Manual browser: rc.conf(5)

RC.CONF(5) File Formats Manual RC.CONF(5)


rc.confsystem startup configuration file


The rc.conf file specifies which services are enabled during system startup by the startup scripts invoked by /etc/rc (see rc(8)), and the shutdown scripts invoked by /etc/rc.shutdown. The rc.conf file is a shell script that is sourced by rc(8), meaning that rc.conf must contain valid shell commands.

Listed below are the standard rc.conf variables that may be set, the values to which each may be set, a brief description of what each variable does, and a reference to relevant manual pages. Third party packages may test for additional variables.

By default, rc.conf reads /etc/defaults/rc.conf (if it is readable) to obtain default values for various variables, and the end-user may override these by appending appropriate entries to the end of rc.conf.

rc.d(8) scripts that use load_rc_config from rc.subr(8) also support sourcing an optional end-user provided per-script override file /etc/rc.conf.d/service, (where service is the contents of the name variable in the rc.d(8) script). This may contain variable overrides, including allowing the end-user to override various run_rc_command rc.d(8) control variables, and thus changing the operation of the script without requiring editing of the script.

Variable naming conventions and data types

Most variables are one of two types: enabling variables or flags variables. Enabling variables, such as inetd, are generally named after the program or the system they enable, and have boolean values (specified using ‘YES’, ‘TRUE’, ‘ON’ or ‘1’ for true, and ‘NO’, ‘FALSE’, ‘OFF’ or ‘0’ for false, with the values being case insensitive). Flags variables, such as inetd_flags have the same name with "_flags" appended, and determine what arguments are passed to the program if it is enabled.

If a variable that rc(8) expects to be set is not set, or the value is not one of the allowed values, a warning will be printed.

Overall control

Boolean value. If false, shutdown(8) will not run /etc/rc.shutdown.
A string. Extra arguments to the rcorder(8) run by /etc/rc.shutdown.
A number. If non-blank, use this as the number of seconds to run a watchdog timer for which will terminate /etc/rc.shutdown if the timer expires before the shutdown script completes.
Boolean value. If false then the system will drop into single-user mode during boot.
If set to a non-empty string, each script in /etc/rc.d will be executed in the current shell rather than a sub shell. This may be faster on slow machines that have an expensive fork(2) operation.
Use this at your own risk! A rogue command or script may inadvertently prevent boot to multiuser.
A string. Extra arguments to the rcorder(8) run by /etc/rc.
A string. Space separated list of directories searched for rc scripts. The default is /etc/rc.d. All directories in rc_directories must be located in the root filesystem, otherwise they will be silently skipped.
Boolean value. If true then the usual output is suppressed, and rc(8) invokes the command specified in the rc_silent_cmd variable once for each line of suppressed output. The default value of rc_silent is set from the AB_SILENT flag in the kernel's boothowto variable (see boot(8), reboot(2)).
A command to be executed once per line of suppressed output, when rc_silent is true. The default value of rc_silent_cmd is “twiddle”, which will display a spinning symbol instead of each line of output. Another useful value is “:”, which will display nothing at all.

Basic network configuration

A string. Default IPv4 network route. If empty or not set, then the contents of /etc/mygate (if it exists) are used.
A string. Default IPv6 network route. If empty or not set, then the contents of /etc/mygate6 (if it exists) are used.
A string. NIS (YP) domain of host. If empty or not set, then the contents of /etc/defaultdomain (if it exists) are used.
A space separated list of interface names. These interfaces will be configured down when going from multiuser to singleuser mode or on system shutdown.

This is important for some stateful interfaces, for example PPP over ISDN connections that cost money by connection time or PPPoE interfaces which have no direct means of noticing “disconnect” events.

All active pppoe(4) and ippp(4) interfaces will be automatically added to this list.

A string. Name of host. If empty or not set, then the contents of /etc/myname (if it exists) are used.

