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F.4. SysV Init Runlevels
The SysV init runlevel system provides a standard process for controlling which programs
initlaunches or halts when initializing a runlevel. SysV init was chosen because it is easier to use and more flexible than the traditional BSD-style init process.
The configuration files for SysV init are located in the
/etc/rc.d/directory. Within this directory, are the
rc.sysinit, and, optionally, the
rc.serialscripts as well as the following directories:
init.d/ rc0.d/ rc1.d/ rc2.d/ rc3.d/ rc4.d/ rc5.d/ rc6.d/
init.d/directory contains the scripts used by the
/sbin/initcommand when controlling services. Each of the numbered directories represent the six runlevels configured by default under Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
The idea behind SysV init runlevels revolves around the idea that different systems can be used in different ways. For example, a server runs more efficiently without the drag on system resources created by the X Window System. Or there may be times when a system administrator may need to operate the system at a lower runlevel to perform diagnostic tasks, like fixing disk corruption in runlevel 1.
The characteristics of a given runlevel determine which services are halted and started by
init. For instance, runlevel 1 (single user mode) halts any network services, while runlevel 3 starts these services. By assigning specific services to be halted or started on a given runlevel,
initcan quickly change the mode of the machine without the user manually stopping and starting services.
The following runlevels are defined by default under Red Hat Enterprise Linux:
1— Single-user text mode
2— Not used (user-definable)
3— Full multi-user text mode
4— Not used (user-definable)
5— Full multi-user graphical mode (with an X-based login screen)
In general, users operate Red Hat Enterprise Linux at runlevel 3 or runlevel 5 — both full multi-user modes. Users sometimes customize runlevels 2 and 4 to meet specific needs, since they are not used.
The default runlevel for the system is listed in
/etc/inittab. To find out the default runlevel for a system, look for the line similar to the following near the bottom of
The default runlevel listed in this example is five, as the number after the first colon indicates. To change it, edit
Be very careful when editing
/etc/inittab. Simple typos can cause the system to become unbootable. If this happens, either use a boot CD or DVD, enter single-user mode, or enter rescue mode to boot the computer and repair the file.
For more information on single-user and rescue mode, refer to Chapter 36, Basic System Recovery.
It is possible to change the default runlevel at boot time by modifying the arguments passed by the boot loader to the kernel. For information on changing the runlevel at boot time, refer to Section E.9, “Changing Runlevels at Boot Time”.