Init is the first process started during system boot. It is a service process that continues running until the system is shut down. Init is the direct or indirect ancestor of all other processes, and automatically adopts all orphaned processes. It is started by the kernel using a hard-coded filename; if the kernel is unable to start it, panic will result. Init is typically assigned process identifier 1.
The init scripts (or rc) are launched by the init process to guarantee basic functionality on system start and shutdown. This includes (un)mounting of file systems and launching of services. A service manager takes this one step further by providing active control over launched processes, or process supervision. An example is to monitor for crashes and restart processes accordingly.
These components combine to the init system. Some inits include the service manager in the init process, or have init scripts in close relation to them. These inits are below referred to as integrated, though entries in different categories may explicitly depend on each other.
Available init systems
This wiki article is based on Wikipedia's page.