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Other Systemd Components on Debian and Ubuntu

0. Specs

0.1. Intro

The first Systemd tutorial, namely SystemdOnDebianUbuntu was about systemd's init and service management properties.

Systemd has more than that, it has a lot of other services and tools. This tutorial covers them.

You may think that I like systemd. Not at all, I don't like it, more precisely I hate it. Just because, my favorite distros (Debian and Ubuntu) uses it, I have to learn it too.

0.2. Sources

For this tutorial I tried another approach. Instead of searching information from the internet and the books; I asked questions to ChatGPT and collected the answers.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) there were a lot of wrong information from ChatGPP. I checked every answer before I prepare this tutorial.

The AI still needs a lot of work before becoming really useful.

1. Services

Debian 12 and Ubuntu 24.04 Server has the following systemd services by default:

1.1. systemd-journald

Responsible for collecting, storing, and managing log data on Linux systems.

It is the default logging system on systems using systemd, including Debian and Ubuntu Linux distributions.

1.1.1. Logs

1.1.2. Configuration

Configuration file is /etc/systemd/journald.conf file.

# /etc/systemd/journald.conf

# Specify the maximum disk space that journal files may use.
# The default is infinity (i.e., unlimited).

# Specify the maximum disk space that should be used for runtime logs.

# Specify the maximum disk space that may be used for log data.
# This controls both system and runtime logs.
# The default is infinity (i.e., unlimited).

# Specify the maximum number of individual journal files to retain.
# Older files are deleted when the limit is reached.

# Specify the maximum number of runtime journal files to retain.
# Older files are deleted when the limit is reached.

# Specify the maximum number of journal files to retain.
# This controls both system and runtime logs.
# Older files are deleted when the limit is reached.

# Compress and store journal files in a read-only archive directory.
# Uncomment the line below and specify the archive directory path.
# This reduces the disk space usage but prevents further writes to the archived 
# logs.
# Also, consider setting "Storage=auto" if using this option.
# Compress=yes
# SystemKeepFree=50M
# RuntimeKeepFree=50M
# KeepFree=100M

# Specify a higher verbosity level for detailed log information.
# Options: "emerg", "alert", "crit", "err", "warning", "notice", "info", "debug".
# The default is "info".
# LogLevel=debug

# Specify the maximum runtime for system services to finish startup.
# This helps in capturing early boot logs completely.
# The default is 30s.
# RuntimeMaxSec=30s

# Enable persistent journal storage across reboots.
# The default is "auto".
# Storage=auto

# Disable persistent journal storage.
# Storage=none

# Specify the maximum size of individual journal files.
# The default is 8M.
# SystemMaxFileSize=16M
# RuntimeMaxFileSize=16M
# MaxFileSize=32M

# Specify the rate limit for journal events in bytes per second.
# The default is 1M.
# RateLimitBurst=2M
# RateLimitIntervalSec=30s

# Enable forwarding of journal logs to syslog.
# ForwardToSyslog=yes

# Specify the syslog identifier to use when forwarding logs.
# ForwardToSyslogIdentifier=journal

Activate the changed configuration:

sudo systemctl restart systemd-journald

1.2. systemd-logind

Manages user sessions and seat devices on Linux systems.

It is responsible for handling user logins, seat management (logical grouping of input and output devices), and various aspects of the user environment.

1.2.1. Key Points

1.2.2. Configuration

Configuration file: /etc/systemd/logind.conf file.

# /etc/systemd/logind.conf

# This controls whether systemd-logind shall remove all sessions and seats
# on logout. This includes killing all processes in these sessions and
# stopping any session scope units that may be active. Note that enabling
# this setting may result in multiple sessions being created and removed
# on login and logout of a user.
#Default: yes

# ConsoleKit compatibility
# In addition to SessionsActivated, which can be used to check whether a
# user session is registered with systemd-logind, this switch enables
# basic ConsoleKit compatibility.
#Default: yes

# ReserveVT=N tells logind to leave N VTs unbound from it and do not
# release them from its VT pool. This option is only useful for embedded
# and appliance-like systems where the system console shall always be
# bound to VT number 1 or similar. In this case, set this to 1.
#Default: 6

# Kill only user processes that are part of the same session as the
# service that is being terminated. Setting this to "yes" is equivalent
# to enabling KillUserProcesses=yes.
#Default: no

# Enable power management features when requested by a graphical session
# (with "HandlePowerKey=ignore" in logind.conf). This includes
# logind's inhibitors mechanism that is used to block system sleep/shutdown
# via inhibitors of running multimedia sessions.
#Default: yes

# HandleRebootKey and HandlePowerKey are not handled by logind when
# the caller is not root or a member of the group root. The user is expected
# to start "systemctl start shutdown.target", "systemctl start reboot.target"
# manually in the session.
# NOTE: PowerKey and RebootKey must be set to "ignore" to disable any
# handling, even if HandlePowerKey/HandleRebootKey is set to "yes".

