November 10, 2002

NetInfo problems


My Powerbook, running MacOS X 10.2.1, suddenly decided to stop working because of NetInfo problems. Everything would take forover to start, from opening a new window in Chimera, or a new Terminal window to starting a new application. Looking at the /var/log/system.log and /var/tmp/console.log I could see messages like DirectoryService: NetInfo connection failed for server

The solution was to restore the Netinfo database. A starting point was I removed the /var/db/netinfo/local.nidb Netinfo database and rebooted. At this point MacOS X went through all the registration process it does the first time you boot a pristine system. This step creates a new Netinfo database. Once I logged in, I became root by running sudo su in Terminal, and ran the command to restore the Netinfo database from an earlier backup: niload -r / -t localhost/local < /var/backups/local.nidump.

Quick procedure, but I wonder what caused the problem in the first place, and why is Netinfo so fragile. I remember this used to be a problem in the old NeXTSTEP and OPENSTEP systems as well. I think a newcomer not familiar with all these hacks, would simply want to reinstall the system. The system is essentially unusable for a non-techie, you don't get the login window when you start the computer, so a non-suspecting user will think the system is dead.

Posted by ovidiu at November 10, 2002 02:10 AM |
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