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07 September 2009, 11:27

Debian switches to Upstart

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Upstart logo The Debian boot system maintainers have announced plans to switch to the newer Upstart boot system in the forthcoming version 6 (Squeeze). As Petter Reinholdtsen explains in his email, the traditional, sequential System-V init no longer fits with Linux' event-based system architecture. This can lead to a range of problems particularly during hardware detection. Since the kernel no longer blocks processing during hardware initialisation, problems can arise with USB disks, for example, when the kernel may try to mount the partition before the device is available. There is, however, a hitch, in that the Linux Standard Base (LSB) requires support for System-V style init scripts, so any solution must, to be LSB compatible, also process System-V init scripts.

The development team therefore plans to modify Upstart, which is already used in Ubuntu and Fedora, to work with all init scripts. From the user's point of view the switch to Upstart should make no visible difference. The Debian development team plans to make the early boot phases event-based in Squeeze resolving the most urgent and fundamental boot problems. Subsequent Debian releases will take this change further into the later boot phases.


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