17.1. Analyzing a System Script

Using our knowledge of administrative commands, let us examine a system script. One of the shortest and simplest to understand scripts is "killall," [1] used to suspend running processes at system shutdown.

Example 17-12. killall, from /etc/rc.d/init.d


# --> Comments added by the author of this document marked by "# -->".

# --> This is part of the 'rc' script package
# --> by Miquel van Smoorenburg, <miquels@drinkel.nl.mugnet.org>.

# --> This particular script seems to be Red Hat / FC specific
# --> (may not be present in other distributions).

#  Bring down all unneeded services that are still running
#+ (there shouldn't be any, so this is just a sanity check)

for i in /var/lock/subsys/*; do
        # --> Standard for/in loop, but since "do" is on same line,
        # --> it is necessary to add ";".
        # Check if the script is there.
        [ ! -f $i ] && continue
        # --> This is a clever use of an "and list", equivalent to:
        # --> if [ ! -f "$i" ]; then continue

        # Get the subsystem name.
        # --> Match variable name, which, in this case, is the file name.
        # --> This is the exact equivalent of subsys=`basename $i`.
        # -->  It gets it from the lock file name
        # -->+ (if there is a lock file,
        # -->+ that's proof the process has been running).
        # -->  See the "lockfile" entry, above.

        # Bring the subsystem down.
        if [ -f /etc/rc.d/init.d/$subsys.init ]; then
           /etc/rc.d/init.d/$subsys.init stop
           /etc/rc.d/init.d/$subsys stop
        # -->  Suspend running jobs and daemons.
        # -->  Note that "stop" is a positional parameter,
        # -->+ not a shell builtin.

That wasn't so bad. Aside from a little fancy footwork with variable matching, there is no new material there.

Exercise 1. In /etc/rc.d/init.d, analyze the halt script. It is a bit longer than killall, but similar in concept. Make a copy of this script somewhere in your home directory and experiment with it (do not run it as root). Do a simulated run with the -vn flags (sh -vn scriptname). Add extensive comments. Change the commands to echos.

Exercise 2. Look at some of the more complex scripts in /etc/rc.d/init.d. Try to understand at least portions of them. Follow the above procedure to analyze them. For some additional insight, you might also examine the file sysvinitfiles in /usr/share/doc/initscripts-?.??, which is part of the "initscripts" documentation.



The killall system script should not be confused with the killall command in /usr/bin.