To answer this question you have to consider two cases:
Your machine is going to be part of a network with existing NIS servers
You do not have any NIS servers in the network yet
In the first case, you only need the client programs (ypbind, ypwhich, ypcat, yppoll, ypmatch). The most important program is ypbind. This program must be running at all times, which means, it should always appear in the list of processes. It is a daemon process and needs to be started from the system's startup file (eg. /etc/init.d/nis, /sbin/init.d/ypclient, /etc/rc.d/init.d/ypbind, /etc/rc.local). As soon as ypbind is running your system has become a NIS client.
In the second case, if you don't have NIS servers, then you will also need a NIS server program (usually called ypserv). Section 9 describes how to set up a NIS server on your Linux machine using the ypserv daemon.
The system library "/usr/lib/libc.a" (version 4.4.2 and better) or the shared library "/lib/libc.so.x" contain all necessary system calls to succesfully compile the NIS client and server software. For the GNU C Library 2 (glibc 2.x), you also need /lib/libnsl.so.1.
Some people reported that NIS only works with "/usr/lib/libc.a" version 4.5.21 and better so if you want to play it safe don't use older libc's. The NIS client software can be obtained from:
Site Directory File Name ftp.kernel.org /pub/linux/utils/net/NIS yp-tools-2.8.tar.gz ftp.kernel.org /pub/linux/utils/net/NIS ypbind-mt-1.13.tar.gz ftp.kernel.org /pub/linux/utils/net/NIS ypbind-3.3.tar.gz ftp.kernel.org /pub/linux/utils/net/NIS ypbind-3.3-glibc5.diff.gz
Once you obtained the software, please follow the instructions which come with the software. yp-clients 2.2 are for use with libc4 and libc5 until 5.4.20. libc 5.4.21 and glibc 2.x needs yp-tools 1.4.1 or later. The new yp-tools 2.4 should work with every Linux libc. Since there was a bug in the NIS code, you shouldn't use libc 5.4.21-5.4.35. Use libc 5.4.36 or later instead, or the most YP programs will not work. ypbind 3.3 will work with all libraries, too. If you use gcc 2.8.x or greater, egcs or glibc 2.x, you should add the ypbind-3.3-glibc5.diff patch to ypbind 3.3. If possible you should avoid the use of ypbind 3.3 for security reasons. ypbind-mt is a new, multithreaded daemon. It needs a Linux 2.2 kernel and glibc 2.1 or later.