chkservice Is A systemd Unit Manager With A Terminal User Interface (New Version Available)

chkservice systemd manager

chkservice, a terminal user interface (TUI; do not confuse this with GUI, which stands for graphical user interface) for managing systemd units, has been updated recently with window resize and search support.

chkservice is a simplistic systemd unit manager that uses ncurses for its terminal interface. Using it you can enable or disable, and start or stop a systemd unit. It also shows the units status (enabled, disabled, static or masked).

You can navigate the chkservice user interface using keyboard shortcuts:

  • Up or l to move cursor up
  • Down or j to move cursor down
  • PgUp or b to move page up
  • PgDown or f to move page down

To enable or disable a unit press Space, and to start or stop a unity press s. You can access the help screen which shows all available keys by pressing ?.

The command line tool had its first release in August 2017, with no new releases until a few days ago when version 0.2 was released, quickly followed by 0.3.

With the latest 0.3 release, chkservice adds a search feature that allows easily searching through all systemd units. To search, type / followed by your search query, and press Enter. To search for the next item matching your search query you'll have to type / again, followed by Enter or Ctrl + m (without entering any search text).

Another addition to the latest chkservice is window resize support. In the 0.1 version, the tool would close when the user tried to resize the terminal window. That's no longer the case now, chkservice allowing the resize of the terminal window it runs in.

And finally, the last addition to the latest chkservice 0.3 is G-g navigation support. Press G (Shift + g) to navigate to the bottom, and g to navigate to the top.

Download and install chkservice

The initial (0.1) chkservice version can be found in the official repositories of a few Linux distributions, including Debian and Ubuntu (and Debian or Ubuntu based Linux distribution -- e.g. Linux Mint, Pop!_OS, Elementary OS and so on).

There are some third-party repositories available as well, including a Fedora Copr, Ubuntu / Linux Mint PPA, and Arch Linux AUR, but at the time I'm writing this, only the AUR package was updated to the latest chkservice version 0.3.

You may also install chkservice from source. Use the instructions provided in the tool's readme to either create a DEB package or install it directly.

It's important to note that you should run chkservice with super user privileges if you plan on making changes to the systemd unit states (enable/disable or start/stop).