I have compiled a custom linux kernel in BusyBox. BusyBox init does not support runlevels. When the kernel boots up in BusyBox, it first executes init which looks for the specified runlevel in /etc/inittab. BusyBox init works just fine without /etc/inittab. When no inittab is found it has the following behavior:


This part is very clear to me, but I would like to know how to manage daemons that start up networking, create serial ports, or start java processes. I have looked in the scripts that reside in /etc/init.d/ but I don't understand how to manage them. I am looking for a good tutorial or solution to control these services myself without an automated tool like buildroot. I want to understand how these scripts work and how to create devices in /dev/ (right now I only have console and ttyAM0).

2 Answers 2


For buildroot all your scripts must be placed in $path_to_buildroot/output/target/etc/init.d before build image. In my case this directory contains rcS and few scripts named S[0-99]script_name. So you can create your own start\stop script.



# Start all init scripts in /etc/init.d
# executing them in numerical order.
for i in /etc/init.d/S??* ;do

     # Ignore dangling symlinks (if any).
     [ ! -f "$i" ] && continue

     case "$i" in
        # Source shell script for speed.
        trap - INT QUIT TSTP
        set start
        . $i
        # No sh extension, so fork subprocess.
        $i start

and for example S40network:

# Start the network....

case "$1" in
    echo "Starting network..."
    /sbin/ifup -a
    echo -n "Stopping network..."
    /sbin/ifdown -a
    "$0" stop
    "$0" start
    echo $"Usage: $0 {start|stop|restart}"
    exit 1

exit $?
  • 1
    S[0-99]script_name filename syntax will run S10* before S2* and break the script.
    – Tim
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 9:01
  • 3
    @Tim not necessarily "break the script", just zero-pad. Sure S20* runs after S10*, if you want something to come before S10 you need to call it S01*, S02*, etc. NBD.
    – thom_nic
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 15:35

It's bad idea to change your fs in "target" folder. This is because changes in output/target/ do not survive the make clean command.

In buildroot manual decribed how to do it correctly

You should create dir somewhere which partly overlay file system. For example you can create dir "your-overlay" in buildroot dir where you create this struct


Then you should set path to this overlay in defconfig

System configuration > Root filesystem overlay directories


Also, the recommended path for this overlay is board/<company>/<boardname>/rootfs-overlay


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