Talkback for article: 141, January2001

Automount and autofs

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From: shurdeek <shurdeek(at)> [ date: 2001-01-06 ]
I find this article pretty much inaccurate. Not everything specified in fstab is mounted at boot and you don't have to be root in order to mount in certain cases. Check out "man mount".
From: abhishek datt <abhidatt(at)> [ date: 2001-02-03 ]
Please tell us how to install and configure it in case of Redhat 7.

How can I reduce default time from 5mins to few miiliseconds.

From: Gordon Haverland <ghaverla(at)> [ date: 2001-02-12 ]
I have just recently started to "play" with autofs, and while I've
seen your article and the one at, I still don't seem
to have a complete enough handle on what is happening. I understand the
auto.master file, it points autofs to a file on how to mount filesystems
listed under it. Such as mounting things under /home might have autofs
look in the file /etc/auto.home for instructions on mounting individuals
home directories. Most of my misunderstandings have to do with this
secondary file. I can get things to work, if this second set of file
systems is already mounted, and autofs is basically just doing a symbollic
link. For instance, if I have a user's directory mounted at
/var/mnt/disk1/home/fred, I can get autofs to make this appear to be
/home/fred. However, if the partition that the users directory is mounted
on is mounted, but I list the destination as something like /dev/sdb2, I
can see no signs in the logs that autofs has even attempted to mount
/dev/sdb2 in order to resolve this connection to user 'fred's home. And if
this partition has many users home directories, on the first access the
device will not be mounted, and hence a mount is needed: but what happens
when subsequent users log in, but /dev/sdb2 is already mounted? Do I have
to previously mount all file systems someplace (NFS and direct mounts)
before I symbollically link things via autofs to already mounted

Just a couple of questions. I'm sure I could find more, but I think that
would at least give me enough information to intelligently design how I
would automount users or applications across a cluster.

From: Ed Centanni <ecentan1(at)> [ date: 2001-02-12 ]
So far so good. My problem is that when I set up a zip drive or floppy to
automount, only root can write to the device. How do I modify the setup so
that any user can read and write to the drives?

In answer to the above timeout question: You don't need millisecond timeouts,
2 or 3 seconds works just fine with most removeable media.

--timeout 3

is what you want.

Thanks in advance
From: Irvine <irvine(at)> [ date: 2001-02-14 ]

I haven't read the article in full yet, but I was a little surprised
by shurdeek's comments.

He make a comment about the whole of the article, describing it as
'pretty much inaccurate', but only makes two criticisms.

The first that 'Not everything specified in fstab is mounted at boot'.

The article says only that the file /etc/fstab 'HOLDS the hard mount points
to be installed at boot time'. This is quite true, and a quite different
from saying that it ONLY holds hard mount points to be installed at
boot time.

The second point made was that 'you don't have to be root in order to
mount in certain cases'.

Again the article does mention an instance in which a filesystem can
be mounted by a user other than root. Though the impression is given
that this is the only instance. Of course, Linux and UNIX's allows users
to execute programs that would normally only be executed by root;
for example by changing the permissions on the program, or by using
sudo or <...take your choice...>.

As I say I have yet to read the article carefully (I'm in class at the
moment) but I hope that any criticisms that I might make will be more
well founded.


ps Thanks to the crew at linuxfocus and think they are providing a great

From: doormouse <squish_223(at)> [ date: 2001-06-12 ]
Thanks for the article it got me up and running.

I was just wondering if anyone knew if it was possible to automount a windows drive over a network, using autofs. I have it working fine for my duel HD computer, I cant get it working accross my lan though.

Any ideas?
From: mgm <missile29(at)> [ date: 2004-01-08 ]
Boy, I guess it's been a few years since this article, but I'll ask this question anyway... I have a (linux) server that exports user's home dirs to several (linux) client machines via NFS. I use autofs to mount the users dirs as needed. This all works great. But, suppose one of the client machines is a laptop, and I want to have a user's home dir "underneath" the automounted home dir in case the laptop is not on the net. Note that I don't need to be able to see files on both the local home dir and the NFS automaounted home dir at the same time -- this would never work.

I'm not sure if my term "underneath" is clear, but what I mean is, have a /home/myuser that is a real subdir, local to the laptop, then also have an entry in auto.home for myuser that points to the NFS exported /export/home/myuser from the server. As long as NFS and autofs are running as usual, what happens in this case is the NFS myuser's home gets mounted by autofs when myuser logs into the laptop. Great! Just what I want. But if you take the laptop off the network and then try to log in as myuser, then bash gets upset because it can't find myuser's home dir. If I kill the autofs service, myuser can log in fine, and ends up in the local /home/myuser. I'm not suprised by this behavior, but want to know if you know of a way (options to autofs?) that I can get autofs to figure out the right thing to do... I suppose one (kinda gross) way would be to change the autofs init script to see if it sees the server before starting up. For that matter, maybe you can suggest a better way to architect this whole thing...

Thanks, mgm

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