Darwin NetInfo HOWTO

David Gatwood

Kernel Doc Writer
Apple Technical Publications


Revision History
Revision 218 April 2004frd - [email protected]
Updated links and revised terminology.
Revision 129 April 2001dag - [email protected]


This HOWTO provides a pointer to documentation on NetInfo, the technology used to administer host lookup, usernames, passwords, printers, and various other things in Mac OS X.

If you think of something that should be added to this document, please email .

Table of Contents

What Is NetInfo?
Mac OS X Server NetInfo Documentation
The Open Directory API

What Is NetInfo?

Many long-time UNIX and Linux system administrators are puzzled when coming to Mac OS X. Most such systems use files to configure system parameters such as host name and IP, users and passwords, and so on.

In Mac OS X, the NetInfo database is used in lieu of flat files for most configuration. NetInfo can also be used for remote authentication and administration. For security reasons, however, this is not recommended. You should instead use alternative technologies such as LDAP.

NetInfo provides various graphical and command-line tools for modifying this information. These tools are described in the Mac OS X Server NetInfo documentation.

The NetInfo C API is documented in the NetInfo programming man page (man 3 netinfo). However, the preferred C API for modifying configuration information is the Open Directory (formerly Directory Services) API.