# Disable user switching
# Allow users who are logged in on one virtual terminal to switch to
# another one.
#Default: yes

# Enable user switching

# Handle displays that are attached to seats (such as graphics cards).
# If all seats are taken, users with displays attached to a seat are not
# allowed to log in.
#Default: yes

# Handle automatic handling of display numbering, based on the seat and
# hardware ID of the graphics card. See "systemd-localed.service" for details.
#Default: no

# Controls whether logind shall use ACLs and other mechanisms to control the
# access to the devices seats depend on. ACLs and other controls might add
# security, but may lead to problems when running certain setups (e.g.
# multiseat). Turn this off if you experience problems.
#Default: yes

Activate the new conf

sudo systemctl restart systemd-logind

1.3. systemd-networkd

This service is not active in default Debian 12 installation.

Ubuntu installations use netplan as an interface to networkd.

Manages network configurations on Linux systems. It is designed to provide a simple and efficient way to configure and manage network interfaces, including wired and wireless connections.

1.3.1. Key Points

1.3.2. Configuration

Relies on configuration files (with a .network extension) in the /etc/systemd/network/ directory.

A simple systemd-networkd configuration file for DHCP

# /etc/systemd/network/eth0.network


This configuration file tells systemd-networkd to apply the settings to the network interface named "eth0" and to use DHCP for IP configuration.

A detailed configuration with a static IP address, DNS settings, and additional options for a more comprehensive configuration.

# /etc/systemd/network/20-wired.network



1.3.3. Important Notes

Please remember that; Debian 12 does not use systemd-networkd; and Ubuntu 24.04 uses Netplan for network configuration. Netplan generates networkd configuration files on /run/systemd/network directory; you are not supposed to change those files.

1.4. systemd-resolved

This service is not active in a default Debian 12 installation.

Provides network name resolution services on Linux systems. It is responsible for DNS resolution and provides a local DNS stub resolver and caching daemon.

1.4.1. Key Points

1.4.2. Configuration

The configuration file is /etc/systemd/resolved.conf.

Simple example configuration

# /etc/systemd/resolved.conf

Detailed example configuration

# /etc/systemd/resolved.conf

# Specify DNS servers to use for name resolution.
# Multiple servers can be separated by spaces.
# You can use IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.
# Example DNS settings for Google Public DNS:
# DNS=
# DNS=2001:4860:4860::8888 2001:4860:4860::8844

# Enable DNS over TLS (DoT) for encrypted and authenticated communication with 
# DNS servers.
# This enhances the security and privacy of DNS queries.
# DNSOverTLS=yes

# Specify the DNSSEC (DNS Security Extensions) validation mode.
# Valid options: "allow-downgrade", "opportunistic", "require", and "no".
# DNSSEC=yes

# Enable DNSSEC negative trust anchors.
# DNSSECNegativeTrustAnchors=yes

# Specify the domains for which DNS queries should use DNS over TLS.
# Domains using DoT will not fall back to plaintext DNS.
# DNSOverTLSDomains=example.com test.net

# Specify the search domains for unqualified hostnames.
# Multiple domains can be separated by spaces.
# SearchDomains=example.com subdomain.example.net

# Specify the domains for which LLMNR (Link-Local Multicast Name Resolution) 
# should be used.
# LLMNR=yes

# Specify the multicast DNS (mDNS) domains.
# mDNS=yes

# Specify the time to live (TTL) for positive cache entries in seconds.
# CacheTTL=120

# Specify the TTL for negative cache entries in seconds.
# NegativeCacheTTL=120

# Specify the maximum size of the cache in kilobytes.
# CacheLimit=512M

# Specify the maximum number of DNS messages in transit.
# Messages max transit=4096

# Enable DNS fallback in case the resolved server cannot be contacted.
# FallbackDNS=

# Enable caching DNS negative responses.
# CacheNegative=yes

# Enable automatic reconfiguration of resolved in response to network changes.
# DynamicUser=yes

1.5. systemd-timesyncd

Designed to synchronize the system clock across a network, ensuring accurate timekeeping on Linux systems.