Boottime file-system and swap configuration

A string. File systems mounted very early in the system boot before networking services are available. Usually /var is part of this, because it is needed by services such as dhclient(8) which may be required to get the network operational. The default is “OPTIONAL:/var”, where the “OPTIONAL:” prefix means that it's not an error if the file system is not present in fstab(5).
A string. File systems such as /usr that may require network services to be available to mount, that must be available early in the system boot for general services to use. The default is “OPTIONAL:/usr”, where the “OPTIONAL:” prefix means that it is not an error if the file system is not present in fstab(5).
A string. A file system is checked with fsck(8) during boot before mounting it. This option may be used to override the default command-line options passed to the fsck(8) program.

When set to -y, fsck(8) assumes yes as the answer to all operator questions during file system checks. This might be important with hosts where the administrator does not have access to the console and an unsuccessful shutdown must not make the host unbootable even if the file system checks would fail in preen mode.

Boolean value. Should be true if you have deliberately configured your system with no swap. If false and no swap devices are configured, the system will warn you.
Boolean value. Remove block-type swap devices at shutdown time. Useful if swapping onto RAIDframe devices.

Block device subsystems

Boolean value. Configures concatenated disk devices according to ccd.conf(5).
Boolean value. Configures cryptographic disk devices. Requires /etc/cgd/cgd.conf. See cgdconfig(8) for additional details.
Boolean value. Configures the logical volume manager. See lvm(8) for additional details.
Boolean value. Configures raid(4), RAIDframe disk devices. See raidctl(8) for additional details.

One-time actions to perform or programs to run on boot-up

Boolean value. Enables process accounting with accton(8). Requires /var/account/acct to exist.
Boolean value. Clear /tmp after reboot.
Boolean value. Create /var/run/dmesg.boot from the output of dmesg(8). Passes dmesg_flags.
Boolean value. Sets preferences for the environmental systems framework, envsys(4). Requires /etc/envsys.conf, which is described in envsys.conf(5).
Boolean value. Configure gpio(4) devices. See gpio.conf(5).
Boolean value. Configures a.out(5) runtime link editor directory cache.
Boolean value. Read mixerctl.conf(5) for how to set mixer values. List in mixerctl_mixers the devices whose settings are to be saved at shutdown and restored at start-up.
Boolean value. Run newsyslog to trim logfiles before syslogd starts. Intended for laptop users. Passes newsyslog_flags.
Boolean value. Enables a per-user /tmp directory. per_user_tmp_dir can be used to override the default location of the “real” temporary directories, “/private/tmp”. See security(7) for additional details.
Boolean value. Checks and enables quotas by running quotacheck(8) and quotaon(8).
Boolean value. During boot-up, runs the rndctl(8) utility with the -L flag to seed the random number subsystem from an entropy file. During shutdown, runs the rndctl(8) utility with the -S flag to save some random information to the entropy file. The entropy file name is specified by the random_file variable, and defaults to /var/db/entropy-file. The entropy file must be on a local file system that is writable early during boot-up (just after the file systems specified in critical_filesystems_local have been mounted), and correspondingly late during shutdown.
Boolean value. Runs the rndctl(8) utility one or more times according to the specification in rndctl_flags.

If rndctl_flags does not contain a semicolon (‘;’) then it is expected to contain zero or more flags, followed by one or more device or type names. The rndctl(8) command will be executed once for each device or type name. If the specified flags do not include any of -c, -C, -e, or -E, then the flags -c and -e are added, to specify that entropy from the relevant device or type should be both collected and estimated. If the specified flags do not include either of -d or -t, then the flag -d is added, to specify that the non-flag arguments are device names, not type names.

rndctl_flags may contain multiple semicolon-separated segments, in which each segment contains flags and device or type names as described above. This allows different flags to be associated with different device or type names. For example, given rndctl_flags="wd0 wd1; -t tty; -c -t net", the following commands will be executed: rndctl -c -e -d wd0; rndctl -c -e -d wd1; rndctl -c -e -t tty; rndctl -c -t net.

