Long-standing advice on writing van Smoorenburg rc scripts for Debian, from many sources including the Debian Policy Manual and answers on StackExchange, until now has been:

An example on which you can base your /etc/init.d scripts is found in /etc/init.d/skeleton.

Is this still the case?

1 Answer 1


No, /etc/init.d/skeleton is no more.

Advice as of 2018 is:

An example on which you can base your /etc/init.d scripts is available in the man page init-d-script(5).

systemd developer Michael Biebl and Debian maintainer of van Smoorenbug rc+init Dmitry Bogatov got together and agreed to remove /etc/init.d/skeleton. The script to use as a template (which unlike the erstwhile /etc/init.d/skeleton file does not contain tweaks to make it work on Debian FreeBSD) is now the one that is in the manual.

Note that the Debian template itself changed several years ago, back in 2014. It is now structured far more like an rc script in Mewburn rc or OpenBSD rc, with a shell function library doing most of the work and the main rc script content comprising little more than a series of variable assignments in simple cases.

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