Why does system reboot fail with "init: unable to open console: Input/output error" error message?

Solution Verified - Updated -

Environment

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4
  • upstart-0.6.5-10

Issue

  • System will not reboot after issuing the reboot command and the following messages are shown in the console:
Sep  1 07:01:33 xyz-server init: Failed to spawn splash-manager main process: unable to open console: Input/output error
Sep  1 07:01:33 xyz-server init: Failed to spawn rc main process: unable to open console: Input/output error
Sep  1 07:01:33 xyz-server init: serial (ttyS0) main process (4462) killed by TERM signal
Sep  1 07:01:33 xyz-server init: tty (/dev/tty1) main process (4463) killed by TERM signal
Sep  1 07:01:33 xyz-server init: tty (/dev/tty2) main process (4465) killed by TERM signal
Sep  1 07:01:33 xyz-server init: tty (/dev/tty3) main process (4467) killed by TERM signal
Sep  1 07:01:33 xyz-server init: tty (/dev/tty4) main process (4469) killed by TERM signal
Sep  1 07:01:33 xyz-server init: tty (/dev/tty5) main process (4471) killed by TERM signal
Sep  1 07:01:33 xyz-server init: tty (/dev/tty6) main process (4473) killed by TERM signal
  • After those messages the system does not reboot and a cold reboot is needed to fix the issue.

Resolution

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4.z - Upgrade to upstart-0.6.5-12.el6_4.3 from RHBA-2014-0202.
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5.z - Upgrade to upstart-0.6.5-13.el6_5.2 from RHBA-2014-0203

Root Cause

  • Previously if /dev/console was not present upstart immediately failed. With the fixed package 20 attempts to open /dev/console are performed and in case of failure we fallback to opening /dev/null instead so upstart cannot hang even if /dev/console is not present.

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