Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have what I consider to be a pretty simple script that I want to run on startup, however I'm pretty new to init.d scripts, and maybe there is a better way to do this in general.

Basically I want my script to run when the system starts, so I have a ruby script, which I've moved to /usr/bin, and named just consumer

For the sake of brevity say it looked like this, but actually did something:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby

# just example code
puts "do stuff"

Then I have my init.d script placed in /etc/init.d and named just consumer.

# Provides:          consumer
# Required-Start:    $remote_fs $syslog
# Required-Stop:     $remote_fs $syslog
# Default-Start:     2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop:      0 1 6
# Short-Description: Start daemon at boot time
# Description:       Enable service provided by daemon.

# /etc/init.d/consumer

# Some things that run always
touch /var/lock/consumer

# Carry out specific functions when asked to by the system
case "$1" in
    echo "Starting Consumer"
    consumer &
    echo "Consumer started successfully."
    echo "Stopping Consumer"
    echo "Nothing happened..."
    echo "Usage: /etc/init.d/consumer {start|stop}"
    exit 1

exit 0

Now if I save this file and I just run sudo /etc/init.d/consumer start, it works perfect! It starts and gives me the desired output. So then I run:

$ sudo update-rc.d consumer defaults
Adding system startup for /etc/init.d/consumer ...
  /etc/rc0.d/K20consumer -> ../init.d/consumer
  /etc/rc1.d/K20consumer -> ../init.d/consumer
  /etc/rc6.d/K20consumer -> ../init.d/consumer
  /etc/rc2.d/S20consumer -> ../init.d/consumer
  /etc/rc3.d/S20consumer -> ../init.d/consumer
  /etc/rc4.d/S20consumer -> ../init.d/consumer
  /etc/rc5.d/S20consumer -> ../init.d/consumer

But when rebooting the system my script never gets started, any ideas? I'm not sure what action to take next. I've adjusted all the scripts permissions to 775, and made sure root owned them all as well.

Any help would be hugely helpful.

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Doing "consumer &" will simply background the task and go on. If the owning shell terminates, it will terminate any background tasks. You say the script works on command line, but your daemon won't survive if you log out?

You want to start your daemon with something like start-stop-daemon.

EDIT: actually, on reading your text again, I'm not sure if consumer is a daemon at all? If you just want to run some code on startup (e.g. housecleaning), you write a line in /etc/rc.local.

If the script takes a long time to run, you may want to disown it. I.e:

consumer &
disown %1

The script will now survive the shell termination. Note tho, that if the shell outputs text, it will retain the same tty, which may cause problems, depending on what happens to it after its owning shell terminates.

share|improve this answer
Well I guess its not a daemon, it's really just a script that loops, but I want it to do so forever, and ideally I should devise some way to make this a proper program that I can monitor. I'm sort of new to this sort of programming as I come from the web development world, any thoughts? – JP Silvashy Apr 17 '11 at 22:05
You're doing fine. If it is a sheel script, you may want to have a look at the trap command. It allows you to react to signals. Typically interesting signals is 1) HUP, which means the script should reread its config and rotate any files it has open, 2) TERM which means someone is trying to shutdown your script, and 3) USR1,USR2 which means your script should perform some action meaningful to its context, e.g. stop sleeping and doing its job. – Bittrance Apr 18 '11 at 9:50

Try specifying the full path to consumer. I would suspect that it isn't in the default path at that point, hence it's failing to execute it.

share|improve this answer

If you are using Ubuntu, try using this:

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.