Introducing the Network Information Service for Linux
While for the most part, the fact that you are running NIS instead of using traditional configuration files will be completely transparent, there are a few cases where this is not true. The most glaring of these is that you cannot use the passwd command to change your password on the client machines. If you do so, the entire NIS passwd map will be appended to the local /etc/passwd file each time you use the command, which is certainly not the intended effect. This may have changed with libc6, but it is definitely a problem with the stock utilities that come with Red Hat 4.2. However, all hope is not lost; there is a solution, and it is called yppasswd. This utility acts just like passwd, but makes a call to the NIS server to do the actual change instead of trying to change things locally. The NIS server must support this by running the yppasswdd daemon. In its absence, you will have to tell users to log in to the NIS server to change their password, which is only a minor inconvenience.
If you run into troubles while setting up either the server or clients, the most likely source of your problems is the /etc/nsswitch.conf file. Make sure that each line is creating the behavior you intend, and when in doubt refer to the man page. Also, check the “+/-” syntax in your passwd and group files and make sure it follows the proper notation. Minor typos can have wide-ranging effects, so proofread carefully.
Unfortunately, I cannot hope to cover all the details of setting up a complex distributed network environment. You may well have unique problems or concerns that haven't been addressed here. If this is the case, I highly recommend the O'Reilly book on NIS (and NFS) that was previously mentioned. If all of these roads lead to nowhere, try the Linux, and especially the Sun, newsgroups on Usenet. There is a good chance someone else has dealt with your problem before.
Good luck setting up NIS on your Linux network. The couple of hours you initially invest will save you days of headaches in the long run.
Preston Brown is graduating from Yale University this spring with a B.S. in Computer Science. He has been the System Administrator for the Yale University Economics Department for over three years and is intimately familiar with the joys of setting up NIS. You can contact him with your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
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