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Manual page for INIT(8)

init - process control initialization


/usr/etc/init [ -bs ]


init is invoked inside the operating system as the last step in the boot procedure. It normally runs the sequence of commands in the script /etc/rc.boot (see rc.8 to check the file system. If passed the -b option from the boot program, init skips this step. If the file system check succeeds or is skipped, init runs the commands in /etc/rc and /etc/rc.local to begin multiuser operation; otherwise it commences single-user operation by giving the super-user a shell on the console. It is possible to pass the -s parameter from the boot program to init so that single-user operation is commenced immediately.

Whenever a single-user shell is created, and the system is running as a secure system, the init program demands the super-user password. This is to prevent an ordinary user from invoking a single-user shell and thereby circumventing the system's security. Logging out (for instance, by entering an EOT) causes init to proceed with a multi-user boot. The super-user password is demanded whenever the system is running secure as determined by issecure.3 or the console terminal is not labeled ``secure'' in /etc/ttytab.

Whenever single-user operation is terminated (for instance by killing the single-user shell) init runs the scripts mentioned above.

In multi-user operation, init's role is to create a process for each terminal port on which a user may log in. To begin such operations, it reads the file /etc/ttytab and executes a command for each terminal specified in the file. This command will usually be /usr/etc/getty. getty.8 opens and initializes the terminal line, reads the user's name and invokes login.1 to log in the user and execute the shell.

Ultimately the shell will terminate because it received EOF, either explicitly, as a result of hanging up, or from the user logging out. The main path of init, which has been waiting for such an event, wakes up and removes the appropriate entry from the file /etc/utmp, which records current users. init then makes an entry in /var/adm/wtmp, which maintains a history of logins and logouts. The /var/adm/wtmp entry is made only if a user logged in successfully on the line. Then the appropriate terminal is reopened and the command for that terminal is reinvoked.

init catches the hangup signal (SIGHUP) and interprets it to mean that the file /etc/ttytab should be read again. The shell process on each line which used to be active in /etc/ttytab but is no longer there is terminated; a new process is created for each added line; lines unchanged in the file are undisturbed. Thus it is possible to drop or add terminal lines without rebooting the system by changing /etc/ttytab and sending a hangup signal to the init process: use `kill -HUP 1'.

init terminates multi-user operations and resumes single-user mode if sent a terminate (SIGTERM) signal: use `kill -TERM 1'. If there are processes outstanding which are deadlocked (due to hardware or software failure), init does not wait for them all to die (which might take forever), but times out after 30 seconds and prints a warning message.

init ceases to create new processes, and allows the system to slowly die away, when sent a terminal stop (SIGTSTP) signal: use `kill -TSTP 1'. A later hangup will resume full multi-user operations, or a terminate will initiate a single-user shell. This hook is used by reboot.8 and halt.8

Whenever it reads /etc/ttytab, init will normally write out an old-style /etc/ttys file reflecting the contents of /etc/ttytab. This is required in order that programs built on earlier versions of SunOS that read the /etc/ttys file (for example, programs using the ttyslot.3v routine, such as shelltool (1)) may continue to run. If it is not required that such programs run, /etc/ttys may be made a link (hard or symbolic) to /etc/ttytab and init will not write to /etc/ttys.

init's role is so critical that if it dies, the system will reboot itself automatically. If, at bootstrap time, the init program cannot be located, the system will print an error message and panic.




kill.1 login.1 sh.1 shelltool.1 issecure.3 ttyslot.3v ttytab.5 getty.8 halt.8 rc.8 reboot.8 shutdown.8


command failing, 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 30 seconds, then continue trying to start the process.
WARNING: Something is hung (won't die); ps axl advised.
A process is hung and could not be killed when the system was shutting down. This is usually caused by a process which is stuck in a device driver due to a persistent device error condition.

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Created by unroff & hp-tools. © by Hans-Peter Bischof. All Rights Reserved (1997).

Last modified 21/April/97