Boot Ubuntu into Runlevel 3

I have servers that I like to boot into runlevel 3 with. Here’s how in Ubuntu from a regular desktop install.

I guess I should clarify.

First of all, I kind of accidently installed gnome on my firewall. I got the alternate cd and just clicked on install – not install text only. I don’t really care – I have the disk space. I could reinstall, but nah. What I don’t want to do is run in level 2. I’d rather boot into text since 99% of the time that’s all I’ll use. If I ever do need gnome or X I can always startx.

Naturally, I went to /etc/inittab (which didn’t exist before) and created the following:


This was fairly stupid of me. Since Edgy, Ubuntu has been into this upstart thing which actually kicks ass. The above did actually work (it boots into level 3) but a better way would have been to modify the script in /etc/events.d/ which handles all the old inittab stuff.

So we’re done, right? No way jose, cuz in ubuntu, runlevel 3 happens to look a heck of a lot like runlevel 2.

So go into /etc/rc3.d/. These are links to your sysV /etc/init.d/ scripts. You should see a lot of Sxxblah links. The ‘S’ stands for start and the number stands for the order things are run. To not start these, you probably want to move some things (like gdm, X, your nvidia drivers) to start with a ‘K’ for kill. The number can probably stay the same, since that’s just the order that things are executed in. So something like:

# mv S10xserver-xorg-input-wacom K10xserver-xorg-input-wacom
# mv S13gdm K13gdm
# mv S20nvidia-kernel K20nvidia-kernel

You can probably move a lot of these. I’m probably not using bluetooth on my server, for example. If you ever do happen to need it, just change to runlevel 2 with init.

Next time you boot, you should now get a text login. Good job.

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