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Re: script to run on startup

Yeah, I created /etc/init.d/local and put S99 slinks to it in rc2, 3, 4,
and 5.d, copying some of the other startup scripts. Doesn't strike me as
particularly elegant, and it's (probably) going to get wiped by Debian
sometime in the future. But for the time being I have a /dev/tape
without having to learn the udev rules...

That is correct, and should be left alone by debian. however there is a utility that should be used rather than making the links by hand.

You should use update-rc.d like this:
"update-rc.d local start 99 2 3 4 5 ." (note the dot)
This prevents the possibility of having two links to the same script in a single rc directory.

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