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The service utility allows to know the current status for the services installed in the system.

However, when invocking service --status-all some services are listed as [+] (running), some as [-] (stopped) and some as [?] (unknown?). How can I know wether a certain service (from those marked as [?]) is running or not?

Maybe I could say that I don't need to use the service utility, just some mechanism to know which services are effectively running and which not.

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sudo service foo status

See man service manpage for the service command

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And why would it be that for some services that does not yield any output? – D.H.Bahr May 16 '13 at 20:29

If you know the service's name, then a regular-privileged user and of course root can use ps. My personal favorite is to ps -ef | grep <service-name-I-am-searching-for>.

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