Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)

FreeBSD Manual Pages


home | help
INIT(8)                 OpenBSD System Manager's Manual                INIT(8)

     init - process control initialization

     init [-sf]

     The init program is the last stage of the boot process.  It normally runs
     the automatic reboot sequence as described in reboot(8), and if this suc-
     ceeds, begins multi-user operation.  If the reboot scripts fail, init
     commences single-user operation by giving the superuser a shell on the
     console.  The init program may be passed parameters from the boot program
     to prevent the system from going multi-user and to instead execute a sin-
     gle-user shell without starting the normal daemons.

     The following parameters may be passed from the boot program:

     -s      Boot directly into single user mode.

     -f      Activate fastboot mode.

     The system is then quiescent for maintenance work and may later be made
     to go to multi-user by exiting the single-user shell (with ^D).  This
     causes init to run the /etc/rc startup command file in fastboot mode
     (skipping disk checks).

     If the console entry in the ttys(5) file does not contain the ``secure''
     flag, then init will require that the superuser password be entered be-
     fore the system will start a single-user shell.  The password check is
     skipped if the console is marked as ``secure''.

     The kernel securelevel(7) is normally set to 0 while in single-user mode,
     and raised to 1 when the system begins multi-user operations.  This ac-
     tion will not take place if the securelevel is -1, and can be modified
     via the /etc/rc.securelevel script.

     In multi-user operation, init maintains processes for the terminal ports
     found in the file ttys(5).  init reads this file, and executes the com-
     mand found in the second field.  This command is usually getty(8); getty
     opens and initializes the tty line and executes the login program.  The
     login program, when a valid user logs in, executes a shell for that user.
     When this shell dies, either because the user logged out or an abnormal
     termination occurred (a signal), the init program wakes up, deletes the
     user from the utmp(5) file of current users and records the logout in the
     wtmp file.  The cycle is then restarted by init executing a new getty for
     the line.

     Line status (on, off, secure, getty, or window information) may be
     changed in the ttys file without a reboot by sending the signal SIGHUP to
     init with the command ``kill -s HUP 1''.  On receipt of this signal, init
     re-reads the ttys file.  When a line is turned off in ttys, init will
     send a SIGHUP signal to the controlling process for the session associat-
     ed with the line.  For any lines that were previously turned off in the
     ttys file and are now on, init executes a new getty to enable a new lo-
     gin.  If the getty or window field for a line is changed, the change
     takes effect at the end of the current login session (e.g., the next time
     init starts a process on the line).  If a line is commented out or delet-
     ed from ttys, init will not do anything at all to that line.  However, it
     will complain that the relationship between lines in the ttys file and
     records in the utmp file is out of sync, so this practice is not recom-

     init will terminate multi-user operations and resume single-user mode if
     sent a terminate (TERM) signal, for example, ``kill -s TERM 1''.  If
     there are processes outstanding that are deadlocked (because of hardware
     or software failure), init will not wait for them all to die (which might
     take forever), but will time out after 30 seconds and print a warning

     init will cease creating new getty's and allow the system to slowly die
     away, if it is sent a terminal stop (TSTP) signal, i.e., ``kill -s TSTP
     1''.  A later hangup will resume full multi-user operations, or a termi-
     nate will start a single-user shell.  This hook is used by reboot(8) and

     init will terminate multi-user operations, kill all getty's, run
     /etc/rc.shutdown, and halt the machine if user-defined signal 1 (USR1) is

     The role of init is so critical that if it dies, the system will reboot
     itself automatically.  If, at bootstrap time, the init process cannot be
     located, the system will panic with the message ``panic: init died
     (signal %d, exit %d)''.

     When init spawns a process it sets the process priority, umask, and re-
     source limits based on /etc/login.conf.  When starting the rc(8) files,
     the login class ``daemon'' is used.  When starting a window system or
     getty(8), the login class ``default'' is used.  No resource changes are
     made when entering single user mode.

     /dev/console         system console device
     /dev/tty*            terminal ports found in ttys
     /var/run/utmp        record of users currently logged in
     /var/log/wtmp        record of all logins and logouts
     /etc/ttys            terminal initialization information file
     /etc/rc              system startup commands
     /etc/rc.securelevel  commands that run before the security level changes
     /etc/rc.shutdown     script run at shutdown time

     getty repeating too quickly on port %s, sleeping  A process being started
     to service a line is exiting quickly each time it is started.  This is
     often caused by a ringing or noisy terminal line.  Init will sleep for 10
     seconds, then continue trying to start the process.

     some processes would not die; ps axl advised.  A process is hung and
     could not be killed when the system was shutting down.  This condition is
     usually caused by a process that is stuck in a device driver because of a
     persistent device error condition.

     kill(1), login(1), sh(1), fbtab(5), login.conf(5), ttys(5),
     securelevel(7), crash(8), getty(8), halt(8), rc(8), rc.shutdown(8),
     reboot(8), shutdown(8)

     An init command appeared in Version 6 AT&T UNIX.

OpenBSD 3.4                      May 26, 1995                                2


Want to link to this manual page? Use this URL:

home | help