HOWTO: Enable console autologin on Ubuntu
This entry explains how you can automatically login to your Ubuntu machine. Warning: the following is a security hazard on network attached and publicly accessible machines.
On throwaway development boxes, on the other hand, you sometimes need to reboot often and want to skip the annoying login. Only use this on inherently private machines: those that are physically secure and disconnected from the internet.
On traditionally configured linux machines, download mingetty from sourceforge, compile and install it and then edit /etc/inittab. For each console, replace lines such as
1:1:respawn:/etc/getty 9600 tty
1:1:respawn:/sbin/mingetty --autologin USERNAME tty1
To be automatically presented with a logged-in console on boot, also disable your graphical login managers. These are usually active on console 7.
Ubuntu sometimes deviates from standard practice; the boot process is one example. First, to install mingetty, just run
sudo apt-get install mingetty
Ubuntu 9.04 inittab
Then, update the replacement of inittab. On Ubuntu 9.04, this file is replaced by a series of files in /etc/event.d. To automatically login on console tty1, edit /etc/event.d/tty1. Replace the use of getty in the last line from
exec /sbin/getty 38400 tty1
exec /sbin/mingetty --autologin USERNAME tty1
To automatically login on other consoles, be sure to replace tty1 with the correct name of the console.
Ubuntu 10.04 inittab
Ubuntu also changes its init process occasionally. In 10.04, the file /etc/event.d/tty1 is replaced by /etc/init/tty1.conf. The changes are similar to those explained above.