5.10. Flat Files and Their Directory Services Counterparts

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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 5-2 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 using the dscl merge command (for an example, see "Adding Users to a Group," earlier in this chapter.)

The "Flat files or local database?" column in Table 5-2 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 5-2. 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



name, passwd, gid, users (list)

Local database



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

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    Mac OS X Tiger for Unix Geeks
    Mac OS X Tiger for Unix Geeks
    ISBN: 0596009127
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2006
    Pages: 176

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