Hello Steve, thanks for your detailed comments. You quite rightly spotted that I forgotten to include the rc.spawn script, which contains:
spawn: process kept running
echo spawn $@
while true; do
echo sleep 1
echo rebirth: $@
which is a crude way of keeping the ttys working after logout [does not work on all non-Devuan distros].
The rc.shutdown script has evolved over time, but I will try some of your ideas [eg killall5->pkill]. Shutdown is an art that I do not understand: I do use sleeps, but how to decide the number of seconds? However, I don't get fsck triggers unless I am playing with new ideas.
Some things I do include are ntpd, but need to add back the random number seed saving. I don't understand utmp [probably read up on it now].
I have read many contradictory views on "daemon management". Some people think it better to let them die, as there may be a good reason for it that requires investigation. None of the daemons I do use have EVER died on me in over a year; if they start dying, then I will consider one of the full-service solutions [Daemontools, Runit, ..].
Ironically, Devuan exhibits severe problems on my new laptop [HP 6th gen intel]: Xorg crashes the system when it exits, requiring power cycle. My only recourse has been to install Void Linux with XFCE4 and Runit. The latter and recent posts here led me to implement Runit on Devuan this afternoon [see earlier post].
I will continue to use sinit, but I suspect that Runit with a suitable selection of daemon services would be a more palatable solution to replace sysvinit, if anyone wants to do that.