Why is sssd an unrecognized service, even though it is installed and can be restarted? BTW: This concerns Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, it was not like that in 12.04 I will show what I mean below, I think it is a bug but I am interested in an explanation and/or workaround.

root@tauriel:~/scripts# service sssd
**sssd: unrecognized service**
root@tauriel:~/scripts# service sssd status
sssd start/running, process 22454
root@tauriel:~/scripts# service sssd restart
sssd stop/waiting
sssd start/running, process 22485
root@tauriel:~/scripts# service sssd status
sssd start/running, process 22485
root@tauriel:~/scripts# service sssd
**sssd: unrecognized service**

BTW: sssd is apparently a new tag, it would be nice if it was added.

1 Answer 1


When you run service, if there's a sysv init script, it will call that script (or call Upstart, if it's an Upstart job):

$ service ssh
 * Usage: /etc/init.d/ssh {start|stop|reload|force-reload|restart|try-restart|status}
$ service gdm
/etc/init.d/gdm: 79: /etc/init.d/gdm: Syntax error: "fi" unexpected (expecting "}")

Naturally if you don't pass a command (restart, status, etc.), only these scripts will be able to respond. If the init file for a service is Upstart-only, this will fail:

$ service tty1
tty1: unrecognized service

SSSD only offers an Upstart init script, as you can see from the list of files in sssd-common.

This behaviour is not exactly well documented in the manpage. However, if you examine the service command, which is a shell script:

118 if [ -r "/etc/init/${SERVICE}.conf" ] && which initctl >/dev/null \
119    && initctl version | grep -q upstart
120 then
121    # Upstart configuration exists for this job and we're running on upstart
122    case "${ACTION}" in  

The actions in this case consists of exec calls of initctl (via its symlinked versions - start, stop, etc.). Since the ACTION variable is empty and doesn't match any case, it falls through to:

139 # Otherwise, use the traditional sysvinit
140 if [ -x "${SERVICEDIR}/${SERVICE}" ]; then
142 else
143    echo "${SERVICE}: unrecognized service" >&2
144    exit 1
145 fi

Here you can see why it produces that error.

  • Thank you for the answer muru. I also noticed that it is not listed when doing a "service --status-all" What is the best current method to see the status of all/any deamons, when they are started and how can you control it? (update-rc.d doesn't work since the /etc/init.d/sssd does not exist)
    – jringoot
    Dec 10, 2014 at 12:09
  • 1
    I'm afraid you'll have to use a combination of methods. For the status of all services, do service --status-all; initctl list. initctl is used to handle Upstart services, and list will show the current status as well. To control the starting of an Upstart service try using override files.
    – muru
    Dec 10, 2014 at 13:00
  • 1
    I just noticed that after an apt-update && apt-upgrade (Ubuntu 14.04) sssd didn't want to start automatically anymore. Following your instructions, I looked inside /etc/init/sssd.conf and found a difference with another host: "start on (filesystem and net-device-up and starting autofs)" ================= I changed it into ================= "start on (filesystem and net-device-up)" ================= And now sssd starts up on boot again. I know it is kluge, but an interesting workaround I think.
    – jringoot
    May 30, 2017 at 10:09

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