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?


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:

  • Links are broken.
    – tuk
    Feb 22 '19 at 12:35

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)

  • 7
    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 '15 at 13:25
  • 2
    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 '15 at 16:30
  • I filed a bug report for the documentation. It sounds like it may have been fixed, and I suspect init was changed to be a hard link rather than a relative soft link which would barely improve boot time. I've since moved on from 14.04 so I can't comment definitively.
    – John Hall
    Dec 4 '15 at 14:27
  • Running /sbin/init --version seems to work. I've tested on 1404 and systemd , both return the correct init system Jun 5 '17 at 9:56

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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