Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am new to Linux & looking forward to start application (which toggles a led every 10 sec). I have written the application program & it is working fine but now I want to start it automatically on boot.

The documentation here says to copy the startup script to the /etc/init.d directory and make a symbolic link to the copied script in the rc.d directory.

What should be the extension and name of these script files? Can we manually add the symbolic link in rc.d or is there some specific procedure for this?

Any suggestion how to achieve it?

share|improve this question
The preferred way to add an init script to startup varies by distros. Some are even phasing them out in favor of upstart and systemd. I wouldn't recommend simply using "&" to background, as something like Debian's start-stop-daemon handles it better (although it preferable the program itself daemonizes). What distro are you using? Outside of desktop MIME types, file extensions are meaningless in *nix and its preferred that executables don't have one. – jordanm Nov 28 '12 at 4:54
If you are using petalogix, just follow that documentation - no special names required, just do as they say. Did you try it? What problems are you having? (If not, please specify your distro and explain what doesn't work with what you tried.) – Mat Nov 28 '12 at 5:14
I am using Debian “wheezy” for RPi. – gorge Nov 28 '12 at 6:12
if you need to do it approximately every 10 seconds (i.e. not 10 seconds sharp), you might want to use cron instead. – peterph Nov 28 '12 at 10:08
@peterph: but it sounds like the program toggles the LED every 10 seconds, not a program that is executed every 10 seconds. – Zorawar Nov 28 '12 at 13:47

Here's the excerpt from http://www.debian-administration.org/articles/28 which seems to answer your question.

Note: In the example script below just add a call to the "start)" section to actually launch your program. You can test the script's functionality without rebooting the system: call it with the full path and giving it a parameter of "start" or "stop"

Here goes:

Debian uses a Sys-V like init system for executing commands when the system runlevel changes - for example at bootup and shutdown time.

If you wish to add a new service to start when the machine boots you should add the necessary script to the directory /etc/init.d/. Many of the scripts already present in that directory will give you an example of the kind of things that you can do.

Here's a very simple script which is divided into two parts, code which always runs, and code which runs when called with "start" or "stop".

#! /bin/sh
# /etc/init.d/blah

# Some things that run always
touch /var/lock/blah

# Carry out specific functions when asked to by the system
case "$1" in
    echo "Starting script blah "
    echo "Could do more here"
    echo "Stopping script blah"
    echo "Could do more here"
    echo "Usage: /etc/init.d/blah {start|stop}"
    exit 1

exit 0

Once you've saved your file into the correct location make sure that it's executable by running "chmod 755 /etc/init.d/blah".

Then you need to add the appropriate symbolic links to cause the script to be executed when the system goes down, or comes up.

The simplest way of doing this is to use the Debian-specific command update-rc.d:

root@skx:~# update-rc.d blah defaults
 Adding system startup for /etc/init.d/blah ...
   /etc/rc0.d/K20blah -> ../init.d/blah
   /etc/rc1.d/K20blah -> ../init.d/blah
   /etc/rc6.d/K20blah -> ../init.d/blah
   /etc/rc2.d/S20blah -> ../init.d/blah
   /etc/rc3.d/S20blah -> ../init.d/blah
   /etc/rc4.d/S20blah -> ../init.d/blah
   /etc/rc5.d/S20blah -> ../init.d/blah
share|improve this answer
do I have to actually place this script in etc/init.d/ or does the line at the top, # /etc/init.d/blah, indicate a location to the shell? – user137717 Jun 29 at 14:54

The best way is to check package source of your distribution for a regular system service, e.g. for OpenSSH - you'll see what the good practices are. After all, one of the reasons behind open-source is to be able to learn from the sources.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.