I have a Java executable program that I can run by typing java -jar abc.jar in terminal. How can I run it as a service? I want to run it as a service like by typing service abc start.


2 Answers 2


Make sure you're on 14.04. Ubuntu 16.04 (and above) uses systemd, not Upstart.

A Upstart script is a script file placed at /etc/init/ and ending in .conf.

It requires 2 sections: one to indicate when to start, and another with the command to execute.

The easiest script to start with your sample is:

# myprogram.conf
start on filesystem
exec /usr/bin/java -jar /path_to/program

Created as root under /etc/init/myprogram.conf.

If your script requires more than one command line, use the script section instead of the exec line:

# myprogram.conf
start on filesystem
    /usr/bin/java -jar /path_to/program
    echo "Another command"
end script

To enable bash completion for your service, add a symlink into /etc/init.d folder:

sudo ln -s /etc/init/myprogram.conf /etc/init.d/myprogram

Then try start and stop it:

sudo service myprogram start

According the upstart cookbook, you can create pre-start/post-start and pre-stop/post-stop commands to be executed.

Additionally, I read you want to check if a process is running. Check this question and maybe use the pre-start section.

  • 1
    Maybe you need make it executable with sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/myprogram. CAUTION: your answered method not works in Ubuntu 16.04!
    – juliocesar
    Jan 30, 2017 at 9:02
  • 2
    @juliocesar 16.04 uses systemd, not Upstart. Jan 30, 2017 at 12:18
  • start on is not a necessary stanza. As you can read here: Such a job can only be controlled by an Administrator.
    – SuB
    Dec 30, 2017 at 15:51
  • @SuB yeap, but then the job will not start automatically, and it was clear that the question author want something acting like a service, i.e., starting automatically. Dec 30, 2017 at 20:21
  • Yea. I know. just added a comment to complete your answer.
    – SuB
    Dec 31, 2017 at 7:26

You need to create an upstart. http://upstart.ubuntu.com/getting-started.html

Upstart is (IMHO) a disaster compared to good ol' SysV init scripts. Upstart is FAR more effort with little upside to the added work. With that said, I suspect there will be a few upstart defenders out there that will take me to task for me stating the obvious ;-)

  • 1
    It's just a file in /etc/init/yourservice.conf with a line indicating when to start, and another to the exec command. Fedora uses upstart too. Additionally, even Debian is changing its starting schema to SystemD, which will be Ubuntu schema in the future. Apr 16, 2014 at 11:52

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