INITCTL(8) System Manager’s Manual INITCTL(8)


initctl — Control tool for Finit


/sbin/initctl [-bcfhlpqtv] [COMMAND]


initctl is the official tool for interacting with finit(8). It comes with functions for showing status, querying health of services, as well as editing, enabling and disabling services.


This program follows the usual UNIX command line syntax, with long options starting with two dashes (’-’). The options are as follows:

-b, --batch

Batch mode, no screen size probing.

-c, --create

Create missing paths (and files) as needed. Useful with the edit command.

-f, --force

Ignore missing files and arguments, never prompt.

-h, --help

Show built-in help text.

-1, --once

Only one lap in commands like top.

-p, --plain

Use plain table headings, no ANSI control characters.

-q, --quiet

Silent, only return status of command.

-t, --no-heading

Skip table headings.

-v, --verbose

Verbose output, where applicable.


Toggle finit (daemon) debug to /dev/console

initctl help

Show built-in help text

initctl version

Show Finit (daemon) version

initctl ls | list

List all *.conf files in /etc/finit.d

initctl create CONF

Create .conf in /etc/finit.d/available

initctl delete CONF

Delete .conf in /etc/finit.d/available

initctl show CONF

Show .conf in /etc/finit.d/available

initctl edit CONF

Edit .conf in /etc/finit.d/available

initctl touch CONF

Change (mark as modified) .conf in /etc/finit.d/available, like edit this tells finit that a configuration has been changed and is a candidate to be restarted (or SIGHUP’ed) on initctl reload

initctl enable CONF

Enable .conf in /etc/finit.d/available, i.e., add symlink in /etc/finit.d/enabled

initctl disable CONF

Disable .conf in /etc/finit.d/enabled, i.e., removes symlink

initctl reload

Reload *.conf in /etc/finit.d, i.e., activates changes

initctl cond set COND

Set (assert) user-defined condition, +usr/COND

initctl cond clr | clear COND

Clear (deassert) user-defined condition, -usr/COND

initctl cond status

Show condition status, default cond command.

initctl cond dump

Dump all conditions and their status

initctl log [NAME]

Show ten last Finit, or NAME, messages from syslog

initctl start NAME[:ID]

Start service by name, with optional ID, e.g., initctl start tty:1

initctl stop NAME[:ID]

Stop/Pause a running service by name

initctl reload NAME[:ID]

Reload service by name (SIGHUP or restart)

initctl restart NAME[:ID]

Restart (stop/start) service by name

initctl status NAME[:ID]

Show service status, by name

initctl status

Show status of all services, default command

initctl cgroup

List cgroup config overview

initctl ps

List processes based on cgroups

initctl top

Show top-like listing based on cgroups

initctl runlevel [0-9]

Show or set runlevel: 0 halt, 6 reboot

initctl reboot

Reboot system, default if reboot is symlinked to initctl

initctl halt

Halt system, default if halt is symlinked to initctl

initctl poweroff

Power-off system, default if poweroff is symlinked to initctl

initctl suspend

Suspend system, default if suspend is symlinked to initctl

initctl utmp show

Raw dump of UTMP/WTMP db


finit.conf(5) finit(8)


finit was conceived and reverse engineered by Claudio Matsuoka. Since v1.0, maintained by Joachim Wiberg, with contributions by many others.

Linux June 6, 2021 Linux