Section: dpkg suite (8)
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start-stop-daemon - start and stop system daemon programs
is used to control the creation and termination of system-level processes.
Using one of the matching options, start-stop-daemon
can be configured to find existing instances of a running process.
behaves similar to
will scan the process table looking for any processes which
match the process name, parent pid, uid, and/or gid (if specified). Any
matching process will prevent
from starting the daemon. All matching processes will be sent the TERM
signal (or the one specified via --signal or --retry) if
is specified. For daemons which have long-lived children
which need to live through a
you must specify a pidfile.
- -S, --start [--] arguments
Check for the existence of a specified process.
If such a process exists,
does nothing, and exits with error status 1 (0 if
If such a process does not exist, it starts an
instance, using either the executable specified by
or, if specified, by
Any arguments given after
on the command line are passed unmodified to the program being
- -K, --stop
Checks for the existence of a specified process.
If such a process exists,
sends it the signal specified by
and exits with error status 0.
If such a process does not exist,
exits with error status 1
is specified). If
is specified, then
will check that the process(es) have terminated.
- -T, --status
Check for the existence of a specified process, and returns an exit status
code, according to the LSB Init Script Actions (since version 1.16.1).
- -H, --help
Show usage information and exit.
- -V, --version
Show the program version and exit.
- --pid pid
Check for a process with the specified pid (since version 1.17.6).
The pid must be a number greater than 0.
- --ppid ppid
Check for a process with the specified parent pid ppid
(since version 1.17.7).
The ppid must be a number greater than 0.
- -p, --pidfile pid-file
Check whether a process has created the file pid-file.
Note: using this matching option alone might cause unintended processes to
be acted on, if the old process terminated without being able to remove the
Warning: using this match option with a world-writable pidfile or using
it alone with a daemon that writes the pidfile as an unprivileged (non-root)
user will be refused with an error (since version 1.19.3) as this is a
security risk, because either any user can write to it, or if the daemon
gets compromised, the contents of the pidfile cannot be trusted, and then
a privileged runner (such as an init script executed as root) would end up
acting on any system process.
Using /dev/null is exempt from these checks.
- -x, --exec executable
Check for processes that are instances of this executable. The
executable argument should be an absolute pathname. Note: this might
not work as intended with interpreted scripts, as the executable will point
to the interpreter. Take into account processes running from inside a chroot
will also be matched, so other match restrictions might be needed.
- -n, --name process-name
Check for processes with the name process-name. The process-name
is usually the process filename, but it could have been changed by the
process itself. Note: on most systems this information is retrieved from
the process comm name from the kernel, which tends to have a relatively
short length limit (assuming more than 15 characters is non-portable).
- -u, --user username|uid
Check for processes owned by the user specified by username or
uid. Note: using this matching option alone will cause all processes
matching the user to be acted on.
- -g, --group group|gid
Change to group or gid when starting the process.
- -s, --signal signal
specifies the signal to send to processes being stopped (default TERM).
- -R, --retry timeout|schedule
is to check whether the process(es)
do finish. It will check repeatedly whether any matching processes
are running, until none are. If the processes do not exit it will
then take further action as determined by the schedule.
is specified instead of
then the schedule
is used, where
is the signal specified with
is a list of at least two items separated by slashes
each item may be
which means to send that signal,
which means to wait that many seconds for processes to
which means to repeat the rest of the schedule forever if
If the end of the schedule is reached and
is not specified, then
exits with error status 2.
If a schedule is specified, then any signal specified
- -a, --startas pathname
start the process specified by
If not specified, defaults to the argument given to
- -t, --test
Print actions that would be taken and set appropriate return value,
but take no action.
- -o, --oknodo
Return exit status 0 instead of 1 if no actions are (would be) taken.
- -q, --quiet
Do not print informational messages; only display error messages.
- -c, --chuid username|uid[:group|gid]
Change to this username/uid before starting the process. You can also
specify a group by appending a
then the group or gid in the same way
as you would for the chown(1) command (user:group).
