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Upstart Plans to Ease Linux Management

Streamlining the init Processes

  • March 8, 2007
  • By Carla Schroder

Ubuntu has an interesting project called Upstart, which is a replacement for the traditional Unix init system. The goals of Upstart are ambitious: to modernize and streamline the boot process, control user tasks, and manage services. Currently these things are managed with a multitude of different utilities: cron, atd, anacron, init, telinit, udev, acpid, apmd, ifupdown, module-init-tools, inetd, xinetd, update-rc.d, etc.init.d, /etc/rc*d, and gosh knows what-all. So Upstart intends to replace sysvinit and initscripts, and to replace all the service and task managers--cron, atd, inetd, and so forth--with a single daemon. To make it even more fun, they are preserving backwards-compatibility for a period of time to make the transition easier for users. If you're running *buntu Edgy, you're already seeing Upstart in action.

It doesn't do a lot yet beyond replace /etc/inittab, which you will notice is gone without anyone saying much about it, or replacing it with some kind of informative placeholder. The /etc/event.d directory replaces it, which looks scary since it replaces a single nice easy-to-understand file to a whole directory of separate files. But fear not, for it replaces more than /etc/inittab--soon it will replace all of /etc/init.d.

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