changing a machine client from naming system (/etc, NIS or NIS+) to another, you copy the corresponding template file to nsswitch.conf. You can also change the sources of particular types of network information used by the client by editing the appropriate lines of the /etc/nsswitch.conf file. See Solaris Naming Setup and Configuration Guide, and Chapter 2, The Name Service Switch.

Caution - Caution -

If the /etc/nsswitch.conf file is set to files and not nis for host information, and the server is not included in the /etc/hosts file, then the ypcat command generates the following error message: RPC failure: "RPC failure on yp operation"