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Original author(s) Roy Marples
Developer(s) OpenRC Developers
Initial release 5 April 2007; 10 years ago (2007-04-05)
Stable release
0.27 / 8 June 2017; 10 days ago (2017-06-08)[1]
Written in C[2]
Operating system Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, TrueOS
Size ~900 KB
Type Init daemon
License 2-clause BSD license

On Unix-like systems, OpenRC is a dependency-based init. Since 0.25 OpenRC includes openrc-init, which can replace /sbin/init

OpenRC is the default init system of Gentoo, Alpine Linux and other Linux distributions, which means that the software packages and daemons of those distributions support it, coming with or using the available scripts. As well as Linux, OpenRC can also be used on several BSD systems. It was created by a NetBSD developer, who started the Gentoo/FreeBSD project. TrueOS, a FreeBSD based system is also using OpenRC as its default in its default configuration.[3]

OpenRC provides the following features:

  • Portable to non-Linux
  • Parallel service startup (optional, in development)[4]
  • Dependency based boot-up
  • Process segregation through cgroups
  • Per-service resource limits (ulimit)
  • Separation of code and configuration (init.d / conf.d)
  • Easily extensible startup scripts customizable by users
  • Ability to include an unlimited variety of commands beyond basic "start, stop, and status"
  • 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
  • Proper integration into container/virtualization (Linux-VServer, OpenVZ, etc.)[5]
  • Proper modular architecture and separation of optional components (Cron, syslog)
  • Expressive and flexible network handling (including VPN, bridges, etc.)
  • Support for bare-metal bare-dependency servers[6][7]
  • Verbose debug mode


  1. ^ "openrc-0.27". Retrieved June 8, 2017. 
  2. ^ "openrc", Analysis Summary, Ohloh, retrieved 2012-03-10 
  3. ^ "4. Post Installation Configuration — TrueOS® User Guide". Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  4. ^ Parallel startup in OpenRC was disabled by default due to bug 391945 (boot can hang when rc_parallel=yes)
  5. ^ OpenRC
  6. ^ gentoo-embedded post, 29 Jul 2011
  7. ^ Using Mdev on Gentoo

External links[edit]