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During boot a series of predetermined daemons (such as dbus, hal, network) are started. Whenever I'm not connected to an Ethernet cable the network service will obviously fail, but before failing it stalls the boot process for something around 20 seconds.

I'm probably asking too much, but it would be great to be able to manually force cancel the initialization of the network daemon (maybe by pressing some key). This way I could cancel it whenever the network cable isn't plugged, and avoid having to wait an extra minute or so.

Is that possible?
I don't want to just remove network from boot permanently.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can interrupt a particular startup script that is hanging with control-C. This won't abort the whole startup sequence. There might be more than one service that hangs, so you might need to hit control-C a few times. Don't lean on the key, just interrupt services as they hang until you get a login prompt.

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