Linux Know-How provides a collection of introductory texts on often needed Linux skills.

Example Init Script

An init script starts system services on UNIX and Linux machines. The system log daemon, the power management daemon, the name and mail daemons are common examples. These scripts, also known as startup scripts, are stored in a specific location on your system, such as /etc/rc.d/init.d or /etc/init.d. Init, the initial process, reads its configuration files and decides which services to start or stop in each run level. A run level is a configuration of processes; each system has a single user run level, for instance, for performing administrative tasks, for which the system has to be in an unused state as much as possible, such as recovering a critical file system from a backup. Reboot and shutdown run levels are usually also configured.

The tasks to be executed upon starting a service or stopping it are listed in the startup scripts. It is one of the system administrator's tasks to configure init, so that services are started and stopped at the correct moment. When confronted with this task, you need a good understanding of the startup and shutdown procedures on your system. We therefore advise that you read the man pages for init and inittab before starting on your own initialization scripts.

Here is a very simple example, that will play a sound upon starting and stopping your machine:


# This script is for /etc/rc.d/init.d
# Link in rc3.d/S99audio-greeting and rc0.d/K01audio-greeting

case "$1" in
  cat /usr/share/audio/ > /dev/audio
  cat /usr/share/audio/ > /dev/audio
exit 0

The case statement often used in this kind of script is described in here.

Last Update: 2010-12-16