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LPI exam 201 prep: System startup

Intermediate Level Administration (LPIC-2) topic 202

David Mertz, Developer, Gnosis Software
David Mertz
David Mertz is Turing complete, but probably would not pass the Turing Test. For more on his life, see his personal Web page. He's been writing the developerWorks columns Charming Python and XML Matters since 2000. Check out his book Text Processing in Python.

Summary:  In this tutorial, David Mertz begins continues you to take the Linux Professional Institute® Intermediate Level Administration (LPIC-2) Exam 201. In this second of eight tutorials, you learn the steps a Linux™ system goes through during system initialization, and how to modify and customize those behaviors for your specific needs.

View more content in this series

Date:  31 Aug 2005
Level:  Intermediate PDF:  A4 and Letter (226 KB | 12 pages)Get Adobe® Reader®

Activity:  63090 views

Before you start

Learn what these tutorials can teach you and how you can get the most from them.

About this series

The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certifies Linux system administrators at junior and intermediate levels. To attain each level of certification, you must pass two LPI exams.

Each exam covers several topics, and each topic has a weight. The weights indicate the relative importance of each topic. Very roughly, expect more questions on the exam for topics with higher weight. The topics and their weights for LPI exam 201 are:

Topic 201
Linux kernel (weight 5).
Topic 202
System startup (weight 5). The focus of this tutorial.
Topic 203
File systems (weight 10).
Topic 204
Hardware (weight 8).
Topic 209
File and service sharing (weight 8).
Topic 211
System maintenance (weight 4).
Topic 213
System customization and automation (weight 3).
Topic 214
Troubleshooting (weight 6).

The Linux Professional Institute does not endorse any third-party exam preparation material or techniques in particular. For details, please contact

About this tutorial

Welcome to "System startup," the second of eight tutorials designed to prepare you for LPI exam 201. In this tutorial, you will learn the steps a Linux system goes through during system initialization and how to modify and customize those behaviors for your specific needs.

The tutorial is organized according to the LPI objectives for this topic, as follows:

2.201.1 Customizing system startup and boot processes (weight 2)
You will learn to edit appropriate system startup scripts to customize standard system run levels and boot processes. This objective includes interacting with run levels and creating custom initrd images as needed.
2.201.2 System recovery (weight 3)
You will be able to properly manipulate a Linux system during the boot process and during recovery mode. This objective includes using both the init utility and init= kernel options.

This tutorial is at the border of Linux, strictly speaking. The previous tutorial (on topic 201) addressed the kernel, which is the core of Linux. This tutorial moves on to the ancillary tools and scripts that are necessary to get the kernel running and to initialize a system to the point where it does something meaningful. Note that the scripts and tools associated with initialization are maintained by the creators of Linux distributions or individualized by system administrators rather than developed as part of the Linux kernel per se. Still, every Linux system -- even an embedded one -- requires some basic initialization steps. We'll review those steps here.

In later tutorials, we'll look at a variety of tools for networking, system maintenance, manipulating files and data, and so on, which are important for a working Linux installation and part of almost every Linux distribution, but are even less part of Linux per se than are initialization scripts.


To get the most from this tutorial, you should already have a basic knowledge of Linux and a working Linux system on which you can practice the commands covered in this tutorial.

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TutorialTitle=LPI exam 201 prep: System startup