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Mac OS X Panther for Unix Geeks, Second Edition by Ernest E. Rothman, Brian Jepson

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Chapter 2. Startup

The most striking difference between Mac OS X and other flavors of Unix is in how Mac OS X handles the boot process. Gone are /etc/inittab, /etc/init.d, and /etc/rc.local from traditional Unix systems. In their place is a BSD-like startup sequence sandwiched between a Mach[4] foundation and the Aqua user interface.

This chapter describes the Mac OS X startup sequence, beginning with the BootX loader and progressing to full multiuser mode, at which time the system is ready to accept logins from normal users. The chapter also covers custom startup items, network interface configuration, and Mac OS X’s default cron jobs.

Booting Mac OS X

When the computer is powered up, the firmware is in complete control. After the firmware initializes the hardware, it hands off control to the BootX loader, which bootstraps the kernel. After a trip into Mach, the control bubbles up into the BSD subsystem, and eventually into the Aqua user interface.

By default, Mac OS X boots graphically. If you’d like to see console messages as you boot, hold down

Booting Mac OS X

-V (the “V” stands for “verbose”) as you start the computer. If you’d like to always boot in verbose mode, you can specify a flag in the boot arguments that are stored in your system’s firmware. First, use the command nvram boot-args to make sure there aren’t any flags already set (if there are, and you didn’t set them, you probably should ...

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