If a user is specified without a group, the primary GID for that user is used.
When using this option
you must realize that the primary and supplemental groups are set as well,
even if the
option is not specified. The
option is only for
groups that the user isn't normally a member of (like adding per process
group membership for generic users like
- -r, --chroot root
Chdir and chroot to
before starting the process. Please note that the pidfile is also written
after the chroot.
- -d, --chdir path
before starting the process. This is done after the chroot if the
-r|--chroot option is set. When not specified,
will chdir to the root directory before starting the process.
- -b, --background
Typically used with programs that don't detach on their own. This option
to fork before starting the process, and force it into the background.
cannot check the exit status if the process fails to execute for
reason. This is a last resort, and is only meant for programs that either
make no sense forking on their own, or where it's not feasible to add the
code for them to do this themselves.
Wait for the background process to send a readiness notification before
considering the service started (since version 1.19.3).
This implements parts of the systemd readiness procotol, as specified
in the sd_notify(3) man page.
The following variables are supported:
The program is ready to give service, so we can exit safely.
The program requests to extend the timeout by number microseconds.
This will reset the current timeout to the specified value.
The program is exiting with an error.
Do the same and print the user-friendly string for the errno value.
Set a timeout for the --notify-await option (since version 1.19.3).
When the timeout is reached, start-stop-daemon will exit with an
error code, and no readiness notification will be awaited.
The default is 60 seconds.
- -C, --no-close
Do not close any file descriptor when forcing the daemon into the background
(since version 1.16.5).
Used for debugging purposes to see the process output, or to redirect file
descriptors to log the process output.
Only relevant when using --background.
- -N, --nicelevel int
This alters the priority of the process before starting it.
- -P, --procsched policy:priority
This alters the process scheduler policy and priority of the process before
starting it (since version 1.15.0).
The priority can be optionally specified by appending a :
followed by the value. The default priority is 0. The currently
supported policy values are other, fifo and rr.
- -I, --iosched class:priority
This alters the IO scheduler class and priority of the process before starting
it (since version 1.15.0).
The priority can be optionally specified by appending a : followed
by the value. The default priority is 4, unless class is idle,
then priority will always be 7. The currently supported values for
class are idle, best-effort and real-time.
- -k, --umask mask
This sets the umask of the process before starting it (since version 1.13.22).
- -m, --make-pidfile
Used when starting a program that does not create its own pid file. This
option will make
create the file referenced with
and place the pid into it just before executing the process. Note, the
file will only be removed when stopping the program if
--remove-pidfile is used.
This feature may not work in all cases. Most notably when the program
being executed forks from its main process. Because of this, it is usually
only useful when combined with the
Used when stopping a program that does not remove its own pid file
(since version 1.17.19).
This option will make
remove the file referenced with
after terminating the process.
- -v, --verbose
Print verbose informational messages.
The requested action was performed. If
was specified, it's also possible that nothing had to be done.
This can happen when
was specified and a matching process was already running, or when
was specified and there were no matching processes.
was not specified and nothing was done.
were specified, but the end of the schedule was reached and the processes were
Any other error.
When using the --status command, the following status codes are
Program is running.
Program is not running and the pid file exists.
Program is not running.
Unable to determine program status.
Start the food
daemon, unless one is already running (a process named
food, running as user food, with pid in food.pid):
start-stop-daemon --start --oknodo --user food --name food \
--pidfile /run/food.pid --startas /usr/sbin/food \
--chuid food -- --daemon
Send SIGTERM to food and wait up to 5 seconds for it to stop:
start-stop-daemon --stop --oknodo --user food --name food \
--pidfile /run/food.pid --retry 5
Demonstration of a custom schedule for stopping food:
start-stop-daemon --stop --oknodo --user food --name food \
--pidfile /run/food.pid --retry=TERM/30/KILL/5