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One of my processes is failing to start fairly early in the boot process (I suspect mdadm and I suspect that it's just taking longer than the rc script allows for) but I can't quite catch/see it during boot and Arch clears the screen before the login prompt appears. Does Arch keep any logs of the init process that might show or is there any way to see what was on the screen before it clears or keep it from clearing the screen?

update I'm really talking about the rc scripts and output to the screen... This does not actually translate to things sent to the system logs or errors output by daemons unfortunately. Gentoo had a special log just for the boot output, but it wasn't enabled by default, I'm hoping Arch has something similar.

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3 Answers

tsv is right. There are, however, a number of other ways to disable clearing of boot messages described on the Arch Wiki.

I append this line to my /etc/rc.local:

read -t5 -n1

which pauses the output until a keypress. Then it is simply a matter of un/commenting the line as and when you need to diagnose boot issues.

If you are looking to print this to a file, there was a recent discussion on the Arch boards about this, with the conclusion that setterm was the best approach.

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If you add a -i option to the getty command in /etc/inittab this will stop the screen from clearing. So try something like:

c1:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -i -8 38400 tty1 linux
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/var/log/messages would be the first place to look. /var/log/dmesg and the dmesg command could also be helpful. RC scripts also have their own separate log files, such as Apache, SSH, Postfix, etc. Check under /var/log for the right log file based on the utility that is having trouble starting.

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not really useful unfortunately... I know gentoo had a log that wasn't enabled by default for logging this kind of stuff... though basically whatever was put out to the screen... which might not have been from a daemon... the apache rc script for example does not have a seperate log file... the apache daemon has one though... the rc script simply starts that daemon... but the daemon can start and the script still fail. –  xenoterracide Aug 19 '10 at 9:28
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