Jiff Slater
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30 Jul 2021
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(WIP) SystemD quick reference
9 August 2019

Keywords: systemd, reference, linux, terminal

This is a work in progress document.

I have embraced systemd on all my Linux systems, including Gentoo, which offers OpenRC as an alternative. Here are the commands I use most frequently to manage my boxes.


Systemctl is used to control systemd and the service manager. I most frequently use it to enable services for newly installed packages, set services to start on boot, and configure local services to run in the user space.

To view the current state of the service manage, you can just type systemctl as root. The results are often given in a pager.

You’ll see a variety of unit types in a variety of states.


Journalctl is used to query the contents of the systemd journal. I frequently use it to monitor local processes I scheduled as a user — for example, offlineimap.

To view recent messages you can run: journalctl --user --since "1 hour ago"