Difference between revisions of "Systemd"

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(Systemd Journal)
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To activate it you need to uncheck:
To activate it you need to uncheck:
{{ic|<nowiki> LogTarget=journal-or-kmsg</nowiki>}} in {{ic|/etc/systemd/system.conf}}.<br>
{{ic|<nowiki> LogTarget=journal-or-kmsg</nowiki>}} in {{ic|/etc/systemd/system.conf}}.<br>
The next thing you have to do, except you want a volatile log in {{ic| /var/run/log/}}, is to create a directory named "journal" in {{ic| /var/log}} <br>
By default the journal is stored in {{ic| /var/run/log/}}.  This makes it volatile.  If you want the journal to be persistent, create a directory named "journal" in {{ic| /var/log}}. <br>
where systemd will log instead.
After a restart of systemd ({{ic|$ systemctl daemon-reexec}}) systemd will start logging.<br>
After a restart of systemd ({{ic|$ systemctl daemon-reexec}}) systemd will start logging.<br>
To read the log enter: {{ic|$ systemd-journalctl}} or {{ic|$ systemd-journalctl -a}} if you want to see unprintable characters and full lines instead of shortened lines.
To read the log enter: {{ic|$ systemd-journalctl}} or {{ic|$ systemd-journalctl -a}} if you want to see unprintable characters and full lines instead of shortened lines.

Revision as of 12:21, 7 April 2012

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systemd is a system and service manager for Linux, compatible with SysV and LSB init scripts. systemd provides aggressive parallelization capabilities, uses socket and D-Bus activation for starting services, offers on-demand starting of daemons, keeps track of processes using Linux cgroups, supports snapshotting and restoring of the system state, maintains mount and automount points and implements an elaborate transactional dependency-based service control logic. It can work as a drop-in replacement for sysvinit.

See Lennart's blog story for a longer introduction, the two status updates since then, and the most recent summary. Also see the Wikipedia article and the project web page.


To try out systemd on Arch you need to:

  • install systemd (and its dependencies) from [extra]
  • add init=/bin/systemd to your kernel cmdline in your bootloader
Note: If you are using grub2, kernel parameters are added in /etc/default/grub - GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="..."
Tip: systemd can be installed side-by-side with the regular Arch Linux initscripts, and they can be toggled by adding/removing the init=/bin/systemd kernel parameter.
  • To take advantage of the systemd way of starting services, you might also want the systemd-arch-units package.
Warning: systemd expects /usr to be mounted and available at bootup. If your /usr is on a separate partition, you will need to make accommodations to mount it from the initramfs and unmount it from a pivoted root on shutdown. See upstream's article: separate-usr-is-broken

Native systemd configuration files

Add a hostname


Console and keymap settings

The /etc/vconsole.conf file configures the virtual console, i.e. keyboard mapping and console font.


OS info

/etc/os-release contains data that is defined by the operating system vendor and should not be changed by the administrator.


Locale settings

Read man locale.conf for more options


Configure kernel modules to load during boot

systemd uses /etc/modules-load.d/ to configure kernel modules to load during boot in a static list. Each configuration file is named in the style of /etc/modules-load.d/<program>.conf. The configuration files should simply contain a list of kernel module names to load, separated by newlines. Empty lines and lines whose first non-whitespace character is # or ; are ignored. Example:

# Load virtio-net.ko at boot

See also Modprobe#Options

Configure kernel modules blacklist

Systemd uses /etc/modprobe.d/ to configure the blacklisting of kernel modules. Each configuration file is named in the style of /etc/modprobe.d/<program>.conf. Empty lines and lines whose first non-whitespace character is # or ; are ignored. Example:

blacklist snd_hda_intel


install snd_hda_intel /bin/false

See also Modprobe#Blacklisting

Describe temporary files

Systemd-tmpfiles uses the configuration files in /etc/tmpfiles.d/ to describe the creation, cleaning and removal of volatile and temporary files and directories which usually reside in directories such as /run or /tmp. Each configuration file is named in the style of /etc/tmpfiles.d/<program>.conf.

Systemd Journal

Since version 38 systemd has an own logging system.
To activate it you need to uncheck: LogTarget=journal-or-kmsg in /etc/systemd/system.conf.
By default the journal is stored in /var/run/log/. This makes it volatile. If you want the journal to be persistent, create a directory named "journal" in /var/log.
After a restart of systemd ($ systemctl daemon-reexec) systemd will start logging.
To read the log enter: $ systemd-journalctl or $ systemd-journalctl -a if you want to see unprintable characters and full lines instead of shortened lines.

