Boot and Init track

Whether you work on utilities, libraries, compiler, or kernel, seeing the login prompt is a key milestone. This is especially the case when making a change that affects the boot-time operation of multiple components. Boot-time and initialization issues are therefore an important topic for the Linux Plumbers Conference.

We are fortunate to have Dave Jones, codemonkey extraordinaire, and one of the forces behind the Fedora projects, and author of “Why Userspace Sucks” running the “Boot and Init” microconference. Dave has come through for us, selecting an important set of topics.

Dave’s first selection is “Lazy Boot” by Kyle McMartin. Kyle asks some forehead-slappingly important questions about the boot process, including “why do we need to load sound drivers before we have a filesystem mounted read-write?”, “why do we need CUPS running without any printers attached?”, and “if if you do have a printer, why do you need it before your network is up?” In general, “when is the appropriate time to start system services?” With some luck, this line of reasoning will result in further decreases in Linux’s boot time.

Dave’s second selection is “Upstart 1.0” by Scott James Remnant. Upstart is an event-driven replacement for the long-in-tooth System-V init utility that makes use of Linux innovations, including D-Bus. Among Upstart’s many features is the ability to respawn services that die unexpectedly, which should provide an even greater level of resilience to the Linux experience.

Dave’s final selection is “Dracut — A Generic ‘initramfs’ Infrastructure” by Harald Hoyer. Traditional experiences with debugging and improving the initramfs process have been less than pleasant, which has motivated Harald to develop a modular event-driven initramfs process that works seamlessly across distros. Dracut promises to ease changes to Linux’s boot and initialization.

Proposals for this track

* Dracut - a generic initramfs infrastructure

Introduction of a new initramfs generation tool, which creates a general purpose udev event based initramfs.
Boot and Init 06/16/2009
Harald Hoyer

* Lazy boot

The moral of the story is, we still load too much stuff, and it takes too long to do it. Users (and developers) want time to go down, while things continue to get more complicated. How can we sort that out?
Boot and Init 06/15/2009
kyle mcmartin

* Upstart 1.0

Presenting Upstart 1.0
Boot and Init 06/16/2009
Scott James Remnant