What is the init process?

I was checking my Linode's processes and I found a process called init. What is this process used for?

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On Unix-based systems, init (short for initialization) is the first process started by the kernel during the boot process. Its goal is to initialize the system depending on the specified runlevel. Since it's the first process started on the system, its process identifier (PID) is 1.

One cool thing about init is that it is the ancestor of every process on the system -- all other programs are started by init or by one of its child processes. I recommend checking out the Wikipedia page for the init process if you'd like to learn more!

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