Boolean value. Sets the real time clock to local time by adjusting the sysctl(7) value of kern.rtc_offset. The offset from UTC is calculated automatically according to the time zone information in the file /etc/localtime.
Boolean value. Runs the savecore(8) utility. Passes savecore_flags. The directory where crash dumps are stored is specified by savecore_dir. The default setting is “/var/crash”.
Boolean value. Builds various system databases, including /var/run/dev.cdb, /etc/spwd.db, /var/db/netgroup.db, /var/db/services.cdb, and entries for utmp(5).
Boolean value. Run tpctl(8) to calibrate touch panel device. Passes tpctl_flags.
Boolean value. Updates the NetBSD version string in the /etc/motd file to reflect the version of the running kernel. See motd(5).
Boolean value. Send notification mail to users if any recoverable files exist in /var/tmp/vi.recover. Read virecover(8) for more information.
Boolean value. Configures watchdog timers. Passes wdogctl_flags. Refer to wdogctl(8) for information on how to configure a timer.

System security settings

A number. The system securelevel is set to the specified value early in the boot process, before any external logins, or other programs that run users job, are started. If set to nothing, the default action is taken, as described in init(8) and secmodel_securelevel(9), which contains definitive information about the system securelevel. Note that setting securelevel to 0 in rc.conf will actually result in the system booting with securelevel set to 1, as init(8) will raise the level when rc(8) completes.
Boolean value. Allow passwords to include non-alpha characters, usually to allow NIS/YP netgroups.
Boolean value. Load Veriexec fingerprints during startup. Read veriexecctl(8) for more information.
A number. Controls the strict level of Veriexec. Level 0 is learning mode, used when building the signatures file. It will only output messages but will not enforce anything. Level 1 will only prevent access to files with a fingerprint mismatch. Level 2 will also deny writing to and removing of monitored files, as well as enforce access type (as specified in the signatures file). Level 3 will take a step further and prevent access to files that are not monitored.
A number. Controls the verbosity of Veriexec. Recommended operation is at level 0, verbose output (mostly used when building the signatures file) is at level 1. Level 2 is for debugging only and should not be used.
A string. Flags to pass to the veriexecctl command.

Networking startup

Boolean value. ALTQ configuration/monitoring daemon. Passes altqd_flags.
Boolean value. Sets the net_interfaces variable (see below) to the output of ifconfig(8) with the “-l” flag and suppresses warnings about interfaces in this list that do not have an ifconfig file or variable.
Boolean value. Set true to configure some or all network interfaces using the ISC DHCP client. If you set dhclient true, then /var must be in critical_filesystems_local, or /var must be on the root file system, or you must modify the dhclient_flags variable to direct the DHCP client to store the leases file in some other directory on the root file system. You must not provide ifconfig information or ifaliases information for any interface that is to be configured using the DHCP client. Interface aliases can be set up in the DHCP client configuration file if needed - see dhclient.conf(5) for details.

Passes dhclient_flags to the DHCP client. See dhclient(8) for complete documentation. If you wish to configure all broadcast network interfaces using the DHCP client, you can leave this blank. To configure only specific interfaces, name the interfaces to be configured on the command line.

If you must run the DHCP client before mounting critical file systems, then you should specify an alternate location for the DHCP client's lease file in the dhclient_flags variable - for example, "-lf /tmp/dhclient.leases".

Boolean value. Set true to configure some or all network interfaces using dhcpcd. If you set dhcpcd true, then /var must be in critical_filesystems_local, or /var must be on the root file system. If you need to restrict dhcpcd to one or a number of interfaces, or need a separate configuration per interface, then this should be done in the configuration file - see dhcpcd.conf(5) for details.
Passes dhcpcd_flags to dhcpcd. See dhcpcd(8) for complete documentation.
Boolean value. Flushes the route table on networking startup. Useful when coming up to multiuser mode after going down to single-user mode.
Boolean value. Runs ftp-proxy(8), the proxy daemon for the Internet File Transfer Protocol.
Boolean value. Runs hostapd(8), the authenticator for IEEE 802.11 networks.
A string. List of ‘address netmask’ pairs to configure additional network addresses for the given configured interface “*” (e.g. ifaliases_le0). If netmask is “-”, then use the default netmask for the interface.

ifaliases_* covers limited cases only and is considered unrecommended. We recommend using ifconfig_nnX variables or /etc/ifconfig.xxN files with multiple lines instead.

