Editing inittab or any of the rc scripts requires some degree of caution. But even the best tests cannot simulate a complete system reboot, and a script that might appear to function properly after a system has initialized might fail to execute, or worse, hang during system initialization. The reasons are diverse, but usually involve getting things out of order.

For example, in Caldera's Network Desktop (which ran on a 1.2.13 kernel and used modules), I created a script to start the kerneld process early in the boot sequence. When I upgraded the system to Caldera's OpenLinux v1.0 (which ran a 2.0.25 kernel), I used the same script, tested it, and—when I was satisfied that all was well—rebooted the system. Much to my dismay, the ...

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