It acts as a simple NTP (Network Time Protocol) client, allowing your system to regularly synchronize its clock with remote NTP servers.

1.5.1. Key Points

1.5.2. Configuration

Example configuration:

# /etc/systemd/timesyncd.conf

# Specify the NTP servers to use for time synchronization.
# Multiple servers can be specified, separated by spaces.
# Example NTP servers:
# NTP=pool.ntp.org time.google.com

# Specify the time to wait for the initial synchronization in seconds.
# The default is 1 minute.
# TimeoutStartSec=1min

# Specify the interval between updates.
# The default is 5 minutes.
# PollIntervalMinSec=5min

# Enable or disable systemd-timesyncd's NTP server.
# The default is "no".
# EnableNTP=yes

# Enable or disable setting the system clock from the RTC.
# The default is "yes".
# RTCUseUtc=yes

Detailed Example

# /etc/systemd/timesyncd.conf

# Specify the NTP servers to use for time synchronization.
# Multiple servers can be specified, separated by spaces.
# Example NTP servers:
# NTP=pool.ntp.org time.google.com

# Specify the time to wait for the initial synchronization in seconds.
# The default is 1 minute.
# TimeoutStartSec=1min

# Specify the interval between updates.
# The default is 5 minutes.
# PollIntervalMinSec=5min

# Enable or disable systemd-timesyncd's NTP server.
# The default is "no".
# EnableNTP=yes

# Enable or disable setting the system clock from the RTC.
# The default is "yes".
# RTCUseUtc=yes

# Specify the maximum allowed adjustment in seconds.
# If the difference between the system clock and the NTP server exceeds this 
# value, a larger step will be used to correct the time.
# The default is 0.2 seconds.
# MaxOffsetSec=1

# Specify the maximum acceptable root distance.
# This is the maximum possible error due to the network latency in seconds.
# The default is 5 seconds.
# RootDistanceMaxSec=5

# Specify the maximum acceptable polling interval for reaching out to NTP 
# servers.
# The default is 64 seconds.
# PollIntervalMaxSec=64

# Specify the minimum acceptable polling interval.
# The default is 32 seconds.
# PollIntervalMinSec=32

1.6. systemd-udevd

Responsible for handling device events and managing the device nodes in the Linux kernel's /dev directory.

It is a dynamic device management daemon that monitors hardware changes and triggers actions based on device-related events.

1.6.1. Key Points

1.6.2. Configuration

Rules are written in /etc/udev/rules.d/ directory.

Rules can include actions such as running scripts, creating symlinks, setting permissions, and more.

Rules specify actions to be taken for specific devices. Common actions include "add," "remove," "change," and "move."

Rules can execute custom scripts or commands in response to events, allowing for fine-grained customization of device handling.

An example rule that runs a script when a USB drive with a specific vendor ID is inserted:

# /etc/udev/rules.d/80-custom-network.rules

# Rule for a USB drive with vendor ID 1234
SUBSYSTEM=="block", ACTION=="add", ENV{ID_VENDOR_ID}=="1234", RUN+="/path/to/custom-script.sh"

Various conditions can be used to match devices based on attributes such as subsystem, kernel, device name, and more.

udev provides a set of variables that you can use in your rules. Like: SUBSYSTEM, KERNEL, ID_VENDOR_ID, ID_MODEL_ID

1.7. systemd-tmpfiles

Responsible for managing temporary files and directories on a Linux system.

It provides a mechanism for creating and cleaning up temporary files and directories at system startup and during runtime.

1.7.1. Configuration

Configuration files are in /usr/lib/tmpfiles.d/ and /etc/tmpfiles.d/ directories.

Configuration Format:
[Type] Path Mode Age Argument

Example configuration:

# /etc/tmpfiles.d/my_temporary_files.conf

# Create a directory with specific permissions
d /var/my_temp_dir 0755 root root -

# Create an empty file with specific permissions
f /var/my_temp_file 0644 root root -

# Remove files older than 7 days in a specific directory
D /var/log/my_logs/*.log - - - 7d

1.7.2. Examples

Create a temporary directory at boot.

