# The rc.d System
NetBSD uses individual scripts for controlling system and service startup,
similar to System V, but without runlevels.
Nowadays, most Linux distributions switched to systemd, which is a different
approach: It does not use scripts anymore, but tries to have everything binary.
It also serves for several other purposes, while NetBSD's rc.d system just
serves for starting up services at system startup or by user intervention.
This chapter is an overview of NetBSD's rc.d system and its configuration.
The system startup files reside in the `/etc` directory. They are:
First, a look at controlling and supporting scripts (also documented in
* After the kernel has initialized all devices at startup, it starts
which in turn runs `/etc/rc`.
* `/etc/rc` sorts the scripts in `/etc/rc.d` using
and then runs them in that order. See below and the manpage for details of
how the order of rc.d scripts is determined.
* `/etc/rc.subr` contains common functions used by `/etc/rc` and various rc.d
* When shutting down the system with
`/etc/rc.shutdown` is run, which runs the scripts in `/etc/rc.d` in
reverse order (as defined by
*Note*: If you shut down the system using the
command, these scripts will not be run.
There are some special scripts outside the `rc.d` directory, which are also
* `/etc/rc.lkm` loads or unloads Loadable Kernel Modules (LKMs). See
* `/etc/rc.local` is almost the last script called at boot up. This script can
be edited by the administrator to start local daemons that don't fit the
rc.d model, or do maintenance that should be done only once at startup.
rc.d scripts are controlled by a central configuration file, `/etc/rc.conf`,
which loads its default settings from `/etc/defaults/rc.conf`. If you want to
change a default setting, do not edit `/etc/defaults/rc.conf`; instead, override
the setting in `/etc/rc.conf`.
It is a good idea to read the
man page to learn about the services that are by default available to you.
The following example shows how to enable the SSH daemon, which is disabled by
# cd /etc; grep ssh defaults/rc.conf
# echo "sshd=YES" >> rc.conf
will be started automatically at system startup. The next section describes how
to start and stop services at any time.
Last but not least, files can be created in the `/etc/rc.conf.d/` directory to
override the behavior of a given rc.d script without editing the script itself.
## The rc.d scripts
The actual scripts that control services are in `/etc/rc.d`. These scripts are
automatically run at boot time, but they can be called manually if necessary.
The following example shows how to start the SSH daemon that we enabled in the
# /etc/rc.d/sshd start
Later, if you wish to stop the SSH daemon, run the following command:
# /etc/rc.d/sshd stop
Waiting for PIDS: 123.
The rc.d scripts take one of the following arguments:
Some scripts may support other arguments (e.g., `reload`), but every script will
support at least the above commands.
As an example, after adding a new record to a
database, the daemon can be told to reload its configuration files with the
# /etc/rc.d/named reload
Reloading named config files.
Note that all of the commands discussed above will only take action if the
particular service is enabled in `/etc/rc.conf`. It is possible to bypass this
requirement by prepending `one` to the command, as in:
# /etc/rc.d/httpd start
$httpd is not enabled - see rc.conf(5).
Use the following if you wish to perform the operation:
# /etc/rc.d/httpd onestart
The above command will allow you to start the
service one time. To stop a service that has been started in this manner, pass
`onestop` to the script.
## Order/dependencies of start determined by rcorder
The startup system of every Unix system determines, in one way or another, the
order in which services are started. On some Unix systems this is done by
numbering the files and/or putting them in separate run level directories.
Solaris relies on wildcards like `/etc/rc.d/S*` being sorted numerically
when expanded. Some simply put all the commands that should be started into a
single monolithic script (this is the traditional BSD method, and is what NetBSD
did before the rc.d system). On modern NetBSD this is done by the rc.d scripts
and their contents. Please note that NetBSD does not have multiple runlevels as
found in SysV-style systems like Solaris and Linux.
At the beginning of each rc.d script there is a series of commented out lines
that have one of the following items in them:
These describe the dependencies of that particular script and allow rcorder to
easily work either `up` or `down` as the situation requires. As an example, here
is the ordering information contained in `/etc/rc.d/nfsd`:
# PROVIDE: nfsd
# REQUIRE: rpcbind mountd
Here we can see that this script provides the `nfsd` service and that it
requires `rpcbind` and `mountd` to be running first. The
utility is used at system startup time to read through all the rc.d scripts and
determine the order in which they should be run.
## rc.d scripts of additional services
Packages you install additionally won't be listed in the rc.conf(5) manpage.
Packages installing services which can be started with an rc.d script tell you
so after they are installed, along with the variable that is used for starting
them (usually, it has the same name as the service itself).
Then, you usually have to copy them from `/usr/pkg/share/examples/rc.d` to
`/etc/rc.d` for `rc` to automatically find them, or add the line
to your `/etc/rc.conf`.
If you forgot the name of the service variable, you can have a look at the rc.d
script itself. The variable `rcvar` (usually set to `$name`) will tell you.
E.g., to find the name of variable to start fscd, run
$ grep ^rcvar /etc/rc.d/fscd
$ grep ^name /etc/rc.d/fscd # Aaaw, no direct rcvar.
Thus, you need in your `/etc/rc.conf` the entry:
## Additional Reading
Luke Mewburn, one of the principal designers of the rc.d system, gave a
presentation on the system at USENIX 2001. It is available in
CVSweb for NetBSD wikisrc <wikimaster@NetBSD.org> software: FreeBSD-CVSweb