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I recently came across "remind" in Linux. I liked it almost immediately, but for my reminders to pop up, I needed to run 'remind' in daemon mode. Done quite simply using the following command:

remind -z -k'gmessage %s &' /home/googie/.reminders &

It would be lame for me to manually launch the 'remind' daemon every time I boot my computer (someone would have to remind me to do that!), so I thought I'll make it run automatically on boot. I was under the impression that this would be fairly straightforward to do, but I was in for a surprise.

I did the following (in this sequence):

  1. Made a script (with start, stop, restart cases), placed it in /etc/init.d, ran 'update-rc.d' to create some links for certain runlevels, restarted --- no luck
  2. Made a 'remind.conf' file, placed it in /etc/init (referring 'http://upstart.ubuntu.com/getting-started.html'), restarted --- still no luck
  3. Opened '/etc/rc.local', placed the command to start the 'remind' daemon just before 'exit 0', restarted --- still no luck
  4. Opened crontab (sudo crontab -e), wrote '@reboot' followed by the command to start the 'remind' daemon on the last line, restarted --- still no luck
  5. Opened 'System->Preferences->Startup Applications', added a new startup program with the command to start the 'remind' daemon, restarted --- still no luck
  6. Made a script in my home directory, placed the command to start the 'remind' daemon inside the script, called this script from '/etc/rc.local', restarted --- still no luck
  7. Called the script in my home directory after '@reboot' in crontab, restarted --- still no luck
  8. Called the script in my home directory using 'System->Preferences->Startup Applications' --- finally worked, and the 'remind' daemon now runs!!

So now for my 3 questions:

  1. Is it really so complicated in Linux to run something at startup, or is it just my lack of knowledge?
  2. Was trying steps 1 & 2 even advisable? I think these are used to make something a service. Isn't the 'remind' daemon a service as well?
  3. Why didn't the '/etc/rc.local' or 'crontab' approach work? Are there any logs I could check to see whats going wrong?

(any related references for me to read would be appreciated as well)

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Which distro are you using? – Kevin Apr 4 '12 at 21:09
Sorry, I should've mentioned it earlier... I'm using Ubuntu 11.04 – Gautam Apr 6 '12 at 8:35
up vote 3 down vote accepted

1) I'm afraid that it's the latter. But don't feel bad, most people trip over it.

2+3) The only ones that would have a chance of working are 5 and 8. The startup scripts and cron have no idea of your login session, so there's no way they could point remind or gmessage in the right direction. And 5 didn't work because the ampersand at the end is a feature of the shell, not the command. You likely don't even need it if the command is being run as a startup application.

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You could put this line into the startup script ~/.xinitrc of any X Window desktop.

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