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Managing NIS users

UNIX systems store basic information about authorized users in the passwd file. This file consists of a series of lines, one for each authorized user. Each line can contain the following information about a user:

  • User name

  • Password (in encrypted form)

  • User identifier (UID)

  • Group identifier (GID) of the user's primary group

  • User's full name and other information (known as the gecos field)

  • Default login shell

  • Home directory

Conventional Network Information Service (NIS) servers generate two maps from the passwd file, passwd.byname and passwd.byuid, which contain the same information as the passwd file, but are indexed to provide quick access to the records.

Instead of storing this information in files, Server for NIS maintains user information in Active Directory Domain Services entries for each user. This allows you to manage the Windows and UNIX (NIS) information together by using the user properties dialog box in Active Directory Users and Computers. When adding a new user, for example, you have to enter the information shared by Windows and NIS (the user name, password, and full name and other gecos-type information) only once. In the case of UNIX-specific information (UID, primary GID, login shell, and UNIX home directory), you can enter this information using the UNIX Attributes tab of the same dialog box.