Setup `systemd' on Gentoo

The basic reference is systemd - Gentoo Wiki. But the instructions are too general for a running Gentoo system. Since I already have a working Gentoo installation, I will skip the general instructions and only mention the necessary steps to make systemd work on existing system.

Nevertheless, my system is roughly able to work since I switched from OpenRC to systemd. So the steps may be incompelete.

Pre-installation Configuration


The wiki has the best description for this part. All kernel configurations are necessary.

make /usr present at boot time

I just ran into this part when I read the wiki again. The possible reason is that the systemd executable resides in /usr directory and needs various service configurations in /usr/lib/systemd directory.


The first thing is changing the system profile using sudo eselect profile <list|set>. For my system, the option is

[5]   default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop/gnome/systemd


Then we need to instruct the kernel to use the systemd executable as the init process with pid 1.

Edit /etc/default/grub and modify the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX parameter. Like

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="rootfstype=ext4 init=/usr/lib/systemd/systemd"

Then run sudo grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg it is almost finished.



After I rebooted the system, the first thing I found is that my hostname became localhost. Use command hostnamectl to change it.

hostnamectl set-hostname <HOSTNAME>

I found that most systemd commands are in the format of "xxxctl". I think it's more convenient to remember.

Handling of log files

I'm still not sure how systemd's journalctl works. Since I already have sysklogd and syslog-ng running on the system, I will probably remain with the two tools until I find out that journalctl is superior.


systemd use the command systemctl to manage all services. So the original start-stop script for OpenRC or other init systems don't work any more. All pre-installed services are available in /usr/lib/systemd/ and one way to view them is simply list the directory and another is

sudo systemctl --all --full

This command will display a summary of all running(?) services managed by systemd. If you need more detail of the service,

sudo systemctl show sshd.service

Other useful commands:

# start a service daemon
sudo systemctl start sshd.service

# stop a service daemon
sudo systemctl stop sshd.service

# status of a service
sudo systemctl status sshd.service

# add a service to default
sudo systemctl enable sshd.service

Network service

When I rebooted Gentoo with systemd for the first time, network is not available. So the first thing to do is configure network service which is a good start point towards learning systemd.

First of all, one thing we need to know is that the network service is a built-in service shipped with systemd installation so we only need to enable it and systemctl will automatically make a soft link for us. Then all we need to configure is create a new file under /etc/systemd/network/, for example(you will need commands like ip addr to get the interface name of your NIC):

# This is /etc/systemd/network/enp2s0.network
# For more detail of the configuration, use 'man systemd-networkd.service'



More detail please refer to systemd-networkd - ArchWiki.

Then enable the service and start it.

sudo systemctl enable systemd-networkd.service

sudo systemctl start systemd-networkd.service


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