Notes on getting Ubuntu 16.04 to work with NIS

Note – this only sets up the system to use user and group logons, not automounting home directories. I haven’t figured out how to make this work in Ubuntu 16.

Install package nis

Probably a good idea to set network address statically in /etc/network/interfaces (NetworkManager should recognise this and then leave it alone)

Probably also a good idea to check that /etc/hosts has the domain name for the system, i.e. machinename

Add yp server to /etc/yp.conf

Edit /etc/nsswitch.conf to add nis for passwd, group and shadow. Note that compat should include nis by default.

Add a dependency to make the rpcbind service start at boot

systemctl add-wants rpcbind.service

(See this Debian bug report or this Ubuntu one)

Note that this is not a complete fix – it is reported that if the network does not come up fast enough things still break.

For users that need to log on to the system, create home directories

mkhomedir_helper <username>

Remember to reboot to check everything is working:


if that fails check if the bind services are running

systemctl status rpcbind
systemctl status ypbind

Published by

Jamie Scott

IT Administrator at the Institute for Gravitational Research, University of Glasgow