Graphical interfaces for systemd

Systemd System Manager

Systemd System Manager [4], designed for GTK work interfaces, comes with a very simple interface, which therefore also offers far fewer configuration and information options than Kcmsystemd. After installing the systemd-ui package, the systemadm entry is waiting for the user in the menu structure.

The Systemd System Manager interface, just like the KDE counterparts, lists the existing active units – including their states – in its main window. Here too, the admin can switch on inactive units via check marks, as required. Via the All unit types selection box, the admin can select certain unit types and thus get a grip of the numerous units of the system. Below the list area, the program window also displays in-depth information about selected units. Unlike Kcmsystemd, however, Systemd System Manager is missing the option to edit individual units via a context menu and modify their configuration files (Figure 5).

Figure 5: The program window of Systemd System Manager provides fewer options than Kcmsystemd.

This manager displays existing dependencies at the bottom of the program window and uses different colors to do so: Correctly loaded and active units appear in green; red-colored units have crashed or were not loaded by the system for other reasons. You can activate and stop the units accordingly using the Start, Stop, Restart, and Reload buttons.

You can freeze the system in a defined state using the Take Snapshot button at the top right. Alternatively, you can restore a previous system state using the Reload Configuration button, which causes the system to reload disabled services, for example.

The Systemd System Manager does not adjust the journal function or session management. You need to access the terminal to do this.

Systemd Manager

The fledgling project Systemd Manager [5] is also designed for GTK+-based work interfaces, however in version 3. Furthermore, the software written in Mozilla's programming language Rust [10] is currently only in the standard repositories of the Russian Rosa Linux and of Arch Linux. The developer provides an independent archive for Fedora. For Debian, there is a Debian package intended for 64-bit hardware that also runs easily on Ubuntu and Linux Mint. The GitHub page also contains source code for the manual translation.

The Systemd Manager presents a clear, two-part interface: On the left of the window, the individual units appear with two status indicators Enabled and Active, and the right area shows the configuration files for the respective units. The File, Journal, and Dependencies tabs are located above the right-hand window segment. Whereas File is active by default and displays the configuration file, Journal presents the journal entries of the respective unit. Dependencies visualizes the existing dependencies in a tree shape.

Above the two segments is a line with information about the respective service. The admin can easily start and stop the service using the Stop and Start buttons on the right of the window. To the left, the admin can switch on or off the current unit using the slider Enabled: at system startup (Figure 6).

Figure 6: The Systemd Manager interface is very clearly presented.

However, Systemd Manager does not display all the unit categories created by Systemd: The Services option is located at the top of the program window by default. Alternatively, you can select Sockets and Timer here. The program does not support additional, expectable categories such as Targets or Devices (Figure 7).

Figure 7: Systemd Manager displays the main unit types, though not all, in the selection box. This also puts the associated journal entries on the screen.


The Systemd Manager allows the simple modification of existing configuration files: If you have selected a unit and can see the associated configuration file on the right-hand side of the window in the File tab, you can simply write in it and make the changes there. Then just click Save at the bottom right to save and use the configuration file.

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