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NIS and Files Coexistence

To solve the problem of providing a centrally administered naming service while maintaining some local control, Sun's first implementation of NIS searched the local files before the NIS naming service was consulted. A special character was inserted into the text files to tell the operating system when to start searching the NIS maps. Any line beginning with a "+" character was the signal to contact NIS. For example, the /etc/host file would look like this: localhost tiger galaxy

In this example, the /etc/hosts file would be searched for the specified host. If the host specified is not tiger or galaxy, then the NIS host map is searched. If the host name does not appear in the NIS map either, an error is returned.


The "+" character only has an effect when the Solaris 1 operating environment is running. It will have no effect if the Solaris 2 or later operating environment is running except when run in the Solaris 1 compatibility mode.

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