When All Else Fails Local Startup Scripts

Local startup scripts, which are described in more detail in Chapter 9, are not used by default for any servers in any Linux distribution. (One partial exception is Slackware, which could be thought of as using local startup scripts instead of SysV startup scripts; but the Slackware approach doesn't really fit cleanly in either category.) As a review, Table 22.2 presents information on local startup script names and when these scripts run during the boot process.

Table 22.2: Local Startup Script Information by Distribution

Distribution

Local Startup Script

Run Time of Local Startup Script

Debian 3.0

Files in /etc/rc.boot

After basic/etc/rcS.d scripts but before runlevel-specific scripts

Mandrake 9.1

/etc/rc.d/rc.local

After SysV startup scripts

Red Hat 9.0

/etc/rc.d/rc.local

After SysV startup scripts

Slackware 9.0

/etc/rc.d/rc.local

At end of/etc/rc.d/rc.M startup script

SuSE 8.1

/etc/init.d/boot.local

After basic/etc/init.d/boot.d scripts but before runlevel-specific scripts

Local startup scripts have most of the same advantages and disadvantages as SysV startup scripts. Specifically, local startup scripts result in the server running (and consuming memory) at all times, so servers respond quickly to client accesses. Local startup scripts don't normally provide any scripted method of shutting down or restarting servers, though, as SysV startup scripts do; and local startup scripts provide no simple means of starting a server only in specific runlevels. Of course, you could write scripts that support these features, but the effort involved would be comparable to the effort involved in writing your own unique SysV startup scripts.

The effectiveness of local startup scripts for specific tasks varies from one distribution to another, depending on when the local startup script runs. This script may be a good way to launch high-level servers for those distributions that run the local startup script after most or all of the normal SysV startup scripts. If one of those tools that's launched via a SysV startup script depends on features provided by a server launched via a local startup script, though, a local script run time before the relevant SysV script is preferable.

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