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Chapter 11. Directory Services > Understanding Directory Services

11.1. Understanding Directory Services

In Mac OS X 10.1.x and earlier, the system was configured to consult the NetInfo database for all directory information. If you needed to do something simple, such as adding a host, you couldn't just add it to /etc/hosts and be done with it. Instead, you had to use the NetInfo Manager (or NetInfo's command-line utilities) to add the host to the system.

However, as of Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar), NetInfo functions started to become more of a legacy protocol and were reduced to handling the local directory database for machines that didn't participate in a network-wide directory, such as Active Directory or OpenLDAP. NetInfo is still present in Mac OS X Panther, but you can perform many configuration tasks by editing the standard Unix flat files. By default, Panther is configured to consult the local directory (also known as the NetInfo database) for authentication, which corresponds to /etc/passwd and /etc/group on other Unix systems. You can override this setting with the Directory Access application. For more information, see Section 11.3, later in this chapter.


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