Fast init for Linux systems

Finit: A fast init for Linux

Finit is a simple alternative to SysV init and systemd, reverse engineered from the EeePC fastinit ten years ago by Claudio Matsuoka — “gaps filled with frog DNA …”

Finit supports runlevels, process monitoring, and starting services on demand using the built-in inetd, or by triggering a condition. E.g., “don’t start this service until basic networking is available”, or “wait until syslogd has started”.

For more details, see the online documentation.


TroglOS provides an example of how to boot an embedded system with Finit, as well as extend it with plugins, or replace any default plugin. TroglOS use an plugin to handle uninitialized flash:

Finit Screenshot

For more examples, including sample configurations for Debian, Void, and Alpine Linux, see the GitHub finit/contrib/ section.


The following is an example of /etc/finit.conf. It can be split up in per-service .conf files in /etc/finit.d/, useful for distributions and to simplify changing service configuration at runtime.

# /etc/finit.conf - System bootstrap for TroglOS

# System hostname is set from /etc/hostname
#host default

# Default runlevel is 2
#runlevel 2

# Launch bootstrap 'S' services
service [S12345] /sbin/watchdogd -T 16 -t 2 -F /dev/watchdog      -- System watchdog daemon
service [S12345] /sbin/syslogd -n -b 3 -D                         -- System log daemon
service [S12345] /sbin/klogd -n                                   -- Kernel log daemon

# Services must not daemonize themselves, look for -n, --foreground or
# similar switches to prevent them from forking to the background
#service :1 [2345] <net/eth1/up>       /sbin/dropbear -R -F -p 22  -- SSH daemon (LAN)
#service :2  [345] <net/route/default> /sbin/dropbear -R -F -p 222 -- SSH daemon (WAN)
#service    [2345]                     /sbin/telnetd -F            -- Telnet daemon

# Finit understands /etc/network/interfaces on Debian/BusyBox systems
# on other systems you can use the `network SCRIPT` stanza or a simple
# run or task stanza to run the necessary scripts.
#network /etc/init.d/networking

# System patch or extension scripts, see run-parts(8), built-in support in Finit.
# You can also use /etc/rc.local for smaller things.
#runparts /mnt/start.d

# Inetd services
# Allow telnet on standard port only if not from WAN (eth0)
# Allow telnet onport 2323 from WAN (don't do this kids)
# Built-in rdate service also available on custom port 3737, notice internal.time
inetd ftp/tcp              nowait [2345] /sbin/uftpd -i -f       -- FTP daemon
inetd tftp/udp               wait [2345] /sbin/uftpd -i -y       -- TFTP daemon
inetd time/udp               wait [2345] internal                -- UNIX rdate service
inetd time/tcp             nowait [2345] internal                -- UNIX rdate service
inetd 3737/tcp             nowait [2345] internal.time           -- UNIX rdate service
#inetd 2323/tcp@eth0       nowait [2345] /sbin/telnetd -i -F     -- Telnet daemon (WAN)
inetd telnet/tcp@*,!eth0   nowait [2345] /sbin/telnetd -i -F     -- Telnet daemon (LAN)
inetd 222/tcp@eth0         nowait [2345] /sbin/dropbear -i -R -F -- SSH daemon (WAN)
inetd ssh/tcp@*,!eth0      nowait [2345] /sbin/dropbear -i -R -F -- SSH daemon (LAN)

# Allow login on ttyUSB0, for systems with no dedicated console port
tty [12345] /dev/ttyAMA0 115200 vt100 noclear
tty  [2345] /dev/ttyUSB0 115200 vt100 noclear

# Systems using a serial console can use this arch. neutral variant
#tty [12345] @console 115200 linux noclear

Finit configuration files in /etc/finit.d/ are monitored for changes, if file is changed and the user calls initctl reload, that program is reloaded (SIGHUP:ed, or stop-started depending on the <!> in the service declaration.).


The familiar shutdown, reboot, poweroff, and halt commands are provided by Finit, as is the traditional telinit command. In addition to that there is also the more modern initctl tool:

~ $ initctl status -v
1       running  476     [S12345----]  /sbin/watchdog -T 16 -t 2 -F /dev/watchdog
2       running  477     [S12345----]  /sbin/syslogd -n -b 3 -D
3       running  478     [S12345----]  /sbin/klogd -n
4:1       inetd  0       [--2345----]  internal time allow *:37
4:2       inetd  0       [--2345----]  internal time allow *:37
4:3       inetd  0       [--2345----]  internal 3737 allow *:3737
5:1       inetd  0       [--2345----]  /sbin/telnetd allow *:23 deny eth0,eth1
6:1       inetd  0       [---345----]  /sbin/dropbear allow eth0:222
6:2       inetd  0       [---345----]  /sbin/dropbear allow *:22 deny eth0

For details, see the documentation and the online help -h to each tool.


This project is the continuation of the original finit by Claudio Matsuoka, which was reverse engineered from syscalls of the EeePC fastinit daemon.

Please file bug reports, clone it, or send pull requests for bug fixes and proposed extensions using GitHub:

See also the Free(code) page.