Today I would like to have a closer look at runlevels. Rulevel, in other words "a mode of operation", is a certain setup of services in your operating system. Conventionally, there are 7 runlevels defined in a Linux-based operating system numbered 0 to 6.
The purpose of different runlevels is usually:
- Single-User Mode
- Multi-User Mode
- Multi-User Mode with Networking
- Not used/User-definable
- Start the system normally with GUI
The highlighted runlevels (0,1 and 6) are present in virtually all operating systems. The definition of other runlevels might differ between different systems and distributions. Some might be unused, some just aliases for another runlevels. It depends on what system you use. Another important thing is, that system during the bootup doesn’t go sequentially through all the runlevels.
Now a little more about what you can do with the runlevels. You can find out in what runlevel is your system currently working by typing:
It will display two numbers, first says the previous runlevel and the second current runlevel. Now, how to change a runlevel manually? Well, this is an easy task as well. You can switch runlevels by typing:
init 6 will reboot. This doesn’t start the init process all
over again. If the init doesn’t have
PID=1 it will run a program called
telinit which “tells init to change runlevels”.
There are a set of services that are shut down or started upon entering a
certain runlevel. The scripts that control it can be found in
folder. Additionally, there is a separate folder with symlinks into the
/etc/init.d/ folder for each run level. The symlinks say what service to
start or kill upon entering a certain runlevel (for example
for rebooting (runlevel 6) etc.).
Each script in
/etc/init.d/ takes some parameters. Some of them are for
example: start, stop, restart, status. When you explore the
directories further, you’ll find a set of weirdly named files. Here is content
The names of the files are actually very important. When init is processing a “S”tart link, it will supply the parameter “start.” When following a “K”ill link, it will supply “stop.” The number after the first letter is a sort-of priority and specifies the order of execution of these scripts.
There can be any number of symbolic-links pointing to the same file, and very
frequently there are. If a service (daemon) needs to be started in more than
one runlevel, you simply have a symbolic-link in each of the appropriate
In addition there is one script –
/etc/rc.local . This script is executed
after all the init scripts in each multi-user runlevel. By the default it
does nothing, but you can edit it yourself to add some actions.
In the end of this post, we’ll show how to add a script of your own that will
be executed on startup. There are a couple of ways of doing it. The first,
kind of obvious one is the manual way. You can create a script, put it into
init.d directory and then manually create the links in each directory.
The other way is using an utility called
update-rc.d that will do this for
you. You can specify what script you would like to start or stop in what