openrc-run(8) a means of hooking shell commands into a service


[-D , -nodeps ] [-d , -debug ] [-s , -ifstarted ] [-S , -ifstopped ] [-Z , -dry-run ] [command ... ]


is basically an interpreter for shell scripts which provides an easy interface to the often complex system commands and daemons. When a service runs a command it first loads its multiplexed configuration file, then its master configuration file, then /etc/rc.conf and finally the script itself. At this point then runs the command given.

Commands are defined as shell functions within the script. Here is a list of some functions that all scripts have by default:

Describes what the service does and each command the service defines.
First we ensure that any services we depend on are started. If any needed services fail to start then we exit with a suitable error, otherwise call the supplied start function if it exists.
First we ensure that any services that depend on us are stopped. If any services that need us fail to stop then we exit with a suitable error, otherwise call the supplied stop function if it exists.
Stops and starts the service, including dependencies. This cannot be overridden. See the description of the RC_CMD variable below for the method to make your service behave differently when restart is being executed.
Shows the status of the service. The return code matches the status, with the exception of "started" returning 0 to match standard command behaviour.
Resets the service state to stopped and removes all saved data about the service.

The following options affect how the service is run:

-d , -debug
Set xtrace on in the shell to assist in debugging.
-D , -nodeps
Ignore all dependency information the service supplies.
-s , -ifstarted
Only run the command if the service has been started.
-S , -ifstopped
Only run the command if the service has been stopped.
-q , -quiet
Turns off all informational output the service generates. Output from any non OpenRC commands is not affected.
-v , -verbose
Turns on any extra informational output the service generates.
-Z , -dry-run
Shows which services would be stopped and/or started without actually stopping or starting them.

The following variables affect the service script:

Space separated list of extra commands the service defines. These should not depend on the service being stopped or started.
Space separated list of extra commands the service defines. These only work if the service has already been started.
Space separated list of extra commands the service defines. These only work if the service has already been stopped.
String describing the service.
String describing the extra command.
Supervisor to use to monitor this daemon. If this is unset or invalid, start-stop-daemon will be used. Currently, we support s6 from scarnet software, and supervise-daemon which is a light-weight supervisor internal to OpenRC. To use s6, set supervisor=s6. or set supervisor=supervise-daemon to use supervise-daemon. Note that supervise-daemon is still in early development, so it is considered experimental.
The path to the s6 service directory if you are monitoring this service with S6. The default is /var/svc.d/${RC_SVCNAME}.
The options to pass to s6-svwait when starting the service via s6.
The amount of time, in milliseconds, s6-svc should wait for the service to go down when stopping the service. The default is 10000.
List of arguments passed to start-stop-daemon when starting the daemon.
Daemon to start or stop via start-stop-daemon or supervise-daemon if no start or stop function is defined by the service.
List of arguments to pass to the daemon when starting via start-stop-daemon
List of arguments to pass to the daemon when starting via supervise-daemon to force the daemon to stay in the foreground
Set this to "true", "yes" or "1" (case-insensitive) to force the daemon into the background. This implies the "--make-pidfile" and "--pidfile" option of start-stop-daemon8 so the pidfile variable must be set.
start-stop-daemon8 and supervise-daemon8 will chroot into this path before writing the pid file or starting the daemon.
Pidfile to use for the above defined command.
Display name used for the above defined command.
Signal to send when stopping the daemon.
Retry schedule to use when stopping the daemon. It can either be a timeout in seconds or multiple signal/timeout pairs (like SIGTERM/5).
A list of directories which must exist for the service to start.
A list of files which must exist for the service to start.
Set to yes to have the service marked inactive when it starts. This is used along with in_background_fake to support re-entrant services.
Space separated list of commands which should always succeed when in_background is yes.


You should define a depend function for the service so that will start and stop it in the right order in relation to other services. As it's a function it can be very flexible, see the example below. Here is a list of the functions you can use in a depend function. You simply pass the names of the services you want to add to that dependency type to the function, or prefix the names with ! to remove them from the dependencies.

