LinuxFocus.org: automount and autofsFeb 11, 2001, 21:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Frédéric Raynal)
"Dependent on the physical support (hard disks, floppies, cdrom, ...) and/or the operating system, the process of writing of data (not its meaning) is different : this is what we call file system (I hope experts and purists will forgive me for the short cuts ;-) The /etc/fstab file holds the hard mount points to be installed at boot time. Each point corresponds to a place and to a file system (for example, one of your hard disk partitions). Later on, if you want to access other points, only root can use the mount (unless the special option "user" is provided in /etc/fstab) command. As root, you must specify the mount point, what you want to mount and possibly, the file system and some options. A common user not having, (fortunately ;-) the same rights, won't be able to access all the data."
"Mount and fstab man pages give a more accurate and complete description of these commands and concepts."
"Both (automount, autofs) allow the administrator to configure all file systems a machine can access, the same way he would using mount. The user can then access these systems in a fully transparent manner, without worrying about how the kernel will answer his request."