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Manual Pages  — SERVICE


service – control (start/stop/etc.) or list system services



service [-j jail] -e
service [-j jail] -R
service [-j jail] [-v] -l
service [-j jail] [-v] -r
service [-j jail] [-v] script command


The service command is an easy interface to the rc.d system. Its primary purpose is to start and stop services provided by the rc.d scripts. When used for this purpose it will set the same restricted environment that is in use at boot time ( see ENVIRONMENT ). It can also be used to list the scripts using various criteria.

The options are as follows:
  List services that are enabled. The list of scripts to check is compiled using rcorder(8) the same way that it is done in rc(8), then that list of scripts is checked for an "rcvar" assignment. If present the script is checked to see if it is enabled.
-j jail
  Perform the given actions under the named jail. The jail argument can be either a jail ID or a jail name.
  List all files in /etc/rc.d and the local startup directories. As described in rc.conf(5) this is usually /usr/local/etc/rc.d. All files will be listed whether they are an actual rc.d script or not.
  Restart all enabled local services.
  Generate the rcorder(8) as in -e above, but list all of the files, not just what is enabled.
  Be slightly more verbose.


When used to run rc.d scripts the service command sets HOME to / and PATH to /sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin which is how they are set in /etc/rc at boot time.


The utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.


The following are examples of typical usage of the service command:
service named status
service -j dns named status
service -rv

The following programmable completion entry can be used in bash(1) for the names of the rc.d scripts:

_service () {
        local cur
        COMPREPLY=( $( compgen -W '$( service -l )' -- $cur ) )
        return 0
complete -F _service service


bash(1) ( ports/shells/bash), rc.conf(5), rc(8), rcorder(8)


The service utility first appeared in FreeBSD 7.3 .


This manual page was written by Douglas Barton <Mt dougb@FreeBSD.org>.

SERVICE (8) June 23, 2020

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"I liken starting one's computing career with Unix, say as an undergraduate, to being born in East Africa. It is intolerably hot, your body is covered with lice and flies, you are malnourished and you suffer from numerous curable diseases. But, as far as young East Africans can tell, this is simply the natural condition and they live within it. By the time they find out differently, it is too late. They already think that the writing of shell scripts is a natural act."
— Ken Pier, Xerox PARC