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I am now entrusted with administrating some 40 computers with Debian 8. The computer where the configuration files (with Debian FAI) were stored on had a HDD defect, there was no backup. Therefore we don't really know what actually is configured out there.

My plan is to scrape the configuration from one workstation and then build everything again with Ansible. If I can build a new VM from this, then I know what is configured. I have figured out a few things (Network interfaces, printing, DNS, ...), but the user account mechanism I haven't. Home directories are mounted via NFS4.

They have some central login mechanism, one can log in with the same accounts on all computers. To change your password, you have to use yppasswd. So I presume it is some YP/NIS thing. But the /etc/yp* files are all the default ones. And I have not found anything with NIS.

What user management system is used there? Where do I find the configuration files that need to be set up?

  • Does ypcat work? – dirkt Dec 13 '17 at 15:42
  • Lowtech: use strace yppasswd to see what it does, what files it opens, what network calls it does. That may give you hints. – Patrick Mevzek Dec 13 '17 at 15:42
  • @dirkt: ypcat passwd gives me a list that contains all users from the institute and looks like /etc/passwd from the format. ypcat -x gave me some other “maps”, though I don't know any of these concepts yet. – Martin Ueding Dec 13 '17 at 15:47
  • Please add the answer as an answer (you can answer your own questions), not as part of the question. – dirkt Dec 13 '17 at 16:32
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I think I have figured it out:

One has to set the NISDOMAIN to some value that is also set on the server. Then on the server there are files in /var/yp that do distribute this database to the clients. Therefore on the client I just need to set this NISDOMAIN and tell the server to push the passwd database to the new client.

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