dh_systemd_start - Linux


The dh_systemd_start command is a Debian helper tool that generates a systemd unit file for a specified package. It simplifies the process of integrating a package with the systemd init system, ensuring that it starts automatically on boot and restarts gracefully if necessary.


dh_systemd_start [options] [package]


  • -n: Do not create a unit file, only print the contents to stdout. Useful for debugging or testing.
  • –service: Create a service unit file (default).
  • –socket: Create a socket unit file.
  • –timer: Create a timer unit file.
  • –path путь_к_файлу: Specify a custom path for the generated unit file.
  • –start-priority priority: Set the start priority for the unit file. Defaults to 10.
  • –stop-priority priority: Set the stop priority for the unit file. Defaults to 20.
  • –no-reload: Disable the Reload=reload option in the unit file.
  • –extra-args аргументы: Append additional arguments to the ExecStart and ExecStop commands in the unit file.


Create a Service Unit File

dh_systemd_start --service packagename

Create a Socket Unit File

dh_systemd_start --socket socketservicename

Create a Timer Unit File

dh_systemd_start --timer timerunitname

Print Unit File Contents

dh_systemd_start -n packagename

Common Issues

  • Permission errors: Ensure that the user running the command has sufficient permissions to create and write to the systemd unit file directory (/lib/systemd/system).
  • Duplicate unit files: If a unit file for the package already exists, it may need to be manually removed before generating a new one.


dh_systemd_start can be used in conjunction with other Debian helper tools to automate the packaging and deployment of systemd services. For example, it can be used with dh_make, debuild, and dpkg-buildpackage to create and install packages that integrate seamlessly with systemd.

Related Commands

  • systemctl: Manage systemd units.
  • dh_systemd_enable: Enable a systemd unit on boot.
  • dh_systemd_restart: Restart a systemd unit.