nicl(1) BSD General Commands Manual nicl(1)NAMEnicl — NetInfo command line utility
SYNOPSISnicl [options] datasource [command]
-c create new datasource
-p prompt for password
-u user authenticate as user
-P password authentication password
-raw datasource is a NetInfo directory
-t datasource is host/tag
-v verbose output
-q quiet - no interactive prompt
-x500 X.500 names
-read dir [key ...]
-list dir [key]
-search dir scopemin scopemax key val [key val] ...
-load [delim key val ...] ...
-create [path [key [val ...]]]
-append dir key val ...
-merge dir key val ...
-insert dir key val index
-rename dir old_key new_key
-delete dir [key [val ...]]
-copy dir new_parent
-move dir new_parent
-history [<=>] [version]
available only in interactive mode:
-auth [user [password]]
support for experimental X.500 mode:
-setrdn dir key
DESCRIPTIONnicl is general-purpose utility for operating on NetInfo databases. Its
commands allow one to create, read, and manage NetInfo data. If invoked
without any commands, nicl runs in an interactive mode, reading commands
from standard input. Interactive processing is terminated by the quit
command, or by end of file. Leading dashes ("-") are optional for all
nicl operates on a datasource specified on the command line. This may be
a domain name, a NetInfo server of the form "host/tag", or a file.
Domain names may be absolute paths beginning with a slash ("/"), or rela‐
tive domain paths beginning with a dot (".") character, which specifies
the local domain, or "..", specifying the local domain's parent. If the
-t option has been specified, then the datasource is a host/tag specifi‐
cation. Hosts may be given by name or IP address. If the -raw option
has been specified, then the datasource is a NetInfo-format database, for
example "/var/db/netinfo/local.nidb". The user invoking nicl must have
sufficient file-system permissions to read the database files.
In "raw" mode, nicl operates directly on the database without communicat‐
ing with a server for that database.
Many commands take a directory as an option. Directories may be speci‐
fied as a directory ID number or as a path. NetInfo paths are specified
by a list of slash-separated components. Each component is of the form:
In the first form, the key defaults to "name". Thus the following two
paths are equivalent:
Note that NetInfo does not require any key to have unique values. When
matching a directory path, NetInfo will match the first directory it
finds with a given key and value. For example, the following path will
locate a user with a gid of "100":
Many users may have a gid value of 100. This path will match the first
in some search order. The only unique identifier for NetInfo directories
is the directory ID number. This number is printed in the output of the
list command, and is printed by the read command if the nicl is invoked
with the -v (verbose) flag.
If path components contain keys or values with embedded slash characters,
the slash characters must be escaped with a leading backslash character.
Since the shell also processes escape characters, an extra backslash is
required to correctly specify an escape. For example, to read a direc‐
tory with the name "/Alpha" in the "/exports" directory, one of the fol‐
lowing paths could be used:
nicl . -read /exports/\\/Alpha
nicl . -read /exports/name=\\/Alpha
X.500 MODEnicl was developed using an internal datastore "engine" with operations
supporting both the legacy NetInfo network protocol and LDAP Version 3.
Development work is still in progress in this area. Some nicl commands
have been written for use in "X.500" mode, invoked by use of the -x500
flag. Support for X.500-style data organization, naming, and access is
still experimental and under active development.
The action of each command is described below. Some commands have
aliases. For example, "cat" and "." are aliases for "read". Command
aliases are listed in parentheses.
read (cat .)
Usage: read dir [key ...]
Prints a directory. Each properties are printed one per line. The prop‐
erty key is followed by a colon, then a space-separated list of the val‐
ues for that property. Note that a value which contains embedded spaces
will appear identical to a pair of values. If The -v flag for verbose
output has been given, then read prints the directory (record) ID number,
its version number, serial number, a count of child directories and a
list of child directory ID numbers. Attributes are printed separately
from meta-attributes (those having a leading underscore character).
Usage: list dir [key]
Lists the subdirectories of the given directory. Subdirectories are
listed one per line. The directory ID number is printed first, then the
values of "name" key. If an optional key argument is given, then the
values for that key are used, rather than the values for the "name" key.
Note that subdirectories that do not have a "name" key (or the key given
as an option) are not listed.
path scopemin scopemax key val [key val] ...
Searches for directories that match a pattern. The search is rooted at
the given directory. The following two arguments control the scope of
the search by specifying the starting and ending depth of the search. If
scopemin argument is 0, for example, the search will include the starting
directory itself. A value of 1 will start searching at the subdirecto‐
ries of the starting directory. The value of scopemax specifies the max‐
imum depth of the search. A value of 0 stops the search at the starting
directory. A value of 1 stops the search one level down. A value of -1
causes the search to have no maximum depth.
Following the scope arguments are one or more key and value pairs.
Directories that have matching keys and values will be printed.
