I am trying to diagnose why /etc/rc.local is not successfully executing on boot of a raspberry pi.

I have stripped the content of /etc/rc.local to a minimal version, and still cannot get it to touch a file in the /tmp directory.

I am getting this relevant output in /var/log/syslog on startup.

So looks like systemd is responsible for executing /etc/rc.local but is failing.

Have done lots of googling, no luck yet.



System info (new to raspberry pi so let me know what else i can post):

uname -a:

Linux raspberrypi 4.14.79-v7+ #1159 SMP Sun Nov 4 17:50:20 GMT 2018 armv7l GNU/Linux

/etc/rc.local content:

# rc.local
# This script is executed at the end of each multiuser runlevel.
# Make sure that the script will "exit 0" on success or any other
# value on error.
# In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
# bits.
# By default this script does nothing.

# Print the IP address
touch /tmp/foo

exit 0

/var/log/syslog content:

raspberrypi systemd[1]: Starting /etc/rc.local Compatibility...
raspberrypi systemd[290]: rc-local.service: Failed at step STDOUT spawning /etc/rc.local: No such device
raspberrypi systemd[1]: rc-local.service: Control process exited, code=exited status=209
raspberrypi systemd[1]: Failed to start /etc/rc.local Compatibility.
raspberrypi systemd[1]: rc-local.service: Unit entered failed state.
raspberrypi systemd[1]: rc-local.service: Failed with result 'exit-code'

/etc/rc.local appears to have correct permissions:

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ ls -la /etc/rc.local 
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 345 Jan 16 18:03 /etc/rc.local


I ended up abandoning attempts to start my server via /etc/rc.local and instead created a systemd unit, which was pretty straight forward.

Guide here : https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/how-to-run-a-raspberry-pi-program-on-startup

  • 1
    Is your rootfs read-only? Where's your /tmp? Is it part of the rootfs? Or a tmpfs file system?
    – Dougie
    Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 8:37
  • 2
    Please take note that using /etc/rc.local has limitations due to Compatibility with SysV. Following the recommendation of the developers from systemd you should avoid using it. Instead you should create a systemd unit file for your script.
    – Ingo
    Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 21:09
  • I went with a systemd unit, as @Ingo suggested and everything started working as desired.
    – zayquan
    Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 9:58
  • @Dougie the /tmp is part of the root filesystem.
    – zayquan
    Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 9:59
  • Please make your Edit/Update an answer. This will finish your question and shows other user that it has a solution.
    – Ingo
    Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 23:25

1 Answer 1


I did not end up getting my additions to /etc/rc.local to correctly execute.

Instead created a systemd unit, which was pretty straight forward, and is recommended over additions to /etc/rc.local.

Guide here : https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/how-to-run-a-raspberry-pi-program-on-startup

Please comment with better guides and I will edit the answer.

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