Linux Guide/Runlevels

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Starting Linux (Booting)[edit | edit source]

When a computer is turned on, it normally begins the process of "booting" by reading software from the system's hard disk (or other non-volatile storage medium), and loading it into memory and then executing it. In this process the kernel is loaded and then various other system programs may be loaded.

A Linux system can be configured to boot up to one of several available "run levels":

0     Halt the system.
1     Single-user mode (for special administration).
2     Single User Mode with Networking
3     Multi-User Mode - boot up in text mode
4     Not yet Defined
5     Multi-User Mode - boot up in X Windows
6     Reboot.

Debian[edit | edit source]

The following quote from The Debian GNU/Linux FAQ explains how to add a custom procedure to a Debian or Debian based system boot:

Suppose a system needs to execute script foo on start-up, or on entry to a particular (System V) runlevel. Then the system administrator should:

  • Enter the script foo into the directory /etc/init.d/.
  • Run the Debian command update-rc.d with appropriate arguments, to set up links between the (command-line-specified) directories rc?.d and /etc/init.d/foo. Here, '?' is a number from 0 through 6 and corresponds to each of the System V runlevels.
  • Reboot the system.

The command update-rc.d will set up links between files in the directories rc?.d and the script in /etc/init.d/. Each link will begin with a 'S' or a 'K', followed by a number, followed by the name of the script. Scripts beginning with 'S' in /etc/rcN.d/ are executed when runlevel N is entered. Scripts beginning with a 'K' are executed when leaving runlevel N.

External links[edit | edit source]