systemd-tmpfiles-setup.service systemd-tmpfiles-setup-dev.service systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service systemd-tmpfiles-clean.timer
systemd-tmpfiles-setup.service systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service systemd-tmpfiles-clean.timer
systemd-tmpfiles creates, deletes, and cleans up volatile and temporary files and directories, using the configuration file format and location specified in tmpfiles.d(5). It must be invoked with one or more options --create, --remove, and --clean, to select the respective subset of operations.
By default, directives from all configuration files are applied. When invoked with --replace=PATH, arguments specified on the command line are used instead of the configuration file PATH. Otherwise, if one or more absolute filenames are passed on the command line, only the directives in these files are applied. If "-" is specified instead of a filename, directives are read from standard input. If only the basename of a configuration file is specified, all configuration directories as specified in tmpfiles.d(5) are searched for a matching file and the file found that has the highest priority is executed.
System services (systemd-tmpfiles-setup.service, systemd-tmpfiles-setup-dev.service, systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service) invoke systemd-tmpfiles to create system files and to perform system wide cleanup. Those services read administrator-controlled configuration files in tmpfiles.d/ directories. User services (systemd-tmpfiles-setup.service, systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service) also invoke systemd-tmpfiles, but it reads a separate set of files, which includes user-controlled files under ~/.config/user-tmpfiles.d/ and ~/.local/share/user-tmpfiles.d/, and administrator-controlled files under /usr/share/user-tmpfiles.d/. Users may use this to create and clean up files under their control, but the system instance performs global cleanup and is not influenced by user configuration. Note that this means a time-based cleanup configured in the system instance, such as the one typically configured for /tmp/, will thus also affect files created by the user instance if they are placed in /tmp/, even if the user instance's time-based cleanup is turned off.
To re-apply settings after configuration has been modified, simply restart systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service, which will apply any settings which can be safely executed at runtime. To debug systemd-tmpfiles, it may be useful to invoke it directly from the command line with increased log level (see $SYSTEMD_LOG_LEVEL below).
The following options are understood:
When this option is used, the libc Name Service Switch (NSS) is bypassed for resolving users and groups. Instead the files /etc/passwd and /etc/group inside the alternate root are read directly. This means that users/groups not listed in these files will not be resolved, i.e. LDAP NIS and other complex databases are not considered.
Consider combining this with -E to ensure the invocation does not create files or directories below mount points in the OS image operated on that are typically overmounted during runtime.
This option is intended to be used when package installation scripts are running and files belonging to that package are not yet available on disk, so their contents must be given on the command line, but the admin configuration might already exist and should be given higher priority.
It is possible to combine --create, --clean, and --remove in one invocation (in which case removal and cleanup are executed before creation of new files). For example, during boot the following command line is executed to ensure that all temporary and volatile directories are removed and created according to the configuration file:
systemd-tmpfiles --remove --create
This setting is only useful when messages are written directly to the terminal, because journalctl(1) and other tools that display logs will color messages based on the log level on their own.
This setting is only useful when messages are written directly to the terminal or a file, because journalctl(1) and other tools that display logs will attach timestamps based on the entry metadata on their own.
Note that the log location is often attached as metadata to journal entries anyway. Including it directly in the message text can nevertheless be convenient when debugging programs.
Users might want to change two options in particular:
If the value of $SYSTEMD_LESS does not include "K", and the pager that is invoked is less, Ctrl+C will be ignored by the executable, and needs to be handled by the pager.
See less(1) for more discussion.
Note: when commands are invoked with elevated privileges, for example under sudo(8) or pkexec(1), care must be taken to ensure that unintended interactive features are not enabled. "Secure" mode for the pager may be enabled automatically as describe above. Setting SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE=0 or not removing it from the inherited environment allows the user to invoke arbitrary commands. Note that if the $SYSTEMD_PAGER or $PAGER variables are to be honoured, $SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE must be set too. It might be reasonable to completely disable the pager using --no-pager instead.
systemd-tmpfiles tries to avoid changing the access and modification times on the directories it accesses, which requires CAP_FOWNER privileges. When running as non-root, directories which are checked for files to clean up will have their access time bumped, which might prevent their cleanup.
On success, 0 is returned. If the configuration was syntactically invalid (syntax errors, missing arguments, ...), so some lines had to be ignored, but no other errors occurred, 65 is returned (EX_DATAERR from /usr/include/sysexits.h). If the configuration was syntactically valid, but could not be executed (lack of permissions, creation of files in missing directories, invalid contents when writing to /sys/ values, ...), 73 is returned (EX_CANTCREAT from /usr/include/sysexits.h). Otherwise, 1 is returned (EXIT_FAILURE from /usr/include/stdlib.h).