Introduction to NFS Utilities

The NFS Utilities package contains the userspace server and client tools necessary to use the kernel's NFS abilities. NFS is a protocol that allows sharing file systems over the network.

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS-8.3 platform.

Package Information

NFS Utilities Dependencies




LVM2-2.02.177 (libdevmapper for NFSv4 support), libnfsidmap-0.26 (for NFSv4 support), libnsl-1.2.0 (for NIS client support), SQLite-3.24.0, MIT Kerberos V5-1.16.1 or libgssapi, and librpcsecgss (for GSS and RPC security support) and libcap-2.25 with PAM

Required (runtime)


User Notes:

Kernel Configuration

Enable the following options in the kernel configuration (choose client and/or server support as appropriate) and recompile the kernel if necessary:

File systems  --->
  [*] Network File Systems  --->         [CONFIG_NETWORK_FILESYSTEMS]
    <*/M> NFS client support             [CONFIG_NFS_FS]
    <*/M> NFS server support             [CONFIG_NFSD]

Select the appropriate sub-options that appear when the above options are selected.



In BLFS we assume that nfs v3 will be used. If the server offers nfs v4 (for linux, CONFIG_NFSD_V4) then auto-negotiation for v3 will fail and you will need to add nfsver=3 to the mount options. This also applies if that option is enabled in the client's kernel, for example in a distro trying to mount from a BLFS v3 server.

Even if neither end of the connection supports nfs v4, adding nfsver=3 is still beneficial because it prevents an error message "NFS: bad mount option value specified: minorversion=1" being logged on every mount.

Installation of NFS Utilities

Before you compile the program, ensure that the nobody user and nogroup group have been created as done in the current LFS book. You can add them by running the following commands as the root user:

groupadd -g 99 nogroup &&
useradd -c "Unprivileged Nobody" -d /dev/null -g nogroup \
    -s /bin/false -u 99 nobody


The classic uid and gid values are 65534 which is also -2 when interpreted as a signed 16-bit number. These values impact other files on some filesystems that do not have support for sparse files. The nobody and nogroup values are relatively arbitrary. The impact on a server is nil if the exports file is configured correctly. If it is misconfigured, an ls -l or ps listing will show a uid or gid number of 65534 instead of a name. The client uses nobody only as the user running rpc.statd.

First, fix a build problem caused by gcc-8:

sed -i '/strict-prototypes/d' &&
autoreconf -fiv

Install NFS Utilities by running the following commands:

./configure --prefix=/usr          \
            --sysconfdir=/etc      \
            --sbindir=/sbin        \
            --without-tcp-wrappers \
            --disable-nfsv4        \
            --disable-gss &&

This package does not come with a working test suite."

Now, as the root user:

make install                      &&
mv -v /sbin/start-statd /usr/sbin &&
chmod u+w,go+r /sbin/mount.nfs    &&
chown nobody.nogroup /var/lib/nfs

Command Explanations

--without-tcp-wrappers: This option is needed because TCP Wrappers is not in BLFS.

--disable-nfsv4: This allows the package to be built when libnfsidmap has not been installed.

--disable-gss: Disables support for RPCSEC GSS (RPC Security).

chown nobody.nogroup /var/lib/nfs: The rpc.statd program uses the ownership of this directory to set it's UID and GID. This command sets those to unprivileged entries.

Configuring NFS Utilities

Server Configuration

/etc/exports contains the exported directories on NFS servers. Refer to the exports.5 manual page for the syntax of this file. Also refer to the "NFS HowTo" available at for information on how to configure the servers and clients in a secure manner. For example, for sharing the /home directory over the local network, the following line may be added:



Be sure to replace the directory, network address. and prefix above to match your network. The only space in the line above should be between the directory and the network address.

Systemd Units

Install the NFSv4 server units included in the blfs-systemd-units-20180105 package to start the server at boot.

make install-nfsv4-server

If you have disabled NFSv4 support, run the following command as the root user to omit the NFSv4 specific systemd units:

make install-nfs-server

You can edit the /etc/default/nfs-utils file to change the startup options for NFS daemons. Defaults should be fine for most use cases.

Client Configuration

/etc/fstab contains the directories that are to be mounted on the client. Alternately the partitions can be mounted by using the mount command with the proper options. To mount the /home and /usr partitions, add the following to the /etc/fstab:

<server-name>:/home  /home nfs   rw,_netdev 0 0
<server-name>:/usr   /usr  nfs   ro,_netdev 0 0

The options which can be used are specified in man 5 nfs. If both the client and server are running recent versions of linux, most of the options will be negotiated (but see the Note above on nfsver=3). You can specify either rw or ro, _netdev if the filesystem is to be automatically mounted at boot, or noauto (and perhaps user) for other filesystems.

If the fileserver is not running a recent version of linux, you may need to specifiy other options.

If you are using systemd, you may need to enable autofs v4 in your kernel, and add the option comment=systemd.automount. Some machines need this, because systemd tries to mount the external fs's before the network is up, others do not need it. An alternative is for root to run mount -a.

Systemd Units


The following systemd units are not required if the nfs-server units are installed.

Install the units included in the blfs-systemd-units-20180105 package to start the client services at boot.

make install-nfs-client


Installed Programs: exportfs, mountstats, mount.nfs, mount.nfs4 (link to mount.nfs), nfsiostat, nfsstat, osd_login, rpc.mountd, rpc.nfsd, rpc.statd, rpcdebug, showmount, sm-notify, start-statd, umount.nfs (link to mount.nfs), and umount.nfs4 (link to mount.nfs)
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: /var/lib/nfs

Short Descriptions


maintains a list of NFS exported file systems.


displays NFS client per-mount statistics.


is used to mount a network share using NFS


is used to mount a network share using NFSv4


reports input/output statistics for network filesystems.


displays statistics kept about NFS client and server activity.


is a script that is a part of the autologin feature mandated by the pnfs-objects standard.


implements the NFS mount protocol on an NFS server.


implements the user level part of the NFS service on the server.


is used by the NFS file locking service. Run on both sides, client as well as server, when you want file locking enabled.


sets or clears the kernel's NFS client and server debug flags.


displays mount information for an NFS server.


is used to send Network Status Monitor reboot messages.


is a script called by nfsmount when mounting a filesystem with locking enabled, if statd does not appear to be running. It can be customised with whatever flags are appropriate for the site.


is used to unmount a network share using NFS


is used to unmount a network share using NFSv4

Last updated on 2018-08-14 15:05:25 -0700