CentOS: Id “7” respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes

Ever since I’ve got brand new server running CentOS 5.4 and installed the logwatch I was scrolling like mad (and that DOES take time on a BB) to get through the numerous Id "7" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes messages. I knew where they came form, but apparently I have missed one tiny step.

What does the “Id “7”” mean?

Examining the /etc/inittab reveals the following line

7:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty --autologin=root tty7

I don’t know why someone would do that, because the first thing I’ve done is disabling the root access by simply changing the default shell for the root account to /sbin/nologin in /etc/passwd. I don’t want any root accounts, I live in sudo when I need to.

What’s the trick?

Well, simply commenting the offending line in the /etc/inittab didn’t do anything and I was too cautious to restart the server since “the users may be coming right now” and experiencing downtime from a brand new service is not a good thing. So after yet another frustrating morning (it starts from grabbing my BB and reading logwatch messages for me for the last weeks…) I finally “solved” the problem which was just my lack of knowledge (as the most problems are):

sudo kill -HUP 1

and the configuration is re-read and the message is GONE without the need for (expensive) restart! Wow! How stupid you can be…