This chapter covers several important TCP/IP network services.
Network File System (NFS) is the leading TCP/IP file-sharing protocol. It allows server systems to share directories with clients that are then used by the clients as if they were local disk drives. NFS uses trusted hosts and UNIX UIDs and GIDs for authentication and authorization. pcnfsd provides password-based user authentication and NFS-based printer sharing for non-UNIX clients.
NFS-based printer sharing is not the only type of printer sharing available on a TCP/IP network. It is also possible to use the Line Printer Daemon (LPD). This software is originally from BSD UNIX but is widely available. The lpd program reads the printer definitions from the printcap file.
Network Information Service (NIS) is a server that distributes several system administrations databases. It allows central control of and automatic distribution of important system configuration information.
Bootstrap Protocol provides a wide range of configuration values to its client. Each implementation of BOOTP has a different configuration file and command syntax. The CMU BOOTP server stores configuration parameters in the /etc/bootptab file and uses a syntax very similar to the /etc/printcap syntax.
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) extends BOOTP to provide the full set of configuration parameters defined in the Requirements for Internet Hosts RFC. It also provides for dynamic address allocation, which allows a network to make maximum use of a limited set of addresses.
Large networks use distributed boot servers to avoid overloading a single server and to avoid sending boot parameters through IP routers. The configuration files on distributed boot servers are kept synchronized through file transfer, NFS file sharing, or the Remote File Distribution Program (rdist).
Post Office Protocol (POP) and Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) servers allow email to be stored on the mail server until the user is ready to read it. In the next chapter, we take a closer look at configuring an electronic mail system as we explore sendmail.