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man pages section 5: File Formats

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Updated: Wednesday, February 9, 2022



ypfiles - Network Information Service Version 2, formerly known as YP


The NIS network information service uses a distributed, replicated database of ndbm files, in ASCII form, that are contained in the /var/yp directory hierarchy on each NIS server.

A ndbm database served by the NIS server is called a NIS map. An NIS domain is a subdirectory of /var/yp that contains a set of NIS maps on each NIS server.

Standard nicknames are defined in the file /var/yp/nicknames. These names can be used in place of the full map name in the ypmatch and ypcat commands. Use the command ypwhich –x to display the current set of nicknames. Use the command ypwhich –m to display all the available maps. Each line of the nickname file contains two fields separated by white space. The first field is the nickname, and the second field is the name of the map that it expands to. The nickname cannot contain a dot (.).

SMF Configuration

The configuration for NIS is managed by the following SMF services:



Represents the shared configuration used by all NIS components. The properties managed by this service are contained in the config property group. Those properties are:

NIS domainname

This is a single valued property containing the IS domainname (/etc/defaultdomain)

ypservers Hosts/IP addresses

This is a multi-valued property. Each value contains a server to which the NIS client is allowed to bind.

securenets network data

This is a multi-valued property. Each value defines the hosts and networks that are granted access to information in the served domain.


If the /var/yp/NISLDAPmapping configuration file is present, the NIS server operates in NIS to LDAP (N2L) mode. In this mode, NIS maps are stored in a new set of DBM files, prepended by the LDAP_ prefix, at /var/yp/domainname. These files are used as a cache backed by information from an LDAP server. Additional DBM files are created in the same directory to hold the cache's TTL values.

N2L mode enables NIS clients to be supported in an LDAP environment.

In N2L mode, the old style DBM files, NIS source files, and the ypmake(8) utility have to role. They are retained to enable easy conversion back to the traditional mode, if required.

Converting from N2L to Traditional NIS

When NIS is operating in N2L mode, it uses a new set of NIS maps with an LDAP_ prefix, based on the contents of the LDAP DIT. The NIS source files are unused and become out of date. If you wish to convert back to the traditional NIS mode, the N2L configuration file should be deleted. The system then returns to using the standard map files. Optionally, the N2L mode map files, /var/yp/*/LDAP_* can also be deleted.

If you want to run the system in traditional mode with information based on the DIT, then the NIS source files must be regenerated based on the N2L maps. To regenerate the NIS source files based on the N2L maps, run ypmap2src(8).



Directory containing NIS configuration files.


Stores the information required to bind the NIS client to the NIS server.


Contains the servers to which the NIS client is allowed to bind.


Builds the NIS ndbm databases.


Nicknames file.


Defines the hosts and networks that are granted access to information in the served domain. This file is read at startup time by ypserv and ypxfrd.


Directory containing ndbm databases.


NIS to LDAP configuration file


NIS to LDAP mode map files


See attributes(7) for description of the following attributes:

Interface Stability
Obsolete Committed

See Also

ndbm(3C), ypclnt(3C), ldap(7), nis(7), makedbm(8), ypbind(8), ypinit(8), ypmake(8), ypmap2src(8), ypserv(8), ypxfrd(8)


All components of NIS, including clients, servers, tools, and programming interfaces might not be available in a future update of Oracle Solaris. NIS users should migrate to the LDAP naming service.