Boolean value. Monitor dynamic interfaces and perform actions upon address changes. Passes ifwatchd_flags.
A string. An IPv6 node can be a router (nodes that forward packet for others) or a host (nodes that do not forward). A host can be autoconfigured based on the information advertised by adjacent IPv6 routers. By setting ip6mode to “router”, “host”, or “autohost”, you can configure your node as a router, a non-autoconfigured host, or an autoconfigured host. Invalid values will be ignored, and the node will be configured as a non-autoconfigured host. You may want to check rtsol and rtsold as well, if you set the variable to “autohost”.
Boolean value. If ip6mode is equal to “router”, and ip6uniquelocal is false, a reject route will be installed on boot to avoid misconfiguration relating to unique-local addresses. If ip6uniquelocal is true, the reject route won't be installed.
Boolean value. Runs ipf(8) to load in packet filter specifications from /etc/ipf.conf at network boot time, before any interfaces are configured. Passes ipfilter_flags. See ipf.conf(5).
Boolean value. Runs ipfs(8) to save and restore information for ipnat and ipfilter state tables. The information is stored in /var/db/ipf/ipstate.ipf and /var/db/ipf/ipnat.ipf. Passes ipfs_flags.
Boolean value. Runs ipmon(8) to read ipf(8) packet log information and log it to a file or the system log. Passes ipmon_flags.
A string. Specifies arguments to supply to ipmon(8). Defaults to “-ns”. A typical example would be “-nD /var/log/ipflog” to have ipmon(8) log directly to a file bypassing syslogd(8). If the “-D” argument is used, remember to modify /etc/newsyslog.conf accordingly; for example:

/var/log/ipflog  640  10  100  *  Z  /var/run/
Boolean value. Runs ipnat(8) to load in the IP network address translation (NAT) rules from /etc/ipnat.conf at network boot time, before any interfaces are configured. See ipnat.conf(5).
Boolean value. Runs setkey(8) to load in IPsec manual keys and policies from /etc/ipsec.conf at network boot time, before any interfaces are configured.
A string. The list of network interfaces to be configured at boot time. For each interface "xxN", the system first looks for ifconfig parameters in the variable ifconfig_xxN, and then in the file /etc/ifconfig.xxN. If auto_ifconfig is false, and neither the variable nor the file is found, a warning is printed. Information in either the variable or the file is parsed identically, except that, if an ifconfig_xxN variable contains a single line with embedded semicolons, then the value is split into multiple lines prior to further parsing, treating the semicolon as a line separator.

One common case it to set the ifconfig_xxN variable to a set of arguments to be passed to an ifconfig(8) command after the interface name. Refer to ifconfig.if(5) for more details on /etc/ifconfig.xxN files, and note that the information there also applies to ifconfig_xxN variables (after the variables are split into lines).

Boolean value. Runs ntpdate(8) to set the system time from one of the hosts in ntpdate_hosts. If ntpdate_hosts is empty, it will attempt to find a list of hosts in /etc/ntp.conf. Passes ntpdate_flags.
Boolean value. Enable pf(4) at network boot time: Load the initial configuration pf.boot.conf(5) before the network is up. After the network has been configured, then load the final ruleset pf.conf(5).
A string. The path of the pf.conf(5) ruleset that will be used when loading the final ruleset.
Boolean value. Run pflogd(8) for dumping packet filter logging information to a file.
A boolean. Toggles starting pppd(8) on startup. See ppp_peers below.
A string. If ppp is true and ppp_peers is not empty, then /etc/rc.d/ppp will check each word in ppp_peers for a corresponding ppp configuration file in /etc/ppp/peers and will call pppd(8) with the “call peer” option.
Boolean value. Runs racoon(8), the IKE (ISAKMP/Oakley) key management daemon.
Boolean value. Run rtsol(8), router solicitation command for IPv6 hosts. On nomadic hosts like notebook computers, you may want to enable rtsold as well. Passes rtsol_flags. This is only for autoconfigured IPv6 hosts, so set ip6mode to “autohost” if you use it.
Boolean value. Run wpa_supplicant(8), WPA/802.11i Supplicant for wireless network devices. If you set wpa_supplicant true, then /usr must be in critical_filesystems_local, or /usr must be on the root file system.

