I have Ubuntu 16.04 installed locally, and it has bash completion for systemctl subcommands by default. But when I start an instance of Ubuntu Server 18.04 on Digital Ocean, there is no bash completion for systemctl subcommands. I'd expect some missing package like systemd-completion, but on my local Ubuntu I have only these packages installed:

ii  libpam-systemd:amd64                          229-4ubuntu21.2                                          amd64        system and service manager - PAM module
ii  libsystemd0:amd64                             229-4ubuntu21.2                                          amd64        systemd utility library
ii  libsystemd0:i386                              229-4ubuntu21.2                                          i386         systemd utility library
ii  systemd                                       229-4ubuntu21.2                                          amd64        system and service manager
ii  systemd-shim                                  9-1bzr4ubuntu1                                           amd64        shim for systemd
ii  systemd-sysv                                  229-4ubuntu21.2                                          amd64        system and service manager - SysV links

and completion works. The bash-completion package is installed on both machines.

Also, at /etc/bash_completion.d/ of my local 16.04 machine, I don't see any related systemctl completion files

-rw-r--r--   1 root root   408 сер 21  2015 cryptdisks
-rw-r--r--   1 root root   323 бер 18  2016 desktop-file-validate
-rw-r--r--   1 root root  2384 сер 13  2010 dkms
-rw-r--r--   1 root root   439 сер 11  2017 git-prompt
-rw-r--r--   1 root root 11144 тра 11  2017 grub
-rw-r--r--   1 root root   736 тра  7  2013 insserv
-rw-r--r--   1 root root  6596 лют 19 23:06 libreoffice.sh
-rw-r--r--   1 root root   553 лют  2  2016 openvpn

So, what package should I install to get bash completion for systemctl subcommands? Maybe I should turn something on in bash configs somewhere?

1 Answer 1


I found this answer by first, finding out which package provides systemctl:

$ dpkg -S $(type -p systemctl)
systemd: /bin/systemctl

Then looking at the contents of the systemd package, I see:

$ dpkg -L systemd
/usr/share/bash-completion/completions/systemctl       <---
  • Thank you, I did not know about /usr/share/bash-completion location. The file you mentioned is already present, and the ip command is also missing bash completion. So looks like it's not a systemd-specific issue, and I should look for some wider bash configuration problem.
    – Dmitriusan
    Jun 6, 2018 at 16:32
  • So apply my method to the ip command, and don't ask second questions in the comments.
    – waltinator
    Jun 7, 2018 at 21:31

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