3.10 Flat Files and Their Directory Services Counterparts

As mentioned earlier, Directory Services manages information for several flat files in earlier releases of Mac OS X, including /etc/printcap , /etc/mail/aliases , /etc/protocols , and /etc/services . For a complete list of known flat file formats, see the nidump and niload manpages.

Although you can edit these flat files directly as you would on any other Unix system, you can also use Directory Services to manage this information. You can use niload with a supported flat file format to add entries, or you can use dscl or NetInfo Manager to directly manipulate the entries. Table 3-2 lists each flat file, the corresponding portion of the directory, and important properties associated with each entry. See the netinfo(5) manpage for complete details. Properties marked with (list) can take multiple values. (For an example, see Section 3.6.3, earlier in this chapter.)

The "Flat files or local database?" column in Table 3-2 indicates whether Directory Services consults the flat file, the local database, or both. You can use Directory Access to modify the way information is looked up on your Macintosh.

Table 3-2. Flat files and their NetInfo counterparts

Flat file

NetInfo directory

Important properties

Flat files or local database?



name , clients (list), opts (list)

Flat files



name, dir, type, opts (list), passno, freq

Local database

/etc/ group


name, passwd, gid, users (list)

Local database

/etc/ hosts


ip_address, name (list)

Both; entries in /etc/hosts take precedence



name, members (list)

Flat files



name (list), address

Flat files

/etc/passwd, /etc/ master.passwd


name, passwd, uid, gid, realname, home, shell

Local database



name , and various printcap properties (see the printcap(5) manpage)

Flat files



name (list), number

Flat files



name (list), number

Flat files



name (list), port , protocol (list)

Flat files

Mac OS X Panther for Unix Geeks
Mac OS X Panther for Unix Geeks
ISBN: 0596006071
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 212

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