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System Administration Commandsnisinit(1M)


 nisinit - NIS+ client and server initialization utility


 nisinit -r
 nisinit -p Y | D | N parent_domain host ...
 nisinit -c [-k <key_domain>] -H host | -B | -C coldstart



nisinit initializes a machine to be a NIS+ client or an NIS+ root master server. It may be easier to use nisclient(1M) or nisserver(1M) to accomplish this same task.


Initialize the machine to be a NIS+ root server. This option creates the file /var/nis/data/root.object and initialize it to contain information about this machine. It uses the sysinfo(2) system call to retrieve the name of the default domain.

To initialize the machine as an NIS+ root server, it is advisable to use the "-r" option of nisserver(1M), instead of using "nisinit -r".

-p Y | D | N parent_domain host ...
This option is used on a root server to initialize a /var/nis/data/parent.object to make this domain a part of the namespace above it. Only root servers can have parent objects. A parent object describes the namespace ``above'' the NIS+ root. If this is an isolated domain, this option should not be used. The argument to this option tells the command what type of name server is serving the domain above the NIS+ domain. When clients attempt to resolve a name that is outside of the NIS+ namespace, this object is returned with the error NIS_FOREIGNNS indicating that a name space boundary has been reached. It is up to the client to continue the name resolution process.

The parameter parent_domain is the name of the parent domain in a syntax that is native to that type of domain. The list of host names that follow the domain parameter are the names of hosts that serve the parent domain. If there is more than one server for a parent domain, the first host specified should be the master server for that domain.

Specifies that the parent directory is a NIS version 2 domain.
Specifies that the parent directory is a DNS domain.
Specifies that the parent directory is another NIS+ domain. This option is useful for connecting a pre-existing NIS+ subtree into the global namespace.

Note that in the current implementation, the NIS+ clients do not take advantage of the -p feature. Also, since the parent object is currently not replicated on root replica servers, it is recommended that this option not be used.

Initializes the machine to be a NIS+ client. There are three initialization options available: initialize by coldstart, initialize by hostname, and initialize by broadcast. The most secure mechanism is to initialize from a trusted coldstart file. The second option is to initialize using a hostname that you specify as a trusted host. The third method is to initialize by broadcast and it is the least secure method.
-C coldstart
Causes the file coldstart to be used as a prototype coldstart file when initializing a NIS+ client. This coldstart file can be copied from a machine that is already a client of the NIS+ namespace. For maximum security, an administrator can encrypt and encode (with uuencode(1C)) the coldstart file and mail it to an administrator bringing up a new machine. The new administrator would then decode (with uudecode), decrypt, and then use this file with the nisinit command to initialize the machine as an NIS+ client. If the coldstart file is from another client in the same domain, the nisinit command may be safely skipped and the file copied into the /var/nis directory as /var/nis/NIS_COLD_START.
-H hostname
Specifies that the host hostname should be contacted as a trusted NIS+ server. The nisinit command will iterate over each transport in the NETPATH environment variable and attempt to contact rpcbind(1M) on that machine. This hostname must be reachable from the client without the name service running. For IP networks this means that there must be an entry in /etc/hosts for this host when nisinit is invoked.
Specifies that the nisinit command should use an IP broadcast to locate a NIS+ server on the local subnet. Any machine that is running the NIS+ service may answer. No guarantees are made that the server that answers is a server of the organization's namespace. If this option is used, it is advisable to check with your system administrator that the server and domain served are valid. The binding information can be dumped to the standard output using the nisshowcache(1M) command.

Note that nisinit -c will just enable navigation of the NIS+ name space from this client. To make NIS+ your name service, modify the file /etc/nsswitch.conf to reflect that. See nsswitch.conf(4) for more details.

-k <key_domain>
This option specifies the domain where root's credentials are stored. If it is not specified, then the system default domain is assumed. This domain name is used to create the /var/nis/NIS_COLD_START file.



nisinit returns 0 on success and 1 on failure.


 Example 1. Initializing the Machine as a NIS+ Client using the Host freddy as a Trusted Server

This example initializes the machine as an NIS+ client using the host freddy as a trusted server.

example# nisinit -cH freddy
Example 2. Setting up a Client using a Trusted Coldstart File

This example sets up a client using a trusted coldstart file.

example# nisinit -cC /tmp/colddata
Example 3. Setting up a Client Using an IP Broadcast

This example sets up a client using an IP broadcast.

example# nisinit -cB
Example 4. Setting up a Root Server

This example sets up a root server.

example# nisinit -r


This environment variable may be set to the transports to try when contacting the NIS+ server (see netconfig(4)). The client library will only attempt to contact the server using connection oriented transports.


This file contains a list of servers, their transport addresses, and their Secure RPC public keys that serve the machine's default domain.
This file describes the root object of the NIS+ namespace. It is a standard XDR-encoded NIS+ directory object that can be modified by authorized clients using the nis_modify() interface.
This file describes the namespace that is logically above the NIS+ namespace. The most common type of parent object is a DNS object. This object contains contact information for a server of that domain.
Internet host table.



See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:




nis+(1), uuencode(1C), nisclient(1M), nisserver(1M), nisshowcache(1M), sysinfo (2), hosts(4), netconfig(4), nisfiles(4), attributes(5)



NIS+ might not be supported in future releases of the Solaris Operating Environment. Tools to aid the migration from NIS+ to LDAP are available in the Solaris 9 operating environment. For more information, visit

SunOS 5.9Go To TopLast Changed 12 Dec 2001

Copyright 2002 Sun Microsystems, Inc. All rights reserved. Use is subject to license terms.