# /etc/tmpfiles.d/my_temp_directory.conf

# Type 'd' indicates creating a directory
d /var/my_temp_directory 0755 root root -

Create an empty file with specific permissions.

# /etc/tmpfiles.d/my_temp_file.conf

# Type 'f' indicates creating an empty file
f /var/my_temp_file 0644 root root -

Remove log files older than 7 days:

# /etc/tmpfiles.d/remove_old_logs.conf

# Type 'D' indicates removing files older than a specified age
D /var/log/my_logs/*.log - - - 7d

Create a symbolic link:

# /etc/tmpfiles.d/create_symlink.conf

# Type 'L' indicates creating a symbolic link
L /var/my_symlink - /var/my_target_file

Apply the changes

sudo systemd-tmpfiles --create

1.8. systemd-binfmt

Responsible for handling binary formats.

Binary formats are the different executable file formats that a system can support.

1.8.1. Key Points

For binfmt_misc to work, the kernel must be compiled with support for CONFIG_BINFMT_MISC.

1.8.2. Configuration

The configuration files are in /etc/binfmt.d/.

Each configuration file defines rules for handling specific binary formats. This directory is empty at default Debian 12 and Ubuntu 24.04 installations.

Configuration files follow a simple key-value format. Each rule defines the binary format and specifies the interpreter to use.

# /etc/binfmt.d/my_format.conf

The last part of the configuration file specifies optional arguments for the interpreter. In the example, OC specifies that the interpreter should be called with the OC argument.

Enable a binfmt rule

sudo systemctl enable binfmt@my_format.service

Disable a binfmt rule

sudo systemctl disable binfmt@my_format.service

Check the status of binfmt rules

systemctl status binfmt@my_format.service

1.9. systemd-modules-load

Responsible for loading kernel modules at system boot.

Runs as a service (systemd-modules-load.service) and is typically started automatically during system boot.

The configuration files are in /etc/modules-load.d/ directory. Files in /etc/modules-load.d/ specify which kernel modules should be loaded at boot time.

Syntax is simple: each line represents the name of a module to be loaded.

# /etc/modules-load.d/my_modules.conf

# Load the 'vboxdrv' module for VirtualBox

In addition to using the /etc/modules-load.d/ directory, Debian and Ubuntu systems traditionally had an /etc/modules file where you could list modules to be loaded. This file is still supported, but systemd-modules-load primarily uses the /etc/modules-load.d/ directory.

1.10. systemd-random-seed

Responsible for initializing the kernel's entropy pool with random data during the system's startup.

The entropy pool is essential for generating cryptographic keys and ensuring the randomness of various cryptographic operations on a Linux system.

The primary purpose of systemd-random-seed is to initialize the kernel's entropy pool during the early boot phase.

The kernel maintains an entropy pool that serves as a source of randomness for cryptographic operations. Having a sufficient amount of entropy is crucial for the security of the system.

Reads random data from /var/lib/systemd/random-seed and uses it to seed the kernel's entropy pool during the system's startup. This file is typically created during the shutdown process and saved to preserve the entropy across reboots.

The random data used to seed the entropy pool is collected from various sources, including interrupt timing, keyboard and mouse events, and other sources of hardware and environmental noise.

The seed file is restricted to ensure its security. It is owned by root and readable only by the root user.

systemd-random-seed operates during the early stages of the boot process, ensuring that the kernel's entropy pool is adequately seeded before cryptographic services and applications that rely on random data become active.

1.11. systemd-remount-fs

Responsible for remounting the root file system with specific mount options during the early boot process.

This service is typically involved in adjusting the mount options for the root file system before other services are started, ensuring that the file system is mounted with the desired configuration.

Key aspects of systemd-remount-fs:

# /etc/systemd/system.conf snippet:
# ...

# Set root file system mount options

1.12. systemd-sysctl

Provides a way to configure kernel parameters at runtime on Linux systems. It is a systemd service responsible for applying sysctl settings during the system's boot process.

Sysctl settings are used to configure various aspects of the Linux kernel, influencing its behavior and performance.

The main sysctl configuration file is /etc/sysctl.conf. It can be used to set global sysctl settings. However, it is recommended to use the /etc/sysctl.d/ directory for custom configurations.

Example sysctl configuration file

# /etc/sysctl.d/99-my-custom-settings.conf

# Increase the maximum number of file handles

# Enable TCP window scaling

# Increase the maximum number of network connections
net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range=1024 65000

Apply the changes:

sudo sysctl --system

The /usr/lib/sysctl.d/ directory contains default sysctl configuration files provided by packages. Files in this directory should not be modified, as changes may be overwritten during package updates.

