38.0 Sharing File Systems with NFS

Distributing and sharing file systems over a network is a common task in corporate environments. NFS is a proven system that also works together with the yellow pages protocol NIS. For a more secure protocol that works together with LDAP and may also be kerberized, check NFSv4.

NFS works with NIS to make a network transparent to the user. With NFS, it is possible to distribute arbitrary file systems over the network. With an appropriate setup, users always find themselves in the same environment independent of the terminal they currently use.

Like NIS, NFS is a client/server system. However, a machine can be both—it can supply file systems over the network (export) and mount file systems from other hosts (import).


In principle, all exports can be made using IP addresses only. To avoid time-outs, you should have a working DNS system. This is necessary at least for logging purposes, because the mountd daemon does reverse lookups.