I'm interested in learning about the system initialization in VectorLinux, so I first took a look at The VectorLinux Filesystem and How to Find Files. From there, I basically looked at the init scripts and documented everything that occured. The system initialization described below is for runlevel 4 - a multiuser GUI desktop - the most common use for VectorLinux.

I documented this so that I could try to reduce the boot time of my system, along with paring down the init files by eliminating anything that my system didn't use, such as the Logical Volume Manager, the RPC portmapper and NFS setup, among other stuff. (This also makes the init scripts easier to read.) My success (or failure) of this reduced boot-time project will also be documented on this Website in the near future.

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert on Linux initialization, and I'm not sure what everything is that is being done in the init scripts. (For example: I don't know what "udev" or "tmpfs" are. I just know that they are being started and/or setup and they are necessary.)

  1. First - the kernel loads (kernel loading messages end up in /var/log/messages)
  2. After the kernel is loaded the system runs one program: /sbin/init. This program is responsible for running all other scripts. Init reads its configuration from a file called /etc/inittab.
  3. init first runs /etc/rc.d/rc.S (the system initialization script) and it does the following tasks:
  4. If booting into a multiuser mode, init runs /etc/rc.d/rc.M (the advanced hardware initialization script) next and it does the following tasks:
  5. /etc/rc.d/rc.vlinit runs next. This script will start all services associated with the runlevel that the system is entering.
  6. /etc/rc.d/rc.local runs next and does the following tasks:
  7. This is the end of rc.local unless custom initialization has been added by the user.

  8. /etc/rc.d/rc.X runs and launches the display manager (kdm, gdm, etc.) if the system is going to level 4 or 5 (gui)
There are several "commands" in the init scripts that have to do with writing messages to the screen and/or log files.
These commands are:
echoc:  write to screen with color
echon:  write to screen - no newline
echonl: write to screen & log - no newline
echol:   write to screen & log
echocl: write to screen & log with color

If you would like to learn more about the Linux initialization, here are some links:

Linux System Initialization - this article is over 10 years old, but it's very detailed and has lots of good info.
Parallelize applications for faster Linux booting - has some good info on the Linux initialization process
Init Runlevels (RedHat)
Linux: Init Process and PC Boot Procedure - not specific to VectorLinux

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