Static network

Create /etc/conf.d/network file with following content:


Change a value as you need.

Then create network@.service file in /etc/systemd/system/

Description=Network Connectivity

ExecStart=/sbin/ip link set dev %I up
ExecStart=/sbin/ip addr add ${address}/${netmask} broadcast ${broadcast} dev %I
ExecStart=/sbin/ip route add default via ${gateway}
ExecStop=/sbin/ip addr flush dev %I
ExecStop=/sbin/ip link set dev %I down


Start service:

# systemctl start network@eth0.service

Add to start at boot:

# ln -sf /etc/systemd/system/network@.service /etc/systemd/system//multi-user.target.wants/network@eth0.service

Replace eth0 with other device name if needed.

Remote filesystem mounts

If you have NFS mounts listed in /etc/fstab then systemd will attempt to mount them but will typically do so too early (before networking has been configured). To get the timing correct we need to tell systemd explicitly that the mount depends on networking and on rpc.statd. To do this, create a file under /etc/systemd/system named <mount-unit-name>.mount with contents as follows.

Wants=network.target rpc-statd.service
After=network.target rpc-statd.service 


In the above

  • mount-unit-name is the full path to the mountpoint in an escaped format. For example, a mount unit for /usr/local must be named usr-local.mount.
  • mountpoint is the local mountpoint
  • server:share specify the remote filesystem in the same manner as for /etc/fstab

See systemd.unit(5) and systemd.mount(5) for further details.

A similar approach will probably be required for other remote filesystem types such as nfs4 and cifs.

Alternatively, you can mark these entries in /etc/fstab with the option comment=systemd.automount. Make sure that if you also include 'defaults' as a mount option, that you override the implicit 'auto' with 'noauto'. This will cause the device to be mounted on first access, similar to Autofs.

Using systemd

  • systemctl: used to introspect and control the state of the systemd system and service manager
  • systemd-cgls: recursively shows the contents of the selected Linux control group hierarchy in a tree
  • systemadm: a graphical frontend for the systemd system and service manager that allows introspection and control of systemd.

View the man pages for more details.

Listing running services

$ systemctl


$ systemctl list-units

The available services or units can be seen in /lib/systemd/system and /etc/systemd/system (the latter takes precedence).

Activates a service immediately:

# systemctl start <service>

Deactivates a service immediately:

# systemctl stop <service>

Restarts a service:

# systemctl restart <service>

Reloads a service:

# systemctl reload <service>

Shows status of a service including whether it is running or not:

# systemctl status <service>

Enables a service to be started on bootup:

# systemctl enable <service>

Disables a service to not start during bootup:

# systemctl disable <service>

Refer to man systemctl for more details.

Notice that you need to use the full name of a service file. E.g., in order to restart the avahi daemon, issue:

# systemctl restart avahi-daemon.service

Shut down and reboot the system

# systemctl reboot


Systemd has a concept of targets which serve a similar purpose as runlevels but act a little different. Each target is named instead of numbered and is intended to serve a specific purpose. Some targets are implemented by inheriting all of the services of another target and adding additional services to it. There are systemd targets that mimic the common SystemVinit runlevels so you can still switch targets using the familiar telinit RUNLEVEL command.

Get current runlevel/targets

Runlevel command still works with systemd. You can continue using that however runlevels is a legacy concept in systemd and is emulated via 'targets' and multiple targets can be active at the same time. So the equivalent in systemd terms is

# systemctl list-units --type=target

Create custom target

The runlevels that are assigned a specific purpose on vanilla Fedora installs; 0, 1, 3, 5, and 6; have a 1:1 mapping with a specific systemd target. Unfortunately, there is no good way to do the same for the user-defined runlevels like 2 and 4. If you make use of those it is suggested that you make a new named systemd target as /etc/systemd/system/$YOURTARGET that takes one of the existing runlevels as a base (you can look at /lib/systemd/system/graphical.target as an example), make a directory /etc/systemd/system/$YOURTARGET.wants, and then symlink the additional services that you want to enable into that directory. (The service unit files that you symlink live in /lib/systemd/system).

