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Practical Linux by Bill Ball, John Ray, Michael Turner, M. Drew Streib

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Configuring inittab and rc Files

Before discussing the ins and outs of inittab and rc files, a brief discussion is needed on init, the parent process of inittab. When init is kicked off, it reads the file /etc/inittab, which tells init what to do. Usually, it tells init to allow user logons (gettys), and controls autonomous processes and other "at boot time" processes.

The init process can run at one of 15 levels. The run level is changed by having a privileged user (root) run /sbin/telinit, which sends appropriate signals to init, telling it which run level to change to.

After it has spawned all its processes, init waits for one of its child processes to die, for a power fail signal, or for a signal from /sbin/telinit to change the system's run ...

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