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I type the following command in my ubuntu 14.04 VM running on top of virtualbox:

$uname -a
Linux rex-VirtualBox 4.2.0-42-generic #49~14.04.1-Ubuntu SMP Wed Jun 29 20:22:11 UTC 2016 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

$runlevel 
N 2

Based on this article, http://www.pathbreak.com/blog/ubuntu-startup-init-scripts-runlevels-upstart-jobs-explained

run level 2 is explained as:

Does not configure network interfaces and does not export networks services

I am booting my ubuntu VM without any boot option modifications and i can access the internet. Why is the run level 2?

  • The answer from @muru is correct. In addition, the line after the chart from the article you linked, says this, "In Ubuntu (and Debian), run levels 2 to 5 are equivalent and configured with the same set of services." – Timothy Martin Feb 14 '17 at 2:21
3

As the article you link to says in huge characters before the table, that's the traditional mechanism. In Upstart, runlevels 2-5 are the same in the default configuration:

4.7 Runlevels

A runlevel is a single-byte name for a particular system configuration. Runlevels for Debian and Ubuntu systems are generally as follows:

  • 0 : System halt.
  • 1 : Single-User mode.
  • 2 : Graphical multi-user plus networking (DEFAULT)
  • 3 : Same as "2", but not used.
  • 4 : Same as "2", but not used.
  • 5 : Same as "2", but not used.
  • 6 : System reboot.

There are also a few pseudo-runlevels:

  • N : The previous runlevel cannot be determined.
  • S : Alias for Single-User mode.

The runlevel is 2 because it is the default.

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