As a sibling of Unix, Ubuntu includes software to log just about everything (generally speaking, log files are stored in /var/log). The main kernel log can be viewed by typing dmesg into a terminal window, and most others can be viewed by clicking System ^ Administration ^ System Log.
But, if you're using Ubuntu 8.04 (or a handful of releases prior to this), you won't be able to log boot-time messages (for example, the stopping and starting of background services.32 This is because the system software that does this—bootlogd—isn't compatible with the Upstart component of Ubuntu and has been deliberately disabled. As a workaround for Hardy Heron (8.04) you can install a hacked version of bootlogd put together by a member of the Ubuntu community. This is strictly untested, however, and might be buggy. It should only be used if it's vital that you see boot-time messages to solve a problem.
Start by downloading the file linked to from this bug report: https:// bugs.launchpad.net/upstart/+bug/98955/comments/34. Then issue the following commands at the terminal to install the software (these commands build the package from the source code you downloaded and ensure that some vital dependencies required for building packages are installed too; the commands assume the file has been downloaded to the desktop):
$ sudo apt-get install devscripts build-essential fakeroot $ tar zxf ~/Desktop/bootlogd_2.86.02.tar.gz $ cd bootlogd-2.86.02 $ debuild -us -uc -b
From now on, and after rebooting, you'll find a log of the startup messages in the /var/log/bootmsg file. This can be viewed using Gedit, or by using less at the command-prompt: less /var/log/bootmsg.
32. Startup messages are usually hidden by the Ubuntu splash screen/progress bar but can be made visible by editing the /boot/grub/menu.lst file and removing quiet splash from the end of the line relating to the Ubuntu entry.
It might be wise to remove bootlogd when you've diagnosed your boottime problem to avoid future incompatibilities. To do so, type the following:
$ sudo dpkg -r bootlogd
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