I am a software developer by nature and a system administrator by necessity. As such I find systemd to be far too complex for my taste. I learn by doing: I copy examples and then read documentation about things used before adjusting what gets pasted.

I also find systemd documentation to be a nightmare. In particular, the url to the documentation on is annoying to type or remember. So instead, I figure it'd be handy to have a shorter URL to remember.

I also included some examples for using systemd to augment your software on Linux. Eventually I'll write a generator for wrapping applications into common configurations that are described in the examples.

This repository contains artifacts for the web redirector service, templates, examples, and configuration for the domain.

instructions common to all or most configuration files

systemd configuration files follow a syntax similar to INI files. A lot of the types of configuration files have common parameters. Instead of duplicating the documentation everywhere, those common parameters are described under the "directives" section.

Basic service file documentation

Services tell systemd how to run a program. The program could be long-running like a daemon but doesn't have to be. It can be configured to run automatically at boot or as a dependency when another service starts up. It can be automatically restarted. You can tell it what environment variables to use.

Socket service file documentation

systemd is capable of setting up listening sockets and then starting your programs on-demand instead of pre-emptively. These types of services are described by .socket files. These are configuration files, not Unix Socket Domain socket files so don't get confused by the file suffix.

Frankly I haven't used these so I'm not totally familiar with getting them working. Please help by creating a pull request with example(s)! I'd be particularly interested in learning how to use this with Unix Domain Sockets.

Filesystem mount documentation

systemd can be used to describe your filesystems. That's handy, I guess. Mounts are another thing I've never used. But I'm pretty interested to learn if it can handle loopback devices to an image. If so I'll probably add an example for a fedora.iso and a raspbian.img, since those are particularly relevant to my interests. I'm also interested in learning if it can be used to manage sshfs mounts.

I assume it can manage your typical nonsense like nfs, ext4, ntfs, and luks. But you know what they say about assumptions.

Automatically-mounted filesystems

Apparently systemd mounts... aren't automatically mounted? That seems dumb. So there's these .automount to solve that. I don't know why that's not part of .mount. Who the hell made this shit up?

"Links" (networks)

I frequently forget that NetworkManager's nmcli isn't part of systemd. Indeed, systemd describes networks using .link files. I've read that there's a lot of strife between the two types of network management services.

Frankly I think nmcli is garbage. But I've already learned it enough to use it passably. I hope .link is easier. I miss ifup and ifdown scripts :'(

If it makes it easier to manage a WireGuard interface that'd be great.

systemd commands

systemctl - Manage your OS.

systemctl is used to manage your OS. It comes in two parts; primarily it manages the services. Secondarily you use it it to tell your physical machine to reboot.

Service Statuses

systemctl can be used to look at the logs for individual services. But journalctl is a better tool for that.


journalctl - Logs.

journalctl manages the system journal. The journal is just a fancy way of saying logs. Why not use the word diary instead? Whatever.


Stupid people use -x.

machinectl - Virtual Machine and Container management

machinectl manages... "machines"; virtual machines and containers. I've never used it. Feel free to add some examples: I'm quite interested in learning competitors to VirtualBox.

networkctl - NIC management (competes with Network Manager's nmcli)

networkctl competes with Network Manager. I haven't used it. It looks like it works with the .link files.

resolvectl - Control how your DNS works

The system resolver is way more complicated than it needs to be. It's especially confounding when you're using Docker to build images -- Docker makes its own /etc/resolv.conf file inside of the containers. GRRRRR

Things that aren't actually part of systemd

systemd has, in my opinion by its very name and stated goals, convoluted what other system services are and can do.

nmcli - Network Manager (CLI)

Network Manager organizes NICs into Layer 2 physical devices and Layer 3 logical connections. Generally think of them as layer 2 can be powered on or off, plugged in or not, etc while layer 3 controls IP configuration. You "can" change the layer 3 configuration without changing the layer 2 status.


nmcli is bash autocompletion friendly.

Changes made to configurations are not applied immediately. If you change something then it's easiest to bring the device or connection offline and then back online.

firewalld - "Dynamic Firewall Manager"