Targets table

SystemVinit Runlevel Systemd Target Notes
0 runlevel0.target, poweroff.target Halt the system.
1, s, single runlevel1.target, rescue.target Single user mode.
2, 4 runlevel2.target, runlevel4.target, multi-user.target User-defined/Site-specific runlevels. By default, identical to 3.
3 runlevel3.target, multi-user.target Multi-user, non-graphical. Users can usually login via multiple consoles or via the network.
5 runlevel5.target, graphical.target Multi-user, graphical. Usually has all the services of runlevel 3 plus a graphical login.
6 runlevel6.target, reboot.target Reboot
emergency emergency.target Emergency shell

Change current runlevels

In systemd runlevels are exposed via "target units". You can change them like this:

# systemctl isolate runlevel5.target

Note however, that the concept of runlevels is a bit out of date, and it is usually nicer to use modern names for this. e.g.:

# systemctl isolate graphical.target

This will only change the current runlevel, and has no effect on the next boot.

Change default runlevel/target to boot into

The standard target is default.target, which is aliased by default to graphical.target (which roughly corresponds to the old runlevel 5). To change the default target at boot-time, append one of the following kernel parameters to your GRUB kernel line:

  • systemd.unit=multi-user.target (which roughly corresponds to the old runlevel 3),
  • systemd.unit=rescue.target (which roughly corresponds to the old runlevel 1).

Alternatively, you may leave the bootloader alone and change default.target. This can be done using systemctl:

# systemctl enable multi-user.target

The effect of this command is outputted by systemctl; a symlink to the new default target is made at /etc/systemd/system/default.target. This works if and only if


is in the target's configuration file. Currently, multi-user.target and graphical.target both have it.

Running DEs under systemd

Using display manager

To enable graphical login, run your preferred Display Manager daemon (e.g. KDM). At the moment, service files exist for gdm, kdm and slim, but there is not one for xdm.

# systemctl enable kdm.service

This should work out of the box. If not, you might have a default.target set manually or from a older install:

# ls -l /etc/systemd/system/default.target
/etc/systemd/system/default.target -> /lib/systemd/system/graphical.target

Simply delete the symlink and systemd will use its stock default.target (i.e. graphical.target).

# rm /etc/systemd/system/default.target

On KDE start an error message will appear saying "console-kit-daemon.unit" could not be found. To solve this problem, install systemd-arch-units.

If /etc/locale.conf is used for setting the locale, add an entry to /etc/environment


Using service file

If you are only looking for a simple way to start X directly without a display manager, you can create a service file similar to this:

Description=Direct login to X
After=dev-tty7.device systemd-user-sessions.service

ExecStart=/bin/su <username> -l -c "/bin/bash --login -c xinit"


Arch integration

Integration with Arch's classic configuration is accomplished via the initscripts-systemd package. This is an optional package which can be used to ease the transition from sysVinit to systemd.

/etc/inittab is not used at all.

/etc/rc.local and /etc/rc.local.shutdown can be run at startup and shutdown by enabling rc-local.service.


Some variables in /etc/rc.conf are respected by this glue work. For a pure systemd setup it is recommended to use the native systemd configuration files (such as /etc/locale.conf, /etc/vconsole.conf, /etc/hostname, /etc/modules-load.d/*.conf) which will take precedence over /etc/rc.conf.

Supported variables:

  • DAEMONS: Ordering and blacklisting is respected, if a native systemd service file by the same name as a daemon exists, it will take precedence, this logic can be disabled by systemctl disable arch-daemons.target

Not supported variables and systemd configuration:

  • TIMEZONE: Please symlink /etc/localtime to your zoneinfo file manually.
  • HARDWARECLOCK: Use hwclock --systohc --utc to set your hardware clock to utc, localtime is not supported, see FAQ.
  • USELVM: use lvm.service provided by systemd-arch-units instead.

Initscripts package

initscripts-systemd contains unit files and scripts that are needed to emulate Arch's initscripts.

Warning: Unless you require the functionality from lvm.service or dmraid.service, usage of this package is not recommended. In particular, arch-persistent-settings.service and arch-daemons.target are unsupported as a long term solution and will be removed in the future. When ever possible, use native systemd configuration files instead.

Most people will not need all (if any) of these units, and they can be easily disabled by doing

# systemctl disable <unitfile>

if you determine that you do not want a particular unit.

