The Network Information Service (NIS) provides a simple network lookup service consisting of databases and processes.

At first you need to define the NIS master server which contains all source files for the various maps like /etc/passwd, /etc/group or /etc/hosts. The NIS server process ypserv needs to be run on this host. The ypserv daemon is typically activated at system startup. There could be more hosts running ypserv, this one are called "slaves". They get their maps from the master server. If a slave goes down, it will miss updates from the master.

On other machines using the NIS services as client, you have to run ypbind. ypbind must run on every machine which has NIS client processes; ypserv may or may not be running on the same node, but must be running somewhere on the network. For normal users, you need the yp-tools. This package provide tools for communication with ypbind, ypset and ypwhich, tools for accessing the NIS maps, ypcat, ypmatch and yppoll, and tools for changing NIS user information, ypchfn, ypchsh and yppasswd.

The ypserv package implements fully NIS master/slave support and is compatible to the version from SUN. The YP V2 protocol is complete implemented, YP V1 only partially. ypbind-mt implements a multi-threaded ypbind daemon, which is compatible to the SUN ypbind protocol version 1 and 2. Version 3 is not supported, since the protocol is not publically available. The yp-tools supports only the YP and ypbind protocol version 2.

The main ftp site for the Linux NIS source collection is You will find there always the latest versions and patches, since this WWW page isn't always up to date. Please look there at first if one of the links on this pages are not longer valid or if you have other problems with the software.


Thorsten Kukuk -
Last modified: Sun Jan 22 15:03:49 CET 2012