As far as I understand the shutdown command: If I send a shutdown -h now init will try and stop all processes gracefully, wait a certain amount of time, then send kill -9.

My question is: how long will init wait, and how do I configure this length of time? I have a mysql server that can take up to 15 minutes to stop gracefully, and I want to be sure that init doesn't try and kill -9 it.

From reading the man page, at first glance it looks like the -t flag is what I'm looking for, however, reading in a bit more detail this flag actually specifies the delay between sending the shutdown command and init trying to stop all processes gracefully.

OS is CentOS 6, but interested in Debian 7 as well.

  • I don't have a citation (thus a comment, rather than an answer), but I believe this is not configurable by design. Well behaved processes should not take 15 minutes to terminate upon being instructed to do so. Perhaps your database is misconfigured or overloaded? – dimo414 May 6 '16 at 6:21

You can specify the time after which you need to shutdown as mentioned here.

shutdown -h +15 "Waiting for graceful shutdown of mysql server"


I used the below script in one of the machines to check if the script is getting killed.

while true; do sleep 999999; done

The process was not killed and it was there.

  • As your link clearly states, -h specifies "when to shutdown", not the delay between kill and kill -9. – dimo414 May 6 '16 at 6:18

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