The plan is to remove most of the functionality from this package as soon as it is handled elsewhere (mostly in udev/systemd/kernel).

The following is a brief description of the functionality of each of them. Alternative solutions are provided as a migration plan away from the functionality provided by this package.


Copies Arch's handling of LVM. Only needed if you use non-root LVM. In the future systemd will probably deal with this natively (in a much cleaner and more robust way).


Runs /etc/rc-local (resp., /etc/rc-local.shutdown) on boot (resp., shutdown).


Parses the DAEMONS array in /etc/rc.conf and starts the services. If a native systemd unit exists (by the same name) for a given daemon, this is used; otherwise, the script in /etc/rc.d/ is used to control the unit.

Alternative: use native unit files from the systemd-arch-units package


This is run at shutdown. Its aim is to make sure that any Arch Linux settings are applied on the next boot. In particular:

  • Sets the timezone based on /etc/rc.conf. Alternative: Create /etc/localtime as a symlink to your timezone file in /usr/share/zoneinfo.
  • Updates modle blacklists based on /etc/rc.conf (see /etc/modprobe.d/rc.conf). Alternative: Create a differently named copy of this file in /etc/modprobe.d.
  • Updates list of modules to be loaded based on /etc/rc.conf (see /etc/modules-load.d/rc.conf). Alternative: Create a differently named copy of this file in /etc/modules-load.d.

Helping out

Currently, systemd is mostly at feature parity with Arch's initscripts. However, a lot more testing is needed. If you would like to help out, you can fork the initscripts-systemd or systemd-arch-units git repos and submit pull requests for your additions.

If you have any questions, ask in the thread in the Arch forums.


For an up-to-date list of known issues, look at the upstream TODO.










Less output

Change 'verbose' to 'quiet' on the kernel line in GRUB. For some systems, particularly those with an SSD, the slow performance of the TTY is actually a bottleneck, and so less output means faster booting.

Early start

One central feature of systemd is dbus and socket activation, this causes services to be started when they are first accessed, and is generally a good thing. However, if you know that a service (like console-kit) will always be started during boot, then the overall boot time might be reduced by starting it as early as possible. This can be achieved (if the service file is set up for it, which in most cases it is) by issuing:

# systemctl enable console-kit-daemon.service

This will cause systemd to start console-kit as soon as possible, without causing races with the socket or dbus activation.


The default setup will fsck and mount all filesystems before starting most daemons and services. If you have a large /home partition, it might be better to allow services that do not depend on /home to start while /home is being fsck'ed. This can be achieved by adding the following options to the fstab entry of your /home partition


This will fsck and mount /home when it is first accessed, and the kernel will buffer all file access to /home until it is ready.


Note: As of filesystem-2011.12, /etc/mtab is now symlinked to /proc/self/mounts.

systemd requires that /etc/mtab be a symlink to /proc/self/mounts, or the following warning will be printed:

/etc/mtab is not a symlink or not pointing to /proc/self/mounts. This is not supported anymore. Please make sure to replace this file by a symlink to avoid incorrect or misleading mount(8) output.

Replace the file with a symlink with ln:

# ln -fs /proc/self/mounts /etc/mtab

Without doing this, features such as automounting through /etc/fstab will be unavailable.

Disabling native mount

With v12 or later, you can disable the native mount and fsck facility in /etc/systemd/system.conf.

Note: These options are enabled by default.


systemd comes with its own readahead implementation, this should in principle improve boot time. However, depending on your kernel version and the type of your hard drive, your mileage may vary (i.e. it might be slower). To enable, do:

# systemctl enable systemd-readahead-collect.service
# systemctl enable systemd-readahead-replay.service

Remember that in order for the readahead to work its magic, you should reboot a couple of times.

User sessions

systemd can divide user sessions into cgroups. Add "session optional pam_systemd.so" to your relevant /etc/pam.d files (e.g., login for tty logins, sshd for remote access, kde for password kdm logins, kde-np for automatic kdm logins).


$ systemd-cgls systemd:/system/getty@.service
├ tty5
│ └ 904 /sbin/agetty tty5 38400
├ tty2
│ ├ 13312 /bin/login --
│ └ 15765 -zsh


$ systemd-cgls systemd:/user/example/
├ 4
│ ├   902 /bin/login --
│ └ 16016 -zsh

See also