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There was a lot of discussion about the init system for 14.04 before it was released, but I cannot find any site that explains the outcome finally.

So is ubuntu 14.04 using systemd now?

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Related: How can I replace upstart with systemd? – bodhi.zazen Jul 2 '14 at 18:50

3 Answers 3

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Ubuntu 14.04 uses Upstart as the init system, the plan to switch to systemd is planned for 14.10+. There are parts of "systemd" that have been used in Ubuntu for a long time, but for most intents and purposes when people say "systemd" they mean systemd-as-init.

Here's some background info:

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To show what init process is enabled:

# readlink /sbin/init

By default on 14.04 and 14.10 it's "upstart"

Changing this would involve alot more configuration than just changing this symlink so don't do that. This file is nearly always a simlink. In this case the link path does not start with / so this is a path relative to the symlink file to /sbin/upstart.

To confuse matters systemd is installed for other things but not used as init. It is in /bin not /sbin. But systemd has installed itself as init in man / help, so:

# man init

Brings up docs on systemd (as of Dec 22, 2014) This is very confusing ! You want:

# man upstart 

This will give you the docs for init as they should be.

Good luck getting started. (pun ah ah)

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Actually, on my Ubuntu 14.04.2 Server /sbin/init it's an executable binary, so that readlink trick doesn't work. Also, man init gives me upstart man page. Maybe something has changed? – gerlos May 30 at 13:25
The readlink /sbin/init didn't work for me on 14.04 either. Just blank output. The man init did the trick. – demisx Aug 30 at 16:30

If you are running Ubuntu vivid (15.04) upstart is still default, but, you can easily switch between upstart and systemd at will, since both packages are installed at present:

In ubuntu 15.10 systemd is the default, but you still can choose upstart each boottime in the grub menu

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