From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Original author(s)Roy Marples
Developer(s)OpenRC Developers
Initial release5 April 2007; 15 years ago (2007-04-05)
Stable release
0.45.2 / 3 July 2022; 8 months ago (2022-07-03)[1]
Written inC,[2] Shell
Operating systemLinux, FreeBSD, NetBSD
Size~900 KB
TypeInit daemon
License2-clause BSD license

OpenRC is a dependency-based init system for Unix-like computer operating systems. It was created by Roy Marples, a NetBSD developer who was also active in the Gentoo project.[3][4] It became more broadly adopted as an init system outside of Gentoo following the decision by some Linux distributions not to adopt systemd.[5][6][7]

OpenRC booting Artix Linux
Booting process


OpenRC is the default init system and/or process supervisor for:

OpenRC is an available init system and/or process supervisor for:


OpenRC is made up of several modular components, the main ones being an init (optional), the core dependency management system and a daemon supervisor (optional). It is written in C and POSIX-compliant shell, making it usable on BSD and Linux systems.

The core part of OpenRC handles dependency management and init script parsing. OpenRC works by scanning the runlevels, building a dependency graph, then starting the needed service scripts. It exits once the scripts have been started. By default, OpenRC uses a modified version of start-stop-daemon for daemon management.[9]

Init scripts share similarities with scripts used in sysvinit, but offer several features to simplify their creation. Scripts are assumed to have start(), stop() and status(); and the system uses variables already declared to create the default functions.[10] The depend function is used to declare dependencies to other services that would be done with LSB headers in sysvinit. Configuration and mechanism are separated with configuration files in the conf.d directory and init files in the init.d directory.

Openrc-init first appeared in version 0.25 as an optional replacement for /sbin/init. Several other inits are supported, including sysvinit and Busybox.[11]

Supervise-daemon first appeared in version 0.21 giving OpenRC supervision capabilities. It can be enabled in the init script for supervise-daemon to start and monitor a daemon. Several other daemon supervisors are supported, including runit[12] and s6.[13]


  • Portable between Linux, FreeBSD, and NetBSD
  • Parallel service startup (off by default)
  • Dependency-based boot-up
  • Process segregation through cgroups[14]
  • Per-service resource limits (ulimit)
  • Separation of code and configuration (init.d / conf.d)
  • Extensible startup scripts
  • Stateful init scripts (is it started already?)
  • Complex init scripts to start multiple components (Samba [smbd and nmbd], NFS [nfsd, portmap, etc.])
  • Automatic dependency calculation and service ordering
  • Modular architecture and separation of optional components (cron, syslog)
  • Expressive and flexible network handling (including VPN, bridges, etc.)
  • Verbose debug mode


  1. ^ "openrc-0.45.2". Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  2. ^ "openrc", Analysis Summary, Ohloh, retrieved 2012-03-10
  3. ^ "History". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Developers". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Manjaro OpenRC 0.8.13 - reinventing init without systemd". DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 612. 1 June 2015. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  6. ^ "5 Differences Between TrueOS & Linux". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Improving TrueOS: OpenRC". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Devuan ASCII 2.0.0 stable release". Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  9. ^ "user guide". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  10. ^ "service script guide". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  11. ^ OpenRC
  12. ^ "runit guide". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  13. ^ "s6 Guide". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  14. ^ "CGroups Support". Retrieved 5 April 2020.