1.13. systemd-sysusers

Responsible for creating and managing system users and groups during the early stages of system boot.

It operates based on configuration files that define the users and groups to be created, their attributes, and other related settings. This tool is often used in conjunction with other systemd components to ensure consistent and predictable user and group management.

Configuration files are in /usr/lib/sysusers.d/ directory. Each file contains instructions for creating or removing system users and groups.

Configuration files can also specify users and groups that should be removed.

This allows for cleaning up obsolete or unnecessary users and groups.

Attributes such as UID (User ID), GID (Group ID), home directory, shell, and user comment can be specified in the configuration files.

Example configuration file

# /etc/sysusers.d/my_users.conf

u johndoe - John Doe:/home/johndoe:/bin/bash
g mygroup - My Group

Applying Changes:

sudo systemd-sysusers

2. Tools

2.1. systemctl

Used to control and query the state of the systemd system and service manager.

It is a central tool for managing services, viewing logs, and interacting with the initialization system on systems using systemd as the init system.

Check the status of a service:

systemctl status apache2

Stop a service:

sudo systemctl stop apache2

Start a service:

sudo systemctl start apache2

Disable a service from starting on boot:

sudo systemctl disable apache2

Enable a service to start on boot:

sudo systemctl enable apache2

Restart a service:

sudo systemctl restart apache2

Reload the configuration of a running service without restarting it:

sudo systemctl reload apache2

Show a service's dependencies:

systemctl list-dependencies apache2

List all loaded units (services, sockets, targets, etc.):

systemctl list-units

List failed units (units that failed to start):

systemctl --failed

Display detailed information about a unit, including its configuration:

systemctl show apache2

Mask a unit (prevent it from being started):

sudo systemctl mask apache2

Unmask a previously masked unit:

sudo systemctl unmask apache2

Enter rescue mode for system maintenance:

sudo systemctl rescue

Enter emergency mode for critical system recovery:

sudo systemctl emergency

2.2. journalctl

Provides access to the logs generated by the journal facility in the systemd system and service manager.

On Debian and Ubuntu systems, journalctl is commonly used to query and display messages from the journal.

View the journal

sudo journalctl

View the journal for a systemd unit or target

sudo journalctl -u apache2.service

Filtering by time.
Show logs from the last 30 minutes

sudo journalctl --since "30 minutes ago"

Show logs from a specific date and time range

sudo journalctl --since "2024-01-01 08:00:00" --until "2024-01-01 12:00:00"

See live journal (Ctrl-C to quit)

sudo journalctl -f

Display logs for the current boot

sudo journalctl --boot

View kernel messages

sudo journalctl -k

Export journal entries to a file

sudo journalctl > journal.log

Change output format to Json

sudo journalctl -o json

Filter by priority (e.g., emerg, alert, crit, err, warning, notice, info, debug).

sudo journalctl -p err

View logs for a specific Process ID

sudo journalctl _PID=1234

Clear the journal

sudo journalctl --vacuum-size=50M

The size of the journal can be managed through the SystemMaxUse and RuntimeMaxUse options in the /etc/systemd/journald.conf configuration file.

2.3. systemd-analyze

Used to analyze and display information about the system's boot and initialization process. It provides insights into how long the system took to boot, the time spent by individual services, and other related information.

Basic Boot Time Information


Display the chain of units that took the most time during boot.

systemd-analyze critical-chain

Show the time taken by each service during boot, sorted by the time taken.

systemd-analyze blame

Generate a SVG plot of the time spent by each unit during boot.

systemd-analyze plot > plot.svg

Display security-relevant information about the system's boot.

systemd-analyze security

Create a detailed graphical representation of time usage for different units.

systemd-analyze plot > plot.svg

2.4. hostnamectl

Used for querying and changing the system hostname and related settings on Linux systems. It provides a convenient way to manage the system's hostname and view additional information about the system.

Display information about the system's hostname and related settings


This command provides information such as the static hostname, transient hostname, icon name, chassis type, and more.

