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runlevel — Print previous and current SysV runlevel


runlevel [options...]


runlevel prints the previous and current SysV runlevel if they are known.

The two runlevel characters are seperated by a single space character. If a runlevel cannot be determined, N is printed instead. If neither can be determined, the word "unknown" is printed.

Unless overridden in the environment, this will check the utmp database for recent runlevel changes.


The following option is understood:


Prints a short help text and exits.

Exit status

If one or both runlevels could be determined, 0 is returned, a non-zero failure code otherwise.



If $RUNLEVEL is set, runlevel will print this value as current runlevel and ignore utmp.


If $PREVLEVEL is set runlevel will print this value as previous runlevel and ignore utmp.



The utmp database runlevel reads the previous and current runlevel from.


This is a legacy command available for compatibility only. It should not be used anymore, as the concept of runlevels is obsolete.

See Also

systemd(1), systemctl(1)