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Re: kernel boot parameter : init=/bin/bash

lin q wrote:
>  I happen to find an interesting thing: if I add "init=/bin/bash" to the 
> kernel boot parameter, then Fedora Core 1 quickly boots to command line 
> bash, no GUI starts. And / is read only. And I works in single user 
> environment.
>  Then I tried changing the parameter to "init=/bin/bash, rw", but this time 
> the boot is like normal way, GUI starts, I am asked to log in, etc.
>  I wonder why it has so big difference with and without "rw"?

Whew. There's quite a lot to explain here.

In Unix-like systems, init is the first process to be run, and the
ultimate ancestor of all processes ever run. It's responsible for
running all the init scripts.

You're telling the Linux kernel to run /bin/bash as init, rather than
the system init. This means *nothing* else is running: bash doesn't know
it has to start anything. bash won't do a number of other init-type
things either, so don't expect everything to work.

Now, the kernel expects spaces to separate options on its command line,
not commas. This means that in your second example, the kernel thinks it
has two parameters, "init=/bin/bash," (*including* the comma, excluding
the quotes) and "rw".

I don't have a 2.4 kernel tree any more, and I'm not a "C" programmer,
but in 2.6.11, the kernel source file init/main.c includes these lines:
     * We try each of these until one succeeds.
     * The Bourne shell can be used instead of init if we are
     * trying to recover a really broken machine.

    if (execute_command)


    panic("No init found.  Try passing init= option to kernel.");

So the kernel looks for "/bin/bash,", doesn't find it, and tries
/sbin/init as normal. That works, and init (and Fedora) loads as usual.

Hope this helps,


E-mail address: james | ...a probably apocryphal bilingual sign in darkest
@westexe.demon.co.uk  | North Wales. In English it says "70mph" and in Welsh
                      | "slow down, sharp bend ahead".
                      |     -- Peter Corlett

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