I have an Ubuntu Server machine, which I access via SSH.
I want to use it to handle my torrents from any device and have them stored somewhere steadily.
Today I took the first step and installed the transmission package, along with the daemon, cli, etc..

So I was testing the basic functionality, and I noticed that the command transmission-daemon + options behaved differently from the command service transmission-daemon + options. Particularly, the first did not accept a straight start option, for example.

So, in order not to confuse myself before proceeding, and since this could help me more generally, I would like to have an informative and understandable description of what I should be aware of with regards to services and daemons, how are they implemented, roughly, and any information that could help me handle the transmission daemon, in particular.


transmission-daemon by itself is a direct invocation of the program /usr/bin/transmission-daemon. This directly accepts options, but is not the correct way of running the daemon - it will run as yourself and hence exit when you log off.

service transmission-daemon refers to a script /etc/init.d/transmission-daemon. This script checks for a running instance of transmission-daemon when starting/restarting etc, and runs the daemon as a specific user (also called transmission-daemon). This is also the mechanism that will automatically launch the daemon at startup, if enabled.

You shouldn't edit this script to add options, but rather the daemon's configuration file - /etc/transmission-daemon/settings.json. See the transmission website for an explanation of the options. Note that you'll need to stop transmission-daemon (sudo service transmission-daemon stop) before making changes, otherwise the daemon will overwrite the settings with the ones it is currently using when it exits.

  • Thank you a lot. This will do in helping me understand the issue :D
    – Noob Doob
    Jul 16 '13 at 13:28
  • That's a nice explanation. With systemd under Ubuntu 18.04, the invocation is systemctl start transmission-daemon and the user is debian-transmission. Is there any reason I wouldn't be able to log into the rpc interface as another user? It's not accepting my uname/password when I try.
    – Diagon
    Aug 25 '18 at 12:03

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