import – import a name space from a remote system


import [ options ] system file [ mountpoint ]

import -B [ options ] mountpoint [ cmd [ args ... ] ]


This tool is deprecated and has been replaced by rimport (see rcpu(1)).

Import allows an arbitrary file on a remote system to be imported into the local name space. Usually file is a directory, so the complete file tree under the directory is made available.

A process is started on the remote machine, with authority of the user of import, to perform work for the local machine using the exportfs(4) service. The default port used is TCP 17007. If mountpoint is omitted import uses the name of the remote file as the local mount point.

The options are:

-a -b -c -C

Control the construction of union directories, as in mount and bind(1). Only valid when file is a directory.  


Skip the authentication protocol. This is useful for connecting to foreign systems like Inferno.  


Bypass the initial protocol request for which remote tree to serve. This is necessary when the remote exportfs(4) is running with the -r or -S options which pre-select a file tree to serve. The exception is if both sides are operating in the -B backwards mode.  


Run in “backwards” mode, described below.  

-E enc

Push an encryption protocol on its network connection. The supported protocols are clear (the default, no protocol) and ssl. There are plans to make tls available.  

-e ’enc hash

Specify the encryption and hash algorithms to use for encrypting and authenticating the wire traffic (see ssl(3)). The defaults are rc4_256 and sha1.  

-k keypattern

Use keypattern to select a key to authenticate to the remote side (see auth(2)).  


Push the aan(8) filter onto the connection to protect against temporary network outages.  


Specify announce string for aan(8) filter when run in “backwards” mode.  

-s name

Post the connection’s mountable file descriptor as /srv/name.  

The -B option runs import in “backwards” mode. In this mode, import runs a p9any authentication (as server) over its file descriptor 0 (expected to be an incoming network connection from exportfs -B), mounts the connection onto mntpt, and optionally runs cmd args.


Assume a machine kremvax that has IP interfaces for the company intranet and the global internet mounted on /net and /net.alt respectively. Any machine inside the company can get telnet out to the global internet using:


import -a kremvax /net.alt
telnet /net.alt/tcp!ucbvax

Suppose that the machine moscvax has access to a private file server containing public web pages that need to be served by the less-trusted server webvax. Webvax runs the following listener (see listen(8)) on TCP port 999:


import -B -s rowebfs /usr/web /bin/restarthttpd

When moscvax boots, it runs


exportfs -R -r /usr/web -B tcp!webvax!999

to serve a read-only copy of /usr/web to webvax. When webvax gets the call, import mounts the served tree onto its own /usr/web and then runs /bin/restarthttpd to restart httpd(8).




rcpu(1), bind(1), ssl(3), exportfs(4), srv(4), aan(8), listen(8), cs in ndb(8)