Usage: path path
Prints the directories from the given directory to the root directory.
Usage: load [delim key val ...] ...
Creates a child directory of the current directory. This command allows
a directory to be created with a number of properties. The first charac‐
ter given in the input is subsequently used as a delimiter to separate
key val ... sets. For example, to create a directory with the name
"foo", and a property "bar" with the values "a", "b", and "c", and a
property "baz" with the values "abc" and "def":
load + name foo + bar a b c + baz abc def
Any single character may be used as a delimiter.
Usage: create [path [key [val ...]]]
Creates a new directory, property, or value. If a directory path is
given, the create command will create the directory path if it does not
exist. If a key is given, then a property with that key will be created.
WARNING - If a property with the given key already exists, it will be
destroyed and a new property will be created in its place. To add values
to an existing property, use the append or merge commands.
If values are included in the command, these values will be set for the
If it is invoked without any arguments as a single command-line argument
to nicl , the create command will create a new database. For example, to
create a new database "/tmp/test_db":
nicl-raw /tmp/test_db -create
The "mk" alias is not available for creating a new database. Note that a
new database may also be created by using the -c option on the command
Usage: append path key val ...
Appends one or more values to a property in a given directory. The prop‐
erty is created if it does not exist.
Usage: merge path key val ...
Appends one or more values to a property in a given directory if the
property does not already have those values. The property is created if
it does not exist.
Usage: insert path key val index Inserts the given value in the list of
values of the given key in the specified directory. index is an integer
value. An index of 0 specifies that the value should be inserted at the
head of the list. An index greater than the number of values in the list
causes the value to be appended. The property is created if it does not
Usage: rename path old_key new_key
Changes a property key.
Usage: delete path [key [val ...]]
Delete a directory, property, or value. If a directory path is given,
the delete command will delete the directory. If a key is given, then a
property with that key will be deleted. If one or more values are given,
those values will be removed from the property with the given key.
Usage: copy path new_parent
Recursively copies a directory to a new parent directory.
Usage: move path new_parent
Moves a directory to a new parent directory. In raw mode, move moves a
directory by detaching it from its parent directory and re-attaching it
to a new parent. When connected to a NetInfo server, the directory is
recursively copied to the new parent directory, then the original is
Usage: history [<=>] [version]
Locates directories by reference to the database version number. When a
new database is created, it starts with a version number of zero. Each
modification of the database causes the version number to be incremented.
The database version number is saved with the directory that was modified
at that time. When a directory is added or removed, the parent directory
is modified, and thus the parent directory carries the version number for
The history command lists directories that have been modified before, at,
or after a specific version of the database. The < argument is used to
locate directories that changed before a specific version. The > argu‐
ment locates directories that changed after a specific version. The =
after locates the single directory that changed at a specific version.
This is also the default if none of these arguments is given.
If a version number is omitted, the current database version number is
used. To determine the current database version:
nicl . -history
Prints various statistics. If the datasource is a raw database this
includes the database checksum, version number, maximum directory ID num‐
ber, and counts of fetch, save, and remove operations. If the datasource
is a NetInfo server, then this command prints all statistics available
from the server.
Prints the NetInfo domain name. Not available in raw mode.
Prints the IP address and tag of the server's parent domain server. No
output is printed if the server has no parent. Not available in raw
If connected to a NetInfo clone server, this command causes the clone to
check its database and re-synchronize with the master if necessary. If
connected to a master server, this command causes the master to send a
message to all clones, causing them all to re-synchronize. Not available
in raw mode.
Flushes the directory cache.
Usage: echo string
Prints the string to standard output. This is handy when executing a
Usage: source file
Redirects standard input to read commands from the named file. After the
commands in the file have been processed, control returns to the command
line (if invoked interactively).
Usage: cd dir
Sets the current directory. Path names for other nicl commands may be
relative to the current directory.
Usage: pwd Prints the path of the current directory.
Usage: auth [user [password]]
Authenticate as the named user, or as "root" if no user is specified. If
a password is supplied, then that password is used for authentication,
otherwise the command prompts for a password.
quit (q exit)
Usage: quit Ends processing of interactive commands and terminates the
X.500 MODE COMMANDS
Usage: refs Used with -x500 mode. Lists parent domain and child domain
references. Domains are printed as LDAP URLS.
Usage: setrdn path key
Used with -x500 mode. This command creates a meta-attribute "rdn" key in
the specified directory, with the key as the value of the "rdn" meta-
attribute. When nicl is invoked with the -x500 flag, X.500-style naming
is used. The "rdn" meta-attribute of a directory specifies which key
will be used for the relative distinguished name (RDN). By default, the
"name" property is used to form the RDN.
SEE ALSOnidump(8), nifind(1), nigrep(1), niload(8), nireport(1), niutil(1)Mac OS December 15, 2000 Mac OS