I have a process which is executed by init.d script on the background. Eg:

case "$1" in 
       /bin/myprocess &
       killall myprocess
       killall myprocess
       /bin/myprocess &

In certain conditions, myprocess can fail and return. Is there any (standard) way how to detect its fail and restart in automatically?

  • Sure, but it varies based on distribution. Pretty much all of them provide some kind of service manager. – David Schwartz Nov 19 '12 at 9:39
  • There is no standard distribution, but buildroot. So I have to do it manually... – Honza Nov 19 '12 at 12:24
up vote 12 down vote accepted

The easiest way would be to add it to /etc/inittab, which is designed to do this sort of thing:

respawn If the process does not exist, start the process. Do not wait for its termination (continue scanning the /etc/inittab file). Restart the process when it dies. If the process exists, do nothing and continue scanning the /etc/inittab file.

For example, you could do this:

# Run my stuff
  • Note, /etc/inittab works (or even exists) if and only if you have a sysvinit-based init system. With upstart and with systemd it doesn't. You have to install either busybox (very primitive shell making the sysadm recover tasks painful, but it can substitute a sysvinit-compatible initd) or sysvinit (it is a fossil). In a docker container, only the first is not painful. – peterh Jul 5 '17 at 11:02

Buildroot has three possible init systems, so there are three ways to do this:

BusyBox init

With this, one adds an entry to /etc/inittab.


Note that BusyBox init has an idiosyncratic /etc/inittab format. The second field is meaningless, and the first field is not an ID but a device basename.

Linux "System V" init

Again, one adds an entry to /etc/inittab.



One writes a unit file in, say, /etc/systemd/system/myprocess.service:

Description=My Process



Enable this to autostart at bootup with:

systemctl enable myprocess.service

Start it manually with:

systemctl start myprocess.service

Further reading

What about creating a subshell with a loop that calls constantly the same process?

If it ends, the next iteration of the loop goes on and starts it again.

(while true; do 
done) &

If the subshell dies, it's over though. The only possibility in that case would be to create another process (I'll call it necromancer) that checks whether yourprocess is alive, start it if it isn't and run this necromancer with cron, so that you can check that regularly.

Next step would be wondering what could happen if cron dies, but at some point you should feel safe and stop worrying.

You could make use of Monit . It's really easy to use and quite flexible. See for example this configuration for restarting the Tomcat process on failure.

check process tomcat with pidfile /var/run/tomcat.pid
   start program = "/etc/init.d/tomcat start"
   stop  program = "/etc/init.d/tomcat stop"
   if failed port 8080 type tcp then restart

It also has a lot of configuration examples for many use cases.

If you're not a super user or root, and if your Linux system has Docker installed, then you can create a docker image of your process, using docker to restart your process if the system is rebooted.

File: docker-compose.yml

version: "3"
    image: your_docker_image:latest
    - 8080:8080   # just use 8080 as an example
    restart: always  # this is where your process can be guaranteed to restart

To start your docker container,

docker-compose up -d

I find it's easy to handle my-own-process with auto-restart if I am not a super user of the system.

For a sample example of how to create a docker image, here is a quick example:

File: Dockerfile

FROM alpine:3.5

RUN apk update && apk upgrade && rm -rf /var/cache/apk/*
COPY my-process-server /app
RUN ln -s /app/my-process-server /usr/local/bin/my-process-server


CMD ["my-process-server"]

You may use restarter

   restarter -c /bin/myprocess &
   pkill -f myprocess

On newer systems systemd which solves all those trivial issues

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