Common Startup Services (Daemons)


In Linux and Unix in general, daemons are system processes that run in the background without requiring any intervention from the user's side. They are started on boot via files in /etc/rc.d/init.d and provide certain services. The more you have running the less secure your system will be. Your system will also run slower running unnecessary services in the background and will take longer to boot.

To modify your startup services open the Mandrake Control Center - System - Services and unselect those that you feel you do not need, click on the "info" button for a brief description of the service. You can also turn off a service for example; kudzu, from the console with: chkconfig kudzu off and to turn it back on it would be chkconfig kudzu on, to see what services are running do: chkconfig --list.

Here is a brief description of some of the services:

anacron

Related to the 'cron'-daemon. 'cron' runs tasks like system maintenance at certain times, but skips them if the system isn't running at that time. That's where 'anacron' comes in: it checks delayed 'cron'-tasks at boot-time and executes them. If your machine doesn't run all the time, you should leave it enabled. Optional. Doc: man anacron

apmd

The Advanced Power Management BIOS Daemon. Only needed if your computer runs on battery. Optional. Doc: man apmd

arpwatch

Keeps track of ethernet/ip address pairings. Usually not enabled. Optional. Doc: man arpsnmp

atd

The "At Daemon". Manages scheduled jobs. Related to crond. Essential. Doc: man atd, man at

autofs

Controls the automount daemon (note: this has nothing to do with 'supermount'). Usually not enabled. You might need it if you want to mount network-shares automatically. Optional. Doc: man autofs, man automount

bootparamd

Used to provide boot-information to diskless clients. You probably don't need this vulnerable service. Usually not enabled. Optional. Doc: man bootparamd

crond

The Cron Daemon. Manages repeated tasks. Related to atd. Essential. Doc: man crond, man cron

gpm

General Purpose Mouse Daemon. Necessary only if you want to use your mouse on the console (not xterms). If you only work within X it's better to turn it off, incompatibilities with X are a known issue. Optional. Doc: man gpm

httpd

The daemon necessary to run the Apache web-server. If you do not intend to run a web-server, turn it off: it uses a considerable amount of system resources and makes your box vulnerable to outside attacks if not configured properly. Optional. Doc: man httpd.

inet(d)

This handles dial-in services like ftp, pop3 and telnet (these three are enabled by default). If you only dial-out turn it off!. In its default setting it essentially invites anyone who knows your IP to launch an attack at your box. If you want to use it however, have a look at '/etc/inetd.conf', '/etc/hosts.allow', '/etc/hosts.deny' and install the tcp-wrappers.rpm. Optional. Doc: man inetd, man hosts_access and man tcpd.

keytable

Loads the selected keyboard map as set in '/etc/sysconfig/keyboard'. Usually enabled. Essential for users with non-US keyboards. Doc: man loadkeys

kudzu

Detects and configures new or changed hardware during boot. If you turn it off your box will boot faster. You can then run it from within the system. Usually enabled. Optional. Doc: man kudzu

linuxconf

This is not needed to run LinuxConf. This service is used to configure a linux box remotely with a browser. Most linux users will probably never use this. If not needed, it's safe to turn this off. Usually enabled. Optional. Doc: '/usr/lib/linuxconf/help.

lpd

The "Line Printer Spooler Daemon". Needed for printing. Usually enabled. Optional. Doc: man lpd

netfs

Network Filesystem Mounter. Generic service. Needed for mounting NFS, SMB and NCP shares on boot. Usually enabled. Optional. Doc: man mount

network

Activates all network interfaces at boot time by calling the scripts in '/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts'. Usually enabled. Essential. Doc: man ifconfig and the appropriate documentation for the initiated interfaces.

nfslock

Starts and stops the NFS file locking service. If you have no idea what this means, you can turn it off. Usually enabled. Optional. Doc: man nfs.

numlock

Locks NumLock key at init runlevel change. Usually enabled. Optional. No docs.

pcmcia

For laptop users only. Optional. Read the script.

portmap

Needed for Remote Procedure Calls. Portmap can be a huge security risk if not properly configured. It should only be needed for NFS or NIS services, if you don't use these then turn it off. Usually enabled. Optional. Doc: man portmap

postfix

This is the "Mail Transport Agent", something like sendmail. If you use Netscape Mail, KMail you can turn it off. Usually enabled. Optional. Doc: man postfix, '/usr/doc/postfix-[version]/html/index.html'

random

Random Number Generating Daemon. Needed for security. Essential. Doc: man 4 random

routed

Network Routing Daemon. Don't use this unless you really need it and don't use this if you have a dial-up connection. Optional. Doc: man routed

rstatd

The kernel statistics server (advanced networking stuff). Usually not enabled. Optional. Doc: man rpc.rstatd

rusersd, rwalld, rwhod

Provide several services useful when running a server. Usually not enabled. Optional. Doc: man-pages

smb

Needed for running SAMBA, the "Server Message Block Protocol Server". It allows you to provide network services to Windows clients and access shares on those machines from your GNU/Linux box. Usually not enabled. Optional. Doc: man samba, MUO pages on configuring SAMBA.

syslog

System Message Logger. Essential. Doc: man sysklogd

usb

Daemon for devices on the Universal Serial Bus. If you don't use such devices, you can turn it off. Usually enabled. Optional. For more check the files in /usr/src/linux/drivers/usb (you'll need the kernel-sources.rpm for this)

xfs

X Font Server. If you don't load this then you'll have to manually set the font paths in '/etc/X11/XF86Config' and use and external TrueType font server like xfstt. Usually enabled. Essential for X users. Doc: man xfs