I am on Ubuntu Server, one server running nfs-kernel-server, and the other mounting the NFS export. On the client, when I use ls -l or stat, everything shows as nobody:nogroup, but the actual permissions are used/respected.

Is this normal? If so, why is this the case?


If you're using NFSv4, it might be rpc.idmapd that's either missing, not running or incorrectly configured. It needs to contain correct domains and realms. You can also set the default nobody user to something else if you'd like. See idmapd.conf .

Please specify protocol version and export options next time, so that the answer may be more relevant :-)

  • Using NFSv4 (or should be. Does it default to v4 if both sides support it?) -- rpc.idmap is running. Config is the Ubuntu default of pastie.org/4134036
    – singpolyma
    Jun 22 '12 at 19:24

I upgraded from Jaunty 9.04 to Precise 12.04.

Precise seems to use NFSv4 as default. I used ages finding out this, -- the fix was for me to change fstab on every client:

aasen:/nmu/home /home nfs rsize=8192,wsize=8192,timeo=14,intr


aasen:/nmu/home /home nfs vers=3,timeo=14,intr

And now the users and groups are shown.

If you are really using nfsv4 and wanting to do that, this is obviously not your fix, but others might search, come to this question and be happy with this answer :-)

  • 1
    A small bonus there, don't set rsize and wsize, modern nfs does that automatically and better, I learned from the related questions to this page. So I changed my answer to remove them. Oct 7 '12 at 19:28
  • we had the same problem after a minor 12.04 upgrade somehow switched everything over to v4 (before it was using v3 without us anything special (which was weird in its own right). The kind of things you get when you take over somebody else's servers.
    – peelman
    Nov 3 '13 at 16:12
  • You who downvoted, why? Having a forced update to NFSv4 is not good, we still use NFSv3 at work due to v4 being super slow. I still think this is a very relevant answer. Aug 7 '15 at 9:09

yes, by default nfs server has root_squash on which makes client access nobody:nogroup. you can turn that off (less security) if you want during the export.

  • But... I'm not accessing the mount as root, and the mount is indeed respecting my groups, etc, it just doesn't show the true names in ls -l
    – singpolyma
    Jun 22 '12 at 19:22

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