The service will refuse to start until needed services have started and it will refuse to stop until any services that need it have stopped.
The service will attempt to start any services it uses that have been added to the runlevel.
The service will attempt to start any services it wants, regardless of whether they have been added to the runlevel.
The service will start after these services and stop before these services.
The service will start before these services and stop after these services.
The service provides this virtual service. For example, named provides dns. Note that it is not legal to have a virtual and real service with the same name. If you do this, you will receive an error message, and you must rename either the real or virtual service.
We should recalculate our dependencies if the listed files have changed.
Tags a service with a keyword. These are the keywords we currently understand:

Don't stop this service when shutting the system down. This is normally quite safe as remaining daemons will be sent a SIGTERM just before final shutdown. Network related services such as the network and dhcpcd init scripts normally have this keyword.
Don't stop this service when changing runlevels, even if not present. This includes shutting the system down.
Other services should wait indefinitely for this service to start. Use this keyword if your service may take longer than 60 seconds to start.
When in a jail, exclude this service from any dependencies. The service can still be run directly. Set via rc_sys in /etc/rc.conf
Same as -jail, but for Linux Resource Containers (LXC).
Same as -jail, but for OpenVZ systems.
Same as -jail, but for Prefix systems.
Same as -jail, but for RKT systems.
Same as -jail, but for UML systems.
Same as -jail, but for VServer systems.
Same as -jail, but for Xen DOM0 systems.
Same as -jail, but for Xen DOMU systems.
Same as -jail, but for docker systems.
Same as -jail, but for all relevant container types on the operating system.

To see how to influence dependencies in configuration files, see the Sx FILES section below.


defines some builtin functions that you can use inside your service scripts:

einfo [string ]
Output a green asterisk followed by the string.
ewarn [string ]
Output a yellow asterisk followed by the string.
eerror [string ]
Output a red asterisk followed by the string to stderr.
ebegin [string ]
Same as einfo, but append 3 dots to the end.
eend retval [string ]
If retval does not equal 0 then output the string using eerror and !! in square brackets at the end of the line. Otherwise output ok in square brackets at the end of the line. The value of retval is returned.
ewend retval [string ]
Same as eend but use ewarn instead of eerror

You can prefix the above commands with the letter v which means they only output when the environment variable EINFO_VERBOSE is true.

ewaitfile timeout file1 file2 ...
Wait for timeout seconds until all files exist. Returns 0 if all files exist, otherwise non zero. If timeout is less than 1 then we wait indefinitely.
is_newer_than file1 file2 ...
If file1 is newer than file2 return 0, otherwise 1. If file2 is a directory, then check all its contents too.
is_older_than file1 file2 ...
If file1 is newer than file2 return 0, otherwise 1. If file2 is a directory, then check all its contents too.
service_set_value name value
Saves the name value for later retrieval. Saved values are lost when the service stops.
service_get_value name
Returns the saved value called name
service_started [service ]
If the service is started, return 0 otherwise 1.
service_starting [service ]
If the service is starting, return 0 otherwise 1.
service_inactive [service ]
If the service is inactive, return 0 otherwise 1.
service_stopping [service ]
If the service is stopping, return 0 otherwise 1.
service_stopped [service ]
If the service is stopped, return 0 otherwise 1.
service_coldplugged [service ]
If the service is coldplugged, return 0 otherwise 1.
service_wasinactive [service ]
If the service was inactive, return 0 otherwise 1.
service_started_daemon [service ] daemon [index ]
If the service has started the daemon using start-stop-daemon return 0 otherwise 1. If an index is specified, it has to be the nth daemon started by the service.
mark_service_started [service ]
Mark the service as started.
mark_service_starting [service ]
Mark the service as starting.
mark_service_inactive [service ]
Mark the service as inactive.
mark_service_stopping [service ]
Mark the service as stopping.
mark_service_stopped [service ]
Mark the service as stopped.
mark_service_coldplugged [service ]
Mark the service as coldplugged.
mark_service_wasinactive [service ]
Mark the service as inactive.
checkpath [-D , -directory-truncate ] [-d , -directory ] [-F , -file-truncate ] [-f , -file ] [-p , -pipe ] [-m , -mode mode ] [-o , -owner owner ] [-W , -writable ] [-q , -quiet ] path ...
If -d, -f or -p is specified, checkpath checks to see if the path exists, is the right type and has the correct owner and access modes. If any of these tests fail, the path is created and set up as specified. If more than one of -d, -f or -p are specified, the last one will be used.

The argument to -m is a three or four digit octal number. If this option is not provided, the value defaults to 0644 for files and 0775 for directories.

The argument to -o is a representation of the user and/or group which should own the path. The user and group can be represented numerically or with names, and are separated by a colon.

The truncate options (-D and -F) cause the directory or file to be cleared of all contents.

If -W is specified, checkpath checks to see if the first path given on the command line is writable. This is different from how the test command in the shell works, because it also checks to make sure the file system is not read only.

Also, the -d, -f or -p options should not be specified along with this option.

