Adding Startup Items

To automatically start applications, you have two choices: start them when a user logs in, or start them when the system boots up. On most Unix systems, startup applications either reside in the /etc/rc.local script or the /etc/init.d directory. Under Mac OS 9, you could add a startup item by putting its alias in System Folder:Startup Items. Mac OS X has a different approach, described in the following sections.

Login Preferences

To start an application each time you log in, use the Accounts panel of System Preferences and select the Startup Items tab. This is good for user applications, such as Stickies or an instant messenger program. For system daemons, you should set up a directory in /Library/StartupItems, as described in the next section.

Startup Items

If you compile and install a daemon, you’ll probably want it to start at boot time. For example, MySQL will build out of the box on Mac OS X (you can download it from

A startup item is controlled by three things: a folder (such as /Library/StartupItems/MyItem), a shell script with the same name as the directory (such as MyItem), and a property list named StartupParameters.plist . The shell script and the property list must appear at the top level of the startup item’s folder. You can also create a Resources directory to hold localized resources, but this is not mandatory.

To set up the MySQL startup item, create the directory /Library/StartupItems/MySQL. Then, create two files in that ...

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