Daemons required by other daemons

Boolean value. Runs the inetd(8) daemon to start network server processes (as listed in /etc/inetd.conf) as necessary. Passes inetd_flags. The “-l” flag turns on libwrap connection logging.
Boolean value. The rpcbind(8) daemon is required for any rpc(3) services. These include NFS, NIS, rpc.bootparamd(8), rpc.rstatd(8), rpc.rusersd(8), and rpc.rwalld(8). Passes rpcbind_flags.

Commonly used daemons

Boolean value. Run cron(8).
Boolean value. Runs the ftpd(8) daemon and passes ftpd_flags.
Boolean value. Runs the httpd(8) daemon and passes httpd_flags.
A string. The httpd(8) WWW root directory. Used only if httpd is true. The default setting is “/var/www”.
A string. If non-blank and httpd is true, run httpd(8) and cause it to switch to the specified user after initialization. It is preferred to httpd_user because httpd(8) is requiring extra privileges to start listening on default port 80. The default setting is “_httpd”.
Boolean value. Runs lpd(8) and passes lpd_flags. The “-l” flag will turn on extra logging.
Boolean value. Runs mdnsd(8).
Boolean value. Runs named(8) and passes named_flags.
A string. If non-blank and named is true, run named(8) as the unprivileged user and group ‘named’, chroot(2)ed to named_chrootdir. named_chrootdir/var/run/log will be added to the list of log sockets that syslogd(8) listens to.
Boolean value. Runs ntpd(8) and passes ntpd_flags.
A string. If non-blank and ntpd is true, run ntpd(8) as the unprivileged user and group ‘ntpd’, chroot(2)ed to ntpd_chrootdir. ntpd_chrootdir/var/run/log will be added to the list of log sockets that syslogd(8) listens to. This option requires that the kernel has
pseudo-device clockctl
compiled in, and that /dev/clockctl is present.
Boolean value. Starts postfix(1) mail system.
Boolean value. Runs sshd(8) and passes sshd_flags.
Boolean value. Runs syslogd(8) and passes syslogd_flags.
Boolean value. Runs timed(8) and passes timed_flags. The “-M” option allows timed(8) to be a master time source as well as a slave. If you are also running ntpd(8), only one machine running both should have the “-M” flag given to timed(8).

Routing daemons

Boolean value. Runs mrouted(8), the DVMRP multicast routing protocol daemon. Passes mrouted_flags.
Boolean value. Runs route6d(8), the RIPng routing protocol daemon for IPv6. Passes route6d_flags.
Boolean value. Runs routed(8), the RIP routing protocol daemon. Passes routed_flags.
Boolean value. Runs rtsold(8), the IPv6 router solicitation daemon. rtsold(8) periodically transmits router solicitation packets to find IPv6 routers on the network. This configuration is mainly for nomadic hosts like notebook computers. Stationary hosts should work fine with just rtsol. Passes rtsold_flags. This is only for autoconfigured IPv6 hosts, so set ip6mode to “autohost” if you use it.

Daemons used to boot other hosts over a network

Boolean value. Runs bootparamd(8), the boot parameter server, with bootparamd_flags as options. Used to boot NetBSD and SunOS 4.x systems.
Boolean value. Runs dhcpd(8), the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) daemon, for assigning IP addresses to hosts and passing boot information. Passes dhcpd_flags.
Boolean value. Runs dhcrelay(8). Passes dhcrelay_flags.
Boolean value. Runs mopd(8), the DEC MOP protocol daemon; used for booting VAX and other DEC machines. Passes mopd_flags.
Boolean value. Runs ndbootd(8), the Sun Network Disk (ND) Protocol server. Passes ndbootd_flags.
Boolean value. Runs rarpd(8), the reverse ARP daemon, often used to boot NetBSD and Sun workstations. Passes rarpd_flags.
Boolean value. Runs rbootd(8), the HP boot protocol daemon; used for booting HP workstations. Passes rbootd_flags.
Boolean value. Runs rtadvd(8), the IPv6 router advertisement daemon, which is used to advertise information about the subnet to IPv6 end hosts. Passes rtadvd_flags. This is only for IPv6 routers, so set ip6mode to “router” if you use it.

