From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Upstart logo
Original author(s) Scott James Remnant
Developer(s) Canonical Ltd.
Initial release August 24, 2006; 12 years ago (2006-08-24)
Stable release 1.13[1] / July 11, 2014; 4 years ago (2014-07-11)
Written in C
Operating system Linux
Type Init daemon
License GPLv2

Upstart is an event-based replacement for the traditional init daemon – the method by which several Unix-like computer operating systems perform tasks when the computer is started. It was written by Scott James Remnant, a former employee of Canonical Ltd.


The traditional init process was originally only responsible for bringing the computer into a normal running state after power-on, or gracefully shutting down services prior to shutdown. As a result, the design is strictly synchronous, blocking future tasks until the current one has completed. Its tasks must also be defined in advance, as they are limited to this prep or cleanup function. This leaves it unable to handle various non-startup-tasks on a modern desktop computer elegantly, including:

  • The addition or removal of USB flash drives and other portable storage / network devices while the machine is running
  • The discovery and scanning of new storage devices, without locking the system, especially when a disk may not even power on until it is scanned
  • The loading of firmware for a device, which may need to occur after it is detected but before it is usable

Upstart's event-driven model allows it to respond to events asynchronously as they are generated.[2]


Upstart operates asynchronously; it handles starting of the tasks and services during boot and stopping them during shutdown, and also supervises the tasks and services while the system is running.

Easy transition and perfect backwards compatibility with sysvinit were the explicit design goals;[3] accordingly, Upstart can run unmodified sysvinit scripts. In this way it differs from most other init replacements (beside systemd and OpenRC), which usually assume and require complete transition to run properly, and do not support a mixed environment of traditional and new startup methods.[4]

Upstart allows for extensions to its event model through the use of initctl to input custom, single events, or event bridges to integrate many or more-complicated events.[5] By default, Upstart includes bridges for socket, dbus, udev, file, and dconf events; additionally, more bridges are possible.[6]


Linux distributions and other operating systems based on the Linux kernel which use Upstart as the default init system:

  • Upstart was first included in Ubuntu in the 6.10 (Edgy Eft) release in late 2006, replacing sysvinit. Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) introduced native Upstart bootup as of Alpha 6.[7] In turn, after the Debian project decided to adopt systemd on a future release in 2014, Mark Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu would begin plans to migrate to systemd itself to maintain consistency with upstream.[8]
  • Upstart is used in Google's Chrome OS and Chromium OS.[9]

Linux distributions that support or have supported Upstart to some extent, but moved away since or no longer use it as their default init system:

See also


  1. "Upstart 1.13 released". Retrieved 2014-07-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Remnant, Scott James (2006-08-26). "Upstart in Universe". Netsplit. Retrieved 2009-09-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Upstart", Launch Pad (605007), Ubuntu<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Discussion of design and implementation of Upstart", Ubuntu Wiki, Canonical<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "The Upstart Cookbook: initctl emit". Canonical. Retrieved 26 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "The Upstart Cookbook: Bridges". Canonical. Retrieved 26 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Upstart", About, Ubuntu<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Shuttleworth, Mark. "Losing graciously". Retrieved 14 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Software Architecture: Chromium OS design documents, Google, retrieved 25 January 2014<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. The Debian technical committee vote concludes,, 2014-02-11, retrieved 2014-02-11<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Petter Reinholdtsen (2009-09-05), The future of the boot system in Debian,<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. VividVervet/ReleaseNotes, 2015-04-24<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Fedora 14 Accepted Features, 2010-07-13, retrieved 2010-07-13<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Fedora defers systemd to F15". Linux Weekly News. 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2010-09-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Deployment". Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6: Technical Notes. Red Hat. Retrieved 2013-12-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Lennart Poettering (2013-06-19), Red Hat Summit talk about systemd in RHEL 7 is now available online, Google Plus, retrieved 2013-12-31<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Tim Burke (2012-06-27), "Red Hat Enterprise Linux Roadmap Highlights" (PDF), presentation<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. OpenSUSE gets an Upstart, The H, 2010-03-26, archived from the original on 8 December 2013, retrieved 2010-04-04<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Chris von Eitzen (2011-11-16), openSUSE 12.1 arrives with systemd and Btrfs, The H, archived from the original on 20 April 2012, retrieved 2011-11-16<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Garrett, Matthew (2009-06-10), Palm Pre, retrieved 2009-07-09<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Fremantle, Maemo, retrieved 2009-08-24<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links