I was trying to use Synergy (the keyboard sharing program) but found I couldn't use the keyboard to log in after boot. A bit of digging and I discovered I cannot even ping my machine before anybody logs in. This is very inconvenient and unacceptable for multiple reasons. In addition to not being able to log in via Synergy, what if there is a power failure and I want to ssh in remotely, or if I want the web server to be running at startup?
Surely there must be some option to enable networking before anybody logs in. I have tried enabling the web server, remote login, etc. to no avail. I have also looked at various texts which purport to indicate how startup works, but some of the files it mentions (e.g. /etc/rc.boot) don't even exist!
edit: i just did an experiment where I booted up and waited 5 minutes before logging in. (wow that "If you are having trouble logging in message" is annoying, and I had to have keyboard activity to prevent the computer from going sleep.) After I logged in, there were no processes in the entire process list older than the time at which I actually logged in.