Set the static hostname (the system's fully qualified domain name)

sudo hostnamectl set-hostname your-new-hostname

Set the transient hostname. The transient hostname is a runtime hostname that is set temporarily and may not persist after a reboot.

sudo hostnamectl set-hostname --transient your-temporary-hostname

Set the pretty hostname. The pretty hostname is a free-form UTF-8 encoded string describing the host.

sudo hostnamectl set-hostname --pretty "Your Pretty Hostname"

Check hostname status.

hostnamectl status

2.5. loginctl

Used for introspecting and interacting with the state of the systemd login manager.

It provides information about user sessions, seats, and the status of the user manager.

Some common uses of the loginctl command:

Display a list of current user sessions

loginctl list-sessions

Display a list of seats

loginctl list-seats

Displaying session properties

loginctl show-session SESSION_ID

Displaying seat properties

loginctl show-seat SEAT_NAME

Show information about the user manager

loginctl show-user USER_NAME

Display a list of processes associated with a specific session:

loginctl session-status SESSION_ID

Terminate a specific user session:

loginctl terminate-session SESSION_ID

Display a list of user session IDs:

loginctl list-users

2.6. localectl

Allows to query and change system locale and keyboard layout settings. It provides a convenient way to manage and inspect the system's locale-related configurations.

Show the current system locale settings.


Show a list of available locales that can be set on the system.

localectl list-locales

Set the system locale.

sudo localectl set-locale LANG=en_US.UTF-8

Display a concise status summary, including locale and keyboard layout information.

localectl status

2.7. systemd-ask-password

Used for querying the user for authentication-related information, such as passwords or passphrases, in a secure and standardized way. It is often used in conjunction with various systemd services or components that may need to request passwords during the system boot process or at runtime.

Some key aspects of systemd-ask-password:

Usage: The command is typically used by other systemd components or services to request passwords interactively.

Invocation: systemd-ask-password is usually invoked by other systemd components or services and may not be used directly by users from the command line.

Systemd Components Using systemd-ask-password: Components like systemd-cryptsetup, which handles encrypted disk volumes, or services requiring authentication during boot, may use systemd-ask-password to prompt the user for passwords in a secure manner.

Modes: systemd-ask-password supports different modes of operation, such as prompting the user on the console, querying a password agent, or sending the password request to a wall message.

Password Agents: In some cases, systemd-ask-password may communicate with a password agent, such as systemd-tty-ask-password-agent, to handle password requests. This allows for a more flexible and secure way of handling passwords, especially in non-interactive or headless environments.

Communication: Communication between systemd-ask-password and password agents is done through file descriptors, ensuring a secure and reliable means of passing sensitive information.

Security: systemd-ask-password is designed to handle password prompts securely, ensuring that passwords are not inadvertently leaked or exposed during the authentication process.

Wall Message: The --wall option can be used to send a wall message (broadcast message to all users) requesting a password.

systemd-ask-password --wall "Please enter the encryption password:"

This might be used by services like disk decryption to inform users about the need for a password.

Integration with Other Tools: systemd-ask-password is often part of a larger workflow involving other systemd tools and services, especially those related to system initialization, encryption, or authentication.

Examples of Use:
- Password requests during disk decryption. - Password requests for encrypted home directories. - Authentication requests for services during runtime.

2.8. systemd-cat

systemd-cat is a command-line utility that is part of the systemd suite. Its primary purpose is to concatenate and print messages to the journal, which is managed by systemd-journald.

Can be used as a prefix to other commands or scripts to capture their output and send it to the journal.

systemd-cat echo "Hello, systemd!"

Redirect the standard output and standard error of a command or script to the journal.

systemd-cat -p info ls /etc

Set message priority. The priority levels include "emerg," "alert," "crit," "err," "warning," "notice," "info," and "debug."

systemd-cat -p err echo "An error occurred."

Logging from scripts

echo "Script is running." | systemd-cat

you can use journalctl to retrieve and filter these messages.

journalctl _SYSTEMD_UNIT=echo.service

2.9. systemd-cgls

Used for listing and displaying the hierarchy of control groups (cgroups).

Control groups are a feature of the Linux kernel that enables the organization and management of processes into hierarchical groups with resource constraints and accounting.

systemd-cgls is primarily used to visualize the hierarchy of control groups and their relationships. It provides a tree-like representation of the cgroup hierarchy.


The output of systemd-cgls shows the control groups arranged in a tree structure, indicating the parent-child relationships. Each line represents a cgroup, and indentation indicates the hierarchy.