X Window System daemons

Boolean value. Runs the xdm(1) X display manager. These X daemons are available only with the optional X distribution of NetBSD.
Boolean value. Runs the xfs(1) X11 font server, which supplies local X font files to X terminals.

NIS (YP) daemons

Boolean value. Runs ypbind(8), which lets NIS (YP) clients use information from a NIS server. Passes ypbind_flags.
Boolean value. Runs yppasswdd(8), which allows remote NIS users to update password on master server. Passes yppasswdd_flags.
Boolean value. Runs ypserv(8), the NIS (YP) server for distributing information from certain files in /etc. Passes ypserv_flags. The “-d” flag causes it to use DNS for lookups in /etc/hosts that fail.

NFS daemons and parameters

Boolean value. Runs amd(8), the automounter daemon, which automatically mounts NFS file systems whenever a file or directory within that file system is accessed. Passes amd_flags.
A string. The amd(8) mount directory. Used only if amd is true.
Boolean value. Runs rpc.lockd(8) if nfs_server and/or nfs_client are true. Passes lockd_flags.
Boolean value. Runs mountd(8) and passes mountd_flags.
Boolean value. The number of local NFS asynchronous I/O server is now controlled via sysctl(8).
Boolean value. Sets up a host to be a NFS server by running nfsd(8) and passing nfsd_flags.
Boolean value. Runs rpc.statd(8), a status monitoring daemon used when rpc.lockd(8) is running, if nfs_server and/or nfs_client are true. Passes statd_flags.

Bluetooth support

Boolean value. Configure Bluetooth support, comprising the following tasks:
  • attach serial Bluetooth controllers as listed in the /etc/bluetooth/btdevctl.conf configuration file.
  • enable Bluetooth controllers with useful defaults, plus additional options as detailed below.
  • optionally, start bthcid(8), the Bluetooth Link Key/PIN Code manager, passing bthcid_flags.
  • configure local Bluetooth drivers as listed in the /etc/bluetooth/btdevctl.conf configuration file.
  • optionally, start sdpd(8), the Service Discovery server, passing sdpd_flags.
A string. An optional list of Bluetooth controllers to configure.
A string. Additional configuration options for specific Bluetooth controllers.
A string. Additional configuration options for Bluetooth controllers without specific options as above.
Boolean value. If set to false, disable starting the Bluetooth Link Key/PIN Code manager.
Boolean value. If set to false, disable starting the Bluetooth Service Discovery server.

Other daemons

Boolean value. Runs identd(8), the daemon for the user identification protocol. Passes identd_flags.
Boolean value. Runs the server for iSCSI requests, iscsi-target(8). Passes iscsi_target_flags.
Boolean value. Runs isdnd(8), the isdn4bsd ISDN connection management daemon. Passes isdnd_flags.
Boolean value. Set all configured ISDN interfaces to “up”. If isdn_interfaces is not blank, only the listed interfaces will be modified. Used only if isdnd is true.
Boolean value. Runs the kdc(8) Kerberos v4 and v5 server. This should be run on Kerberos master and slave servers.
Boolean value. Runs rwhod(8) to support the rwho(1) and ruptime(1) commands.

Hardware daemons

Boolean value. Runs apmd(8) and passes apmd_flags.
Boolean value. Runs irdaattach(8) and passes irdaattach_flags.
Boolean value. Runs moused(8), to pass serial mouse data to the wscons mouse mux. Passes moused_flags.
Boolean value. Runs screenblank(1) and passes screenblank_flags.
Boolean value. Configures the wscons(4) console driver, from the configuration file /etc/wscons.conf.
Boolean value. Runs wsmoused(8), to provide copy and paste text support in wscons displays. Passes wsmoused_flags.


The file rc.conf resides in /etc.
Default settings for rc.conf, sourced by rc.conf before the end-user configuration section.
foo-specific rc.conf overrides.


The rc.conf file appeared in NetBSD 1.3.
January 15, 2014 NetBSD 7.0