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systemd - system and service manager


systemd is a system and service manager for Linux. systemd is compatible with SysV and LSB init scripts. It can work as a drop-in replacement for sysvinit. Systemd

Please see the upstream page for more information.

Installing and Testing

systemd was included in Debian wheezy as a technology preview. Please make sure that you are using Debian testing or newer to get a recent version of systemd.


To install systemd run:

# apt-get update
# apt-get install systemd

This will install the systemd packages but will not configure systemd as your init system.

Configuring for testing

To test systemd before switching to it by default, you can add the following boot parameter to the kernel:


This can be done in the grub menu for a single boot - press "e" in the grub menu and add this to the kernel line. For example, depending on the options required for your particular system, it might look something like:

linux   /vmlinuz-3.13-1-amd64 root=/dev/mapper/root-root init=/bin/systemd ro quiet

If PID 1 is systemd then your system is running with systemd.

Configuring as default

In order to use systemd you should also install systemd-sysv which provides the symlinks links for /sbin/init.

# apt-get install systemd-sysv

In order to boot your system with the newly installed systemd, simply reboot.

# reboot

If you run a self-compiled kernel, make sure you have 2.6.39 or newer and enable the following options:

 * CONFIG_IPV6=[y|m], optional, but highly recommended
 * CONFIG_FANOTIFY=y, optional, required for systemd readahead. available in Linux kernel >= 2.6.37.

For an up-to-date list, see section "REQUIREMENTS" in the upstream README file.


Sometimes it is necessary to investigate why systemd hangs on startup or on reboot/shutdown.

Solution #0: Remove "quiet" from Kernel command line (so called "cmdline" or "grub line")

Solution #1: Increase verbosity via cmdline: Add "systemd.log_target=kmsg systemd.log_level=debug"

Of course you can have a "temporary" persistent solution:

[ /etc/default/grub ]
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="systemd.log_target=kmsg systemd.log_level=debug" <--- Add here (by uncommenting you can easily switch to debug)

# update-grub

In addition enhance cmdline with "systemd.sysv_console=1" (0: disabled, 1: enabled).

Solution #2: Increase verbosity via /etc/systemd/system.conf

LogLevel=debug           <--- Uncomment this line and use "debug" (default: commented and "info")
LogTarget=syslog-or-kmsg <--- Uncomment this line (default: commented)
SysVConsole=yes          <--- Uncomment this line (default: commented)

HINT: "man system" and "man systemd.conf" (Note: File is system.conf vs. man-page system*d*.conf)

HINT: How to check Kernel command line parameters/options?

# cat /proc/cmdline

NOTE on LogLevel (see systemd(1) and systemd.conf(5)):

"Set log level. As argument this accepts a numerical log level or the well-known syslog(3) symbolic names (lowercase): emerg, alert, crit, err, warning, notice, info, debug."

HINT: Keep a copy of /sbin/init from sysvinit package in case of rescue (so you can use init=/sbin/init.sysvinit in cmdline)!

# cp -av /sbin/init /sbin/init.sysvinit <--- Before installing systemd-sysv package

See also

Bugs and Bug-Tracking-Systems

Known Issues and Workarounds

sysvinit vs. systemd-sysv

Upgrade to sysvinit ≥ 2.88dsf-44.

Encrypted swap blocks boot

See for a patch.

According to the bug, the patch is no longer required as long as you upgrade to dmsetup 2:1.02.83-1.

Booting with lvm (especially with separate /usr) fails

Upgrade to lvm2 ≥ 2.02.104-1

Where to get help?

Systemd is a young project with a strong emphasis on solving problems in a distribution agnostic manner.

Debian specific channels include

Several other distributions are using systemd

Debian Resources

Other Resources