Example simplified output:

   │ ├─session-c1.scope
   │ │ └─1337 sshd: johndoe@pts/0
   │ └─session-c2.scope
   │   ├─1445 bash
   │   ├─1452 systemd-cgls
   │   └─1453 less
   └─1555 sshd: janedoe@pts/1

2.10. systemd-cgtop

Provides a real-time, dynamic view of the resource usage of systemd control groups (cgroups) on a Linux system.

Run systemd-cgtop with default settings:

sudo systemd-cgtop

This will display real-time statistics for all control groups.

Quits displaying after 5 updates.

sudo systemd-cgtop -n 5

Display tree view

sudo systemd-cgtop -t

2.11. systemd-delta

Used to display the differences between configuration files provided by different packages and the runtime configuration of the system. It helps identify changes made to the default systemd configuration by administrators or other packages on the system.

When you run systemd-delta, it scans the system's configuration directories and compares the shipped configuration files from packages with the runtime configuration on the system. It then displays the differences.

systemd-delta scans several directories for configuration files, including /etc/systemd/, /run/systemd/, and /usr/lib/systemd/.

Changes made by administrators are marked with +/ (additions) or ! (modifications).

Changes made by packages are marked with +/ (additions) or -/ (deletions).

List all changes made to systemd unit files and configuration files:

sudo systemd-delta

Display changes in a specific directory (e.g., /etc/systemd/system/):

sudo systemd-delta /etc/systemd/system/

2.12. systemd-detect-virt

Used to detect the type of virtualization technology or hypervisor that a Linux system is currently running on. This can be useful in scripts or system initialization routines where the behavior might need to be adjusted based on whether the system is running on physical hardware or within a virtualized environment.

The command is typically used in shell scripts or systemd service files to conditionally execute specific actions based on the detected virtualization type.


The command outputs the detected virtualization type or "none" if no virtualization is detected.

qemu: QEMU or KVM
kvm: KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine)
vmware: VMware
oracle: Oracle VM VirtualBox
microsoft: Microsoft Hyper-V
xen: Xen
bochs: Bochs
uml: User-Mode Linux
parallels: Parallels

Using systemd-detect-virt in a script

if [ "$(systemd-detect-virt)" = "qemu" ]; then
  echo "Running on QEMU/KVM"
  echo "Not running on QEMU/KVM"

Exit Codes:

0: Detected virtualization. The detected virtualization type will be printed to stdout. 1: No virtualization detected. 2: Invalid or missing arguments.

2.13. systemd-escape

Used to escape strings, making them suitable for use as filenames, unit names, or other identifiers in the systemd ecosystem. This is particularly useful for generating valid and safe names for systemd units, files, and other resources.

Escapes special characters in the input string, replacing them with safe alternatives. For example, slashes ("/") might be replaced with dashes ("-").

systemd-escape "My Service"



2.14. systemd-inhibit

Used to inhibit the system from certain actions or events for the duration of a specified command or until the command exits. This is useful for preventing actions that might interfere with a running operation or task.

The command is commonly employed to avoid disruptions during critical processes like software installations, backups, or presentations.

Command Syntax

systemd-inhibit [OPTIONS] COMMAND

Various options can be used to specify the actions to be inhibited and other properties. Some common options include:

Example Usage:
Inhibit shutdown while a backup operation is in progress:

sudo systemd-inhibit --what=shutdown --why="Backup in progress" \

Inhibit sleep while a presentation is running:

sudo  systemd-inhibit --what=sleep --why="Presentation in progress" \

Inhibition Modes:

block: Blocks the action until the command exits.
delay: Delays the action until the command exits.
fail: Fails the command if the action cannot be inhibited.

List current inhibitions

systemd-inhibit --list

2.15. systemd-machine-id-setup

Used to initialize or regenerate the machine ID on a Linux system.

The machine ID is a unique identifier associated with a specific installation of an operating system. It is often used by various system components and applications to distinguish between different systems.

The machine ID is stored in the /etc/machine-id file. It is a 32-character hexadecimal string that uniquely identifies the system. Applications and services often use the machine ID for various purposes, such as generating unique identifiers or ensuring system-specific configurations.

During the first boot of a Linux system, systemd-machine-id-setup is typically called to generate a random machine ID and store it in /etc/machine-id.

If, for any reason, the machine ID needs to be regenerated (for example, in the case of system cloning or copying an installation), administrators can run systemd-machine-id-setup to create a new machine ID.

sudo systemd-machine-id-setup

This command generates a new machine ID and updates the /etc/machine-id file.

