Subject: Re: /etc/inittab (was: /etc/default)
To: Peter Seebach <>
From: Perry E. Metzger <>
List: current-users
Date: 08/03/1995 15:58:16
Peter Seebach writes:
> How many run levels do you _need_?  One.  Single-user.  You can do the
> rest from there.
> How many run levels would I use, if I had them?  Five or six, at least.
> I might add others later.

As I said in private mail, from what I can tell you don't need run
levels. What you are asking for is the ability to launch or shut down
various programs in sets. I suggested that you simply use shell
scripts to do this. You then stated that you needed to know what
"state" your machine is. Fine -- have your shell scripts maintain a
file called /etc/state. Call it /etc/runlevel if it makes you feel

A good shell programmer could build such a thing in much less time
than has been spent on asking for run levels.

I can see why people might want to rig such a thing up. I cannot
fathom why people feel the need to have such things be part of init or
the kernel.

Part of the unix philosophy is to not clutter up the kernel or system
facilities with things you can build with other tools.

BTW, this is somewhat distinct from people suggesting that the
standard rc file source all the files in a subdirectory of /etc during
intialization. This is a simple change that would make installation of
new packages and system maintainance much easier, and it requires only
(in the minimal case) the addition of five lines of shell script to
/etc/rc, and at worst a slight reorganization of /etc/rc*. I will try
to do this on my own machine and I will sendpr the updated scripts.

> Show of hands from everyone actually using files over 2 gigabytes on a daily
> basis.  :)

Me. I have disks bigger than 2gig and system programs have to lseek
over the whole disk via the raw device. Thats why the feature is there.