There is a bug in systemd-240 that is affecting jackdbus, which breaks my whole audio setup. The bug was fixed in systemd-241. Is there a way to upgrade to systemd-241?

  • Not easily: Nobody has packaged systemd-241 for Ubuntu. So you would be compiling it yourself, or pulling a non-Ubuntu package from Debian - both paths are fraught. – user535733 Jun 13 at 3:04
  • the bug is this one. Annoying, and also incredible that this once was even a release candidate which was indeed released. – ShinTakezou 23 hours ago

Another option would be to recompile systemd-240 with the patch applied, assuming it cleanly applies to systemd-240.

If it is spossible, it is indeed simple. You just have to add your patch to the list of patch already used by ubuntu.

  • 1
    This seems like a reasonable approach. Though I'll admit my solution was to rage-quit and install the LTS version of Ubuntu Studio :-P – Ben Davis Jun 13 at 16:01


I am not advocating this method as a good fix to the problem. Try it at your own risk.

Moreover, Ubuntu 19.10 ships with systemd 242, so, if you plan to upgrade to Ubuntu 19.10, there's no reason to try this.

A fix “over” the current installation

Basically it's the idea which is in solsTiCe's answer: patch the distro's source. But then: do not reinstall the whole systemd system. Replace just the systemd executable — it can be done because the patch affects just the code of systemd. This way I am sure not to mess up widely with the current installation.

My path to the solution wasn't as “linear” as I am going to describe it because at first I wanted to patch the original system v240 (using the right bits from the v241), build it and custom install it. Then I diverted to the use of pbuilder.

The following description is written as if I got it straightforwardly. I hope I haven't forgot details in the process of cleaning up the steps.

Follow this howto to install pbuilder, prepare the environment for the build (sudo pbuilder create --distribution disco --debootstrapopts --variant=buildd), download the source (apt-get source systemd). You obtain three files (two archives and a .dsc) and a directory. So, likely you want to execute the apt-get command in a brand new folder, to avoid files pollution in your current directory.

Then, clone the systemd github repository and check-out the tag v241 (git checkout tags/v241).

Now diff -u between the Ubuntu's src/core/main.c and the one of the tag v241 to obtain a patch, say my.patch. I have edited it to remove things that may affect more than just the memlock limit (a similar fix was done also for the number of open file descriptors, and I kept this, too), and also to get the headers right in the form of:

--- a/src/core/main.c ....
+++ b/src/core/main.c ....

Instead of a and b you can have other names, of course.

Inside the folder systemd-240 (obtained by running apt-get source systemd) there's debian/patches. Copy my.patch there and add the file name at the end of debian/patches/series.

Try to build the package (sudo pbuilder build systemd_240-6ubuntu5.dsc); this should also get the dependencies, and if everything's alright, you have the .deb in /var/cache/pbuilder/result/; but it is the “original”.

Change directory in systemd-240 and run pdebuild --use-pdebuild-internal.

After a while… in /var/cache/pbuilder/result there's a new .deb (same name as before…) but this time it's the patched one. You should see a line if you do

tar -tJf /var/cache/pbuilder/result/systemd_240-6ubuntu5.debian.tar.xz |grep my.patch

provided that you named your patch my.patch and that the tar.xz is named so.

Now, unpack the .deb in a-folder (dpkg-deb -R systemd_240-6ubuntu5_amd64.deb a-folder), and as root copy a-folder/lib/systemd/systemd into /lib/systemd/. Do not forget to backup the original /lib/systemd/systemd (I've renamed it as __systemd). If something goes wrong, you can replace the new one with the old one, likely from a recovery shell.

After rebooting ulimit -l should say unlimited (depending on your configuration, but I suppose you have read so far because it's what you expect for your user in the audio group).


  • system v240 patched; I haven't compiled and tried this one — if you can and want to upgrade systemd from its original releases, then I suggest to use the latest version picking the latest tag, e.g. today is v243.
  • the patch as gist on github, this one applied on the Ubuntu's systemd source, version 240-6ubuntu5.7.

This patch isn't generated as explained in the previous section, because I've diffed the Ubuntu's source with the already patched main.c you can find in the aforelinked branch. The final result shouldn't differ very much.

Final note

When I first noticed this issue, sometimes ago, after checking that the configuration was ok, I decided to wait for Ubuntu to fix it (I wasn't able to trace it back to a bug of systemd).

But today it prevented me to do stuffs I really wanted to, thus I decided it was time to do something about it.

Here in comment 7 it's where I found the systemd bug mentioned for the first time, then I've found this question.

Few hours later I've seen also a two-days-old announcement of 19.10.

There's no need to point out that replacing an executable in a “package-controlled system” isn't necessarily a very good idea. In this case, however, it's fine by me.

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