In scenarios where system images are cloned or deployed to multiple machines, it's essential to regenerate the machine ID on each cloned system using systemd-machine-id-setup to ensure uniqueness.

While systemd-machine-id-setup is the recommended way to manage the machine ID, the /etc/machine-id file can also be edited manually. However, it's generally advised to use the provided tools to avoid potential issues.

2.16. systemd-mount

Used for mounting and unmounting file systems. It provides a convenient interface to mount and manage various types of filesystems and network shares.

The utility is designed to work with systemd's broader system and service management capabilities.

Can be used to mount network file systems like NFS or SMB.

sudo systemd-mount -t nfs server:/export /mnt/nfs

To unmount a filesystem, use the --umount option.

sudo systemd-mount --umount /mnt/data

Mounts managed by systemd-mount are often associated with systemd mount units, providing additional control and configuration options.

2.17. systemd-notify

Allows a service or script to notify systemd about its status and readiness.

This tool is often used by long-running services to signal when they have completed initialization or specific milestones. It's a way for services to communicate with systemd and integrate with the overall service management infrastructure.

When a service uses systemd-notify, it sends signals to systemd, allowing systemd to track the service's progress and readiness. This information is valuable for systemd's dependency tracking and ordering of services during startup.

Example in a Service Unit:

ExecStartPost=/bin/systemd-notify --ready

In this example, myservice is expected to call systemd-notify --ready after it has completed its initialization.

2.18. systemd-path

Provides a way to query various system and user paths managed by systemd. It allows you to retrieve information about directories, files, and other paths that systemd uses or manages. This command is typically used for scripting or querying system information in a consistent manner.

Print the system and users path


2.19. systemd-run

Allows users to run transient systemd services and service units. It provides a simple way to create and manage temporary or one-shot services without the need to write custom unit files. This can be useful for testing, ad-hoc tasks, or running short-lived processes.

Unlike traditional systemd services, using systemd-run does not require writing and managing unit files. Instead, the user provides the command to be executed directly on the command line.

Transient units created by systemd-run are isolated from the calling terminal, and they run in their own scope. This helps prevent interference with other services or processes.

Transient services created by systemd-run can be of different types, such as simple services (--service-type=simple), forking services (--service-type=forking), or executed directly (--service-type=exec).

Once the transient service completes, systemd-run provides information about the service's exit status, runtime, and resource usage.

Transient services created by systemd-run are automatically cleaned up once the service completes, making it suitable for short-lived tasks.

Execute the echo command within a transient service.

sudo systemd-run echo "Hello, systemd-run!"

This example uses the --pipe option to capture the output, and --collect to ensure that the transient service's logs are collected and stored.

sudo systemd-run --pipe --collect echo "Capturing output in journal logs"
sudo journalctl -b -u transient-*.scope

This example sets a CPU time quota of 50% and a memory limit of 100 megabytes for the transient service.

sudo systemd-run --unit=my-service --service-type=exec --property=CPUQuota=50% \
   --property=MemoryLimit=100M -- /path/to/executable

Run a command as a specific user:

sudo systemd-run --uid=username --gid=groupname command-to-be-executed

This example uses --scope to create a transient service in the background and runs the sleep command for 300 seconds.

sudo systemd-run --scope --unit=my-background-service sleep 300

2.20. systemd-socket-activate

Facilitates socket-based activation for services.

Socket activation is a mechanism that allows services to be started on-demand when a connection is made to a specific network socket. This approach helps improve system efficiency by delaying the initialization of services until they are actually needed.

Socket activation is an alternative to the traditional method of starting services at boot time. Instead of having services running continuously in the background, services are started dynamically when a connection is made to a specific socket.

In systemd, a socket unit is defined to represent a network socket. When a connection is made to this socket, systemd activates the associated service.

2.21. systemd-stdio-bridge

Designed to act as a bridge between standard input/output streams and a client-server architecture. It facilitates communication between a traditional (non-systemd) daemon that expects input/output on standard input/output and a systemd service that runs in a separate process.

It is used to adapt daemons that are not originally designed to work with systemd socket activation. It allows these daemons to be socket-activated by systemd.

When a daemon is adapted to use systemd-stdio-bridge, systemd creates a socket for the daemon and starts systemd-stdio-bridge as a separate process. The bridge connects the standard input/output of the daemon to the socket, allowing it to communicate with clients through the socket.