Understanding Systemd and How to Use It: Part 1

Systemd has gradually made a name for itself in the Linux world and is or will eventually be the default service management system for a number of major Linux distributions. Those accustomed to the old init systems will not find Systemd to be horribly complex, but it does feature some significantly different approaches to service starting and management.

Systemd runs as a daemon, hence the “d” at the end of the name. It manages all other daemons from boot to shutdown. Rather than using a shell script to initialize each daemon, Systemd relies on a declarative configuration file. It also is capable of starting processes concurrently, allowing for faster boot times.

While Systemd has found a home in numerous Linux distributions, it is not without its detractors, including Linux creator Linus Torvalds and Slackware founder Patrick Volkerding over the way development is being handled and the use of config files rather than shell scripts. Despite this, Fedora, Arch Linux, CoreOS, openSUSE, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS all use it by default, with Debian and Ubuntu planning to do the same. Therefore, it is a good idea to learn how to use it, and part 2 of this introduction will start you on that journey.