Ok, I apologize for the extremely noobish question here. I'm trying to wrap my mind around administering a headless Linux server.

As I'm doing the initial setup, I'm managing it via IPMI so I can watch the boot up process, mount install images, etc. However, once the initial setup is done, I plan to administer it over SSH. I have some experience doing that, and it makes sense to me.

I'm just having trouble understanding what happens if the machine needs to reboot, for example. I assume it will boot my OS, reach the localhost login: prompt and sit there forever. Will daemons like sshd even be initialized before a user logs in? In the event of a reboot will I have to make sure I have IPMI access to login and start these services? This question is so basic I feel kind of ridiculous for posting it, but I can't seem to find any explanation.

  • It might help to answer your question if you specify the distribution and init system you use.
    – Lucas
    Apr 15, 2016 at 4:03
  • I'm currently running CentOS 7. I'm sorry, I don't really know what you mean by init system. Are we talking systemd, upstart, and the like?
    – Dominic P
    Apr 15, 2016 at 5:59
  • Yes that's what I mean by init system.
    – Lucas
    Apr 15, 2016 at 7:05
  • 1
    I know you've already got an answer - but this link explains the startup process so may help. The key is that the process which is asking for a login is just another piece of software started by the init system. The init system is the one which does all the work bringing everything up. Apr 15, 2016 at 7:46
  • Lucas, I believe the default in CentOS is systemd (which I haven't changed). EightBitTony, thanks for the link and explanation, that really helps clear things up for me. I'd be happy to up vote it if you wanted to make it an answer.
    – Dominic P
    Apr 15, 2016 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


Yes, it'll remain on the login screen indefinitely unless it's set otherwise (I've never seen anything else happen). If you have the sshd configured to start at boot, which I think is almost always the case by default, you shouldn't have to manually start it.


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