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Re: initdefault has no effect

>> Mike Burger wrote:
>>>> Ed Greshko wrote:
>>>>> Hummm....  Bad news....
>>>>> I had to test this and have in the intttab file....
>>>>> #   5 - X11
>>>>> #   6 - reboot (Do NOT set initdefault to this)
>>>>> #
>>>>> ; id:5:initdefault:
>>>>> id:3:initdefault:
>>>>> And the system still comes up in run level 5.
>>>> There is probably no comment sign anymore.
>>>> Upstart just rapidly scans /etc/inittab for the default runlevel and
>>>> ignores
>>>> everything else. The only reason the file is still /etc/inittab is for
>>>> backwards compatibility. So it doesn't use a complete inittab parser,
>>>> it
>>>> probably just scans for the first occurrence of id:?:initdefault,
>>>> completely ignoring any comment signs.
>>> While I've not read any upstart documentation to refute your assertion,
>>> I
>>> do believe that I've commented and uncommented enough since starting
>>> with
>>> F9 that I am fairly confident that there is, indeed, still the default
>>> ;
>>> as an inittab comment delimiter.
>>>> Just don't leave commented lines around.
>>> Fair enough, if that is to be the end product...but if you want to test
>>> something, and don't want to litter the system with dozens of backup
>>> inittab files and the like, commenting a line is quicker than fully
>>> editing it in and out.
>>> Probably a matter of preference, I would say.
>> Kindly be careful with your attributions....  The comments concerning
>> upstart were those of Kevin Kofler.
> Apologies...quite possibly a crop gone awry...your name *was* the one at
> the top of the quote/requote/rerequote sequence, but I may have not have
> "chopped" low down enough in the chain, or it's possible that my
> Thunderbird installation is not properly set up to properly attribute the
> most recent quote.
>> Yet the fact remains, ; had no more effect than #.  If you don't trust
>> the test that I did, you can do it yourself in order to prove it.
> My response, in the message above, was not in response to your test, but
> to Kevin's note about not leaving commented lines around.
> While I'm looking at this, though, my earlier assertion that # wouldn't
> work as a comment in inittab, at this level, would appear to be incorrect,
> as well, given that *all* of the comments at the top of the file start
> with a #.
> I'm still doing some digging.

At this point, the only other thing I can confirm, after performing Ed's
test, and then taking it a step further, is that no amount of commenting
seems to matter...the first initdefault line in the inittab is still read
to determine the default runlevel.

First, I tried it using the method Ed used...comment out the line, and
then reinput it with 3 instead of 5, below the commented line.  Rebooted,
and voila, still in runlevel 5.

Next, I moved the commented runlevel 5 line *below* the uncommented
runlevel 3 line.  Rebooted, and voila, booted up at runlevel 3.

All of this bears out both Ed's point that comments don't do anything and
my point that upstart's read of the inittab stops on the first match of

So, the (temporary?) fix for this situation appears to be that if you're
going to comment out one runlevel in order to put in another, insert the
new initdefault line *above* the commented "old" initdefault line.

On the other hand, this issue may illustrate the need for a bugzilla entry
on the issue.

Ubuntu (the distro in which I believe upstart to have been started) has
done away with the inittab, altogether, in favor of another script in
their /etc/events.d (their equivalent of Fedora's /etc/event.d) directory
that determines default runlevel.  Maybe Fedora needs to consider the

Mike Burger

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