Setting Fedora 10 to boot to command prompt i.e. run level 3

Fedora 10 uses a new grapical boot loader named plymouth.  Supposedly it is much faster than the old rhgb(redhat graphical bootloader).  Espcially if you have a Radeon grahpics card.  Plymouth employ’s the use of kernel-mode driver setting’s passed from grub.conf file. This feature may let you enjoy a fast high resolution grapical boot.  If you have the right grapics card.  Specifically a Radeon R500 or higher…  …sweet.  Now the 35% of users that bought a Radeon over Nvidia can enjoy a quicker boot.  Thank you RedHat.  Thank you.

Annoyingly if you don’t have a decent Radeon card the system boots in an ugly 640×480 resolution, but that’s no worse than rhgb in the last release.  Booting to an X login screen may be nice for the casual user, but I prefer watching my services start at boot.  So naturaly the first thing I do after a new installation is edit my ‘/etc/inittab’ to boot to a command prompt (runlevel 3).  The numeral highlighted in red is the run level Linux will boot to by default.  Also known as the ‘default run level’.  🙂


# inittab is only used by upstart for the default runlevel.
# System initialization is started by /etc/event.d/rcS
# Individual runlevels are started by /etc/event.d/rc[0-6]
# Ctrl-Alt-Delete is handled by /etc/event.d/control-alt-delete
# Terminal gettys (tty[1-6]) are handled by /etc/event.d/tty[1-6] and
# /etc/event.d/serial
# For information on how to write upstart event handlers, or how
# upstart works, see init(8), initctl(8), and events(5).
# Default runlevel. The runlevels used are:
#   0 – halt (Do NOT set initdefault to this)
#   1 – Single user mode
#   2 – Multiuser, without NFS (The same as 3, if you do not have networking)
#   3 – Full multiuser mode
#   4 – unused
#   5 – X11
#   6 – reboot (Do NOT set initdefault to this)

So usually this would be good.  Sadly no.  Plymouth will boot in graphical mode anyway until all your services are loaded then kill the X session to a command prompt.  But there is a silver lining in all this… if you have a great Radeon card you can watch in high resolution the stunning blue background and progress bar until it dumps you to a prompt!

So after much googling I found Fedora’s Doc’s(sorta), well it was more like a basic run down of Plymouth.  The Doc said that if you delete the ‘rhgb’ as a kernel option in the grub.conf plymouth will boot without hiding the run level status.  Below is an example of the ‘/boot/grub/grub.conf’ without the rhgb kernel option.

grub.conf example:

# grub.conf generated by anaconda
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE:  You have a /boot partition.  This means that
#          all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /boot/, eg.
#          root (hd0,0)
#          kernel /vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/VolGroupmattcom1/LogVol00
#          initrd /initrd-version.img
title Fedora (
root (hd0,0)
kernel /vmlinuz- ro root=/dev/VolGroupmattcom1/LogVol00 rhgb quiet
initrd /initrd-

Delete ‘rhgb’ save and reboot.  Good luck with Fedora 10.  It is not as polished as some other previous releases but I’m working through it.


Written by mattb in: Linux | Tags: , , , ,


  • Vladimir

    I found another option to boot up in verbose mode. Just press Esc during boot, pressing Esc again returns you back to graphical.
    Also replacing ‘rhgb quite’ with ‘verbose vga=792’ also is working for me in FC10.
    It displays all messages in 1024×768 resolution mode.

    Comment | April 2, 2009
  • mattb

    I’m going to try that. Thanks for the tip!

    Comment | April 2, 2009
  • Rhino

    This page was a great help!

    I followed your tip and edited the “/boot/grub/grub.conf” file and replaced the boot param ‘rhgb quite’ with ‘verbose vga=792′ and it does work as expected.

    My laptop now displays all messages in 1024×768 resolution mode.


    Comment | August 9, 2009

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