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runit is a suite of tools which provides an init (PID 1) as well as daemontools-compatible process supervision framework, along with utilites which streamline creation and maintenance of services.


Install the runit package.

Installation of services

runit service packages are named package_name-runit and, when installed, will be available in /etc/runit/sv.


Runit has several programs, but usually you will only interact directly with one program only.

  • sv - used for controlling services, getting status of services, and dependency checking.
  • chpst - control of a process environment, including memory caps, limits on cores, data segments, environments, user/group privileges, and more.
  • runsv - supervises a process, and optionally a log service for that process.
  • svlogd - a simple but powerful logger, includes auto-rotation based on different methods (time, size, etc), post-processing, pattern matching, and socket (remote logging) options.
  • runsvchdir - changes service levels (runlevels, see below)
  • runsvdir - starts a supervision tree
  • runit-init - PID 1, does almost nothing besides being the init


There are several files that will be installed by runit.

  • /etc/runit/1 - stage 1, system’s one-time initialization tasks
  • /etc/runit/2 - stage 2, Normally runs runsvdir, should not return until the system is going to halt or reboot.
  • /etc/runit/3 - stage 3, system’s shutdown tasks
  • /etc/runit/ctrlaltdel - Runit will execute this when receiving a SIGINT signal
  • /etc/runit/runsvdir/* - Runlevels
  • /etc/runit/sv/* - directory containing subdirectories of available service files
  • /run/runit/service - always symlinked to active runlevel, sv will search for running service here

However, since runit itself depends on runit-rc, there will be several extra rc files installed, most contained in /etc/rc and /usr/lib/rc.

Basic usage

Unlike other distros using runit, Artix doesn’t store its service directory in /var/service or /service, but in /run/runit/service instead.

Service supervision

By default services provided by Artix packages aren't in the svdir and can't be started or managed by any tool. To do so it is needed to link the service directories into the desired runlevel directory. For example, the following command allows to supervise a service in the current runlevel:

 ln -s ../../sv/service_name /run/runit/service

If the service isn't going to be used anymore, the previously created symbolic link has to be removed from the runlevel directory. For example, the following command disables supervision on a service in the current runlevel:

 unlink /run/runit/service/service_name

Disable service

It can be needed to be able to manage a service but not to start it at boot time, to do so it is possible to disable it by adding an empty file named down into the service's directory. Keep in mind that if a service has to be enabled in a runlevel but not in another runlevel, you have to duplicate the directory in /etc/runit/sv, to setup the two service directories differently and to manage symbolic links accordingly. For example the following command disables a service that is supervised in the current runlevel:

 touch /run/runit/service/service_name/down

To enable the service again the file has to be removed. For example the following command enables a service supervised in the current runlevel:

 unlink /run/runit/service/service_name/down

Managing services

Startsv up service_name or sv start service_name
Stopsv down service_name or sv stop service_name
Restartsv restart service_name
Send SIGHUPsv hup service_name
Check statussv status service_name

Note that the two methods to start/stop services aren't equivalent and that other signals can be sent, read sv(8) for more details.


By default, runit has 2 runlevels, default and single. New runlevels can be created by creating a new folder in /etc/runit/runsvdir/ and symlinking your desired service to that runlevel.

 ln -s ../../sv/service /etc/runit/runsvdir/runlevel

To switch runlevel use the runsvchdir program. Note that when switching, all services are stopped then restarted if enabled in the new runlevel.

 runsvchdir runlevel

Service directory structure

This is a tree of a complete service directory structure (aka /etc/runit/sv/servicedir), in some run scripts, typically only run will be available as usually it's the only file needed.

 ├── run (755)
 ├── check (755)
 ├── conf (644)
 ├── finish (755)
 └── log (directory)
     ├── config (644)
     └── run (755)

A runit (or any daemontools-compatible) service directory contains at least one executable file, named run, which runs process in the foreground.

This means that:

  • The run file must be a symlink to the service executable, or a script that eventually exec's into it.
  • The service executable must not run in the background, otherwise runit will lose track of its state. If necessary, the run script should pass flags to the service executable that prevent this behavior (such as enabling debug mode).

The service directory may also contain executables like finish and check. finish will be executed when a service is stopped, and check will be executed (if exists) by sv check or sv status.

Some run scripts can source variables and additional commands from a user-supplied conf file (which should be created in the service directory, and is not executable). Usually, a run shell script that supports a conf file has the line [ -r ./conf ] && . ./conf.

If a service directory contains another directory named log, the output of the run process in the service directory will be piped to the input of the run process in the log directory. If the log service uses svlogd, it may be configured by using the file config. How svlogd can be configured is explained in the svlogd(1) manpage.

Service dependencies

Some services may depend on other services. For example, NetworkManager depends on dbus. To ensure that required dependencies are satisfied, check the service's run file. For example, for NetworkManager:

 # /etc/runit/sv/NetworkManager/run
 sv check dbus >/dev/null || exit 1

This means you have to enable dbus for NetworkManager to start.

Runit for user-services

To use runit to manage services at a user level, you will need to create a running runit user instance for your user. This instance will need it's own directory in which it can operate. It is recommended that this instance be managed by the system's runit instance. The way this is setup is by creating a runit service with the following run file:


export USER="your-username"
export HOME="/home/$USER"

groups="$(id -Gn "$USER" | tr ' ' ':')"

exec chpst -u "$USER:$groups" runsvdir "$svdir"

The svdir can be changed to a directory of your liking and the USER must be changed to a user for which you want to setup user-services. Any new user service can be added to a configuration directory (i.e. ~/.config/sv) from which they can be symlinked into the svdir directory (similarly to how /etc/runit/sv/example-service gets symlinked to /run/runit/service).

See also