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This is for Fedora 12. There is also a RHEL/CentOS/FC6 version.
At least as of Fedora 12 (and possibly back to FC7), most of the boot process is now hidden. In fact, in Fedora 12 there is essentially no informative feedback in the boot process at all. If you would like to see the status messages as the kernel initializes and various daemons start, then change the following. This assumes that you are using the grub bootloader.
Edit the file /etc/grub.conf (which may be a symlink to /boot/grub/grub.conf) and:
timeout=0, change it to
timeout=5. This will allow you to select alternate kernels or ammend the command line options.
quiet. Remove those words, leaving the remainder of the line intact.
See also Using a Text Display After Boot if you also want text after the boot process is complete.
It appears that sometime around Fedora 9, some wingnut decided that hiding shutdown details from the user would be a good thing. (So, at one point does bowing to the Lowest Common Denominator stop? Sheesh!) You can see some of the sordid details in RedHat's Bug 439699, which looks like it got closed without actually fixing anything (as of 28 Oct 2008).
Short version: If you want to see shutdown details, hit ALT-F1.
Last Updated: 25 Jan 2010