NIS is insecure, and anything new being stood up in production should almost certainly not be consuming it. With this in mind I started a close vote on this question, but on further thought this seemed worth discussing on meta.

While NIS is something that a system administrator can expect to run into within legacy environments and may have questions in regards to, should we be be providing support for it when it's clear that someone is standing up new devices that are consuming it?

  • Have you read When are legacy/unsupported systems still on-topic? Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 18:59
  • @Michael I'm not sure that completely addresses the topic at hand, since the subject of security is never touched on. I don't consider the three bullets in the question to really address this case. (certainly not "The system can still perform well for its intended purpose") That said, I'm also fine with it if that's the stance the community wants to take.
    – Andrew B
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 19:02
  • NIS was known to be insecure more than 15 years ago. But some people are still stuck with it because it's been in the environment forever with no sign of budget or political will to replace it. Are you suggesting we should not help people maintain their environments simply because they have security issues? Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 19:05
  • If I was, I wouldn't have bothered trying to put a finer point on it. I do see where you're coming from though. I'm probably taking too much of a hard line due to how we typically handle the case where people are trying to use root in insecure ways, in an effort to prevent people copycatting bad design in Google searches.
    – Andrew B
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 19:12
  • 2
    By all means such people should be strongly warned that they have a problem that needs fixing. But I don't think that always means they should be turned away. Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


If someone was trying to set up a completely new installation of NIS, that would certainly be misguided. Pointing new devices at an existing NIS infrastructure is another matter though: most of the people in this situation don't really have a choice in the matter, usually for reasons of budget or management restriction.

Even though it's less than ideal to point new devices at old infrastructure such as this (it adds to the technical debt of the larger problem), the questions are reasonable ones and there is no reason to turn them aside.

(In hindsight, I apologize for my misguided question.)

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