NIS was formerly called the "Yellow Pages." While many commands and directory names retain the yp prefix, the formal name of the set of services has been changed to avoid conflicting with registered trademarks.NFS provides network and filesystem transparency because it hides the actual, physical location of the filesystem. A user's files could be on a local disk, on a shared disk on a fileserver, or even on a machine located across a wide-area network. As a user, you're most content when you see the same files on all machines. Just having the files available, though, doesn't mean that you can access them if your user information isn't correct. Missing or inconsistent user and group information will break Unix file permission checking. This is where NIS complements NFS, by adding consistency to the information used to build and describe the shared filesystems. A user can sit down in front of any workstation in his or her group that is running NIS and be reasonably assured that he or she can log in, find his or her home directory, and access tools such as compilers, window systems, and publishing packages. In addition to making life easier for the users, NFS and NIS simplify the tasks of system administrators, by centralizing the management of both configuration information and disk resources. NFS can be used to create very complex filesystems, taking components from many different servers on the network. It is possible to overwhelm users by providing "everything everywhere," so simplicity should rule network design. Just as a database programmer constructs views of a database to present only the relevant fields to an application, the user community should see a logical collection of files, user account information, and system services from each viewpoint in the computing environment. Simplicity often satisfies the largest number of users, and it makes the system administrator's job easier.
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