NSSWITCH.CONF(5)    Linux Programmer's Manual    NSSWITCH.CONF(5)

NAME
       nsswitch.conf  -  System Databases and Name Service Switch
       configuration file

DESCRIPTION
       Various functions in the C Library need to  be  configured
       to  work  correctly  in the local environment.  Tradition-
       ally, this was done by using files (e.g.,  `/etc/passwd'),
       but  other nameservices (like the Network Information Ser-
       vice (NIS) and the Domain Name Service (DNS)) became popu-
       lar,  and  were  hacked into the C library, usually with a
       fixed search order.

       The Linux libc5 with NYS support and the GNU C Library 2.x
       (libc.so.6)  contain  a  cleaner solution of this problem.
       It is designed after a method used by Sun Microsystems  in
       the  C library of Solaris 2. We follow their name and call
       this scheme "Name Service Switch" (NSS). The  sources  for
       the  "databases"  and  their lookup order are specified in
       the /etc/nsswitch.conf file.

       The following databases are available in the NSS:

       aliases
              Mail aliases, used by sendmail(8)

       ethers Ethernet numbers

       group  Groups of users, used by getgrent(3) functions.

       hosts  Host names and numbers,  used  by  gethostbyname(3)
              and similar functions.

       netgroup
              Network  wide  list  of  hosts  and users, used for
              access rules

       network
              Network names and  numbers,  used  by  getnetent(3)
              functions.

       passwd User passwords, used by getpwent(3) functions.

       protocols
              Network  protocols,  used  by  getprotoent(3) func-
              tions.

       publickey
              Public and secret keys for secure_rpc used by  NIS+
              and NFS.

       rpc    Remote  procedure  call  names and numbers, used by
              getrpcbyname(3) and similar functions.

       services
              Network services, used by getservent(3)  functions.

       shadow Shadow user passwords, used by getspnam(3)

       An  example  /etc/nsswitch.conf  file  could  be look like
       (This is also the default if /etc/nsswitch.conf  is  miss-
       ing):

       passwd:         compat
       group:          compat
       shadow:         compat

       hosts:          dns [!UNAVAIL=return] files
       networks:       nis [NOTFOUND=return] files
       ethers:         nis [NOTFOUND=return] files
       protocols:      nis [NOTFOUND=return] files
       rpc:            nis [NOTFOUND=return] files
       services:       nis [NOTFOUND=return] files

       The first column is the database as you can guess from the
       table above.  The rest  of  the  line  specifies  how  the
       lookup  process  works.   You can specify the way it works
       for each database individually.

       The configuration specification for each database can con-
       tain two different items:
       * The service specification like `files', `db', or `nis'.
       * The reaction on lookup result like `[NOTFOUND=return]'.

       For libc5 with NYS, the allowed service specifications are
       `files', `nis' and `nisplus'. For hosts, you could specify
       `dns' as extra service, for passwd and group `compat', but
       not for shadow.

       For GNU C Library, you must have a file  called  /lib/lib-
       nss_SERVICE.so.1  for  every  SERVICE  you are using. On a
       standard installation, you could use `files', `db',  `nis'
       and `nisplus'. For hosts, you could specify `dns' as extra
       service, for passwd, group and shadow `compat'. This  Ser-
       vices will not be used by libc5 with NYS.

       The  second  item in the specification gives the user much
       finer control on the lookup  process.   Action  items  are
       placed  between  two  service names and are written within
       brackets.  The general form is

       `[' ( `!'? STATUS `=' ACTION )+ `]'

       where

       STATUS => success | notfound | unavail | tryagain
       ACTION => return | continue

       The case of the keywords is insignificant. The STATUS val-
       ues  are  the  results of a call to a lookup function of a
       specific service.  They mean:

       success
              No error occurred and the wanted entry is returned.
              The default action for this is `return'.

       notfound
              The  lookup  process  works ok but the needed value
              was not found.  The default action is `continue'.

       unavail
              The service is permanently unavailable.   This  can
              either  mean  the needed file is not available, or,
              for DNS, the server is not available  or  does  not
              allow queries.  The default action is `continue'.

       tryagain
              The service is temporarily unavailable.  This could
              mean a file is locked or a server currently  cannot
              accept  more  connections.   The  default action is
              `continue'.

   Interaction with +/- syntax (compat mode)
       Linux libc5 without NYS does  not  has  the  name  service
       switch  but  does  allow  the user some policy control. In
       /etc/passwd you could have entries of the  form  +user  or
       +@netgroup (include the specified user from the NIS passwd
       map), -user or -@netgroup (exclude the specified user) and
       +  (include every user, except the excluded ones, from the
       NIS passwd map). Since most people only put a + at the end
       of  /etc/passwd to include everything from NIS, the switch
       provides a faster  alternative  for  this  case  (`passwd:
       files  nis')  which  doesn't require the single + entry in
       /etc/passwd, /etc/group and /etc/shadow.  If this  is  not
       sufficient,  the  NSS  `compat'  service provides full +/-
       semantics. By default, the source is `nis', but  this  may
       be  overriden  by  specifying  `nisplus' as source for the
       pseudo-databases    passwd_compat,    group_compat     and
       shadow_compat.   This  pseudo-databases are only available
       in GNU C Library.

FILES
       A service named SERVICE is implemented by a shared  object
       library named libnss_SERVICE.so.1 that resides in /lib.

       /etc/nsswitch.conf       configuration file
       /lib/libnss_compat.so.1  implements  `compat'  source  for
                                GNU C Library 2.x
       /lib/libnss_db.so.1      implements `db' source for GNU  C
                                Library 2.x
       /lib/libnss_dns.so.1     implements `dns' source for GNU C
                                Library 2.x
       /lib/libnss_files.so.1   implements `files' source for GNU
                                C Library 2.x
       /lib/libnss_hesoid.so.1  implements  `hesoid'  source  for
                                GNU C Library 2.x
       /lib/libnss_nis.so.1     implements `nis' source for GNU C
                                Library 2.x
       /lib/libnss_nisplus.so.1 implements  `nisplus'  source for
                                GNU C Library 2.x
NOTES
       Within each process that uses  nsswitch.conf,  the  entire
       file  is read only once; if the file is later changed, the
       process will continue using the old configuration.
       With Solaris, is isn't possible to link programs using the
       NSS Service statically. With Linux, this is no problem.

Linux                    11 January 1998                        1