The -q option suppresses all informational output. If it is specified twice, all error messages are suppressed as well.

yesno value
If value matches YES, TRUE, ON or 1 regardless of case then we return 0, otherwise 1.


sets the following environment variables for use in the service scripts:

Name of the service.
Full path to the service.
Current runlevel that OpenRC is in. Note that, in OpenRC, the reboot runlevel is mapped to the shutdown runlevel. This was done because most services do not need to know if a system is shutting down or rebooting. If you are writing a service that does need to know this, see the RC_REBOOT variable.
This variable contains YES if the system is rebooting. If your service needs to know the system is rebooting, you should test this variable.
Boot runlevel chosen. Default is boot.
Default runlevel chosen. Default is default.
A special variable to describe the system more. Possible values are OPENVZ, XENU, XEN0, UML and VSERVER.
In a Gentoo Prefix installation, this variable contains the prefix offset. Otherwise it is undefined.
The result of `uname -s`.
This contains the name of the command the service script is executing, such as start, stop, restart etc. One example of using this is to make a service script behave differently when restart is being executed.
This variable contains YES if the system is going into single user mode or shutting down.
The value of libexecdir which OpenRC was configured with during build time.
This variable is used by plugins to contain a list of directories which should not be unmounted.


Configuration files, relative to the location of the service. If a file ending with .${RC_RUNLEVEL} exists then we use that instead.

multiplexed configuration file. Example: if ${RC_SVCNAME} is net.eth1 then look for ../conf.d/net
service configuration file.
host configuration file.

With the exception of /etc/rc.conf the configuration files can also influence the dependencies of the service through variables. Simply prefix the name of the dependency with rc_. Examples:

# Whilst most services don't bind to a specific interface, our
# openvpn configuration requires a specific interface, namely bge0.
# To put it in /etc/rc.conf you would do it like this
# Services should not depend on the tap1 interface for network,
# but we need to add net.tap1 to the default runlevel to start it.
# To put it in /etc/conf.d/net you would do it like this
# To put in in /etc/rc.conf you would do it like this
# It's also possible to negate keywords. This is mainly useful for prefix
# users testing OpenRC.
# This can also be used to block a script from runining in all
# containers except one or two
rc_keyword="!-containers !-docker"


An example service script for foo.

command_args="${foo_args} --bar"
name="FooBar Daemon"
description="FooBar is a daemon that eats and drinks"
extra_started_commands="drink eat"
description_drink="Opens mouth and reflexively swallows"
description_eat="Chews food in mouth"
description_show="Shows what's in the tummy"
    grep -q dbus /etc/foo/plugins
    # We write a pidfile and to /var/cache, so we need localmount.
    need localmount
    # We can optionally use the network, but it's not essential.
    use net
    # We should be after bootmisc so that /var/run is cleaned before
    # we put our pidfile there.
    after bootmisc
    # Foo may use a dbus plugin.
    # However, if we add the dbus plugin whilst foo is running and
    # stop dbus, we don't need to stop foo as foo didn't use dbus.
    config /etc/foo/plugins
    local _need=
    if service_started; then
        _need=`service_get_value need`
        if _need_dbus; then
           _need="${_need} dbus"
    need ${_need}
# This function does any pre-start setup. If it fails, the service will
# not be started.
# If you need this function to behave differently for a restart command,
# you should check the value of RC_CMD for "restart".
# This also applies to start_post, stop_pre and stop_post.
        if [ "$RC_CMD" = restart ]; then
                # This block will only execute for a restart command. Use a
                # structure like this if you need special processing for a
                # restart which you do not need for a normal start.
                # The function can also fail from here, which will mean that a
                # restart can fail.
                # This logic can also be used in start_post, stop_pre and
                # stop_post.
    # Ensure that our dirs are correct
    checkpath --directory --owner foo:foo --mode 0775 \
        /var/run/foo /var/cache/foo
    # Save our need
    if _need_dbus; then
        service_set_value need dbus
stop_post() {
    # Clean any spills
    rm -rf /var/cache/foo/*
    ebegin "Starting to drink"
    ${command} --drink beer
    eend $? "Failed to drink any beer :("
    local result=0 retval= ate= food=
    ebegin "Starting to eat"
    if yesno "${foo_diet}"; then
        eend 1 "We are on a diet!"
        return 1
    for food in /usr/share/food/*; do
        veinfo "Eating `basename ${food}`"
        ${command} --eat ${food}
        : $(( result += retval ))
        [ ${retval} = 0 ] && ate="${ate} `basename ${food}`"
    if eend ${result} "Failed to eat all the food"; then
        service_set_value ate "${ate}"
    einfo "Foo has eaten: `service_get_value ate`"


Because of the way we load our configuration files and the need to handle more than one service directory, you can only use symlinks in service directories to other services in the same directory. You cannot symlink to a service in a different directory even if it is another service directory.

is_older_than should return 0 on success. Instead we return 1 to be compliant with Gentoo baselayout. Users are encouraged to use the is_newer_than function which returns correctly.


An Roy Marples <[email protected]>