Autofs

Simon Geard delgarde at ihug.co.nz
Thu Feb 4 03:02:13 PST 2010


On Wed, 2010-02-03 at 19:18 -0600, Mike McCarty wrote:
> Would someone like to educate me on the risks involved with autofs,
> and why one would prefer autofs to whatever it is that HAL can do
> on its own, please?

I've no experience with it myself, but I believe that where HAL (and
successors) deal well with hot-pluggable devices, autofs is more useful
for things like remote network mounts, where you know the list of
possible mounts in advance, but it's undesirable to keep them active
when not used.

I believe my workplace uses it for auto-mounting home directories over
NFS - any time I log in (or if someone else tries to access my home
directory), it'll get mounted immediately, and if I log out, eventually
unmounted. I *believe* it's autofs being used to this, though I could be
wrong...

In contrast, because you maintain a list of devices handled by autofs,
it's not all that useful for hot-plugged devices - the random flash
drive or card someone asked you to copy some files to isn't necessarily
going to be in that list.

Simon.
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