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  • Disclaimer: I get no royalites or anything here - Just had coworkers ask me about it

So since I'm no systems guru and am now working on a Linux Distribution effectively at work I thought I'd read this book. Especially since it relies so heavily on systemd components I wanted to dig deeper and understand more about it's design and why things were done the way they were. So I read this book. I also promised this review to co-workers, so here it is.

sytstemd book

This book is mainly a walk through of:

  • systemd components
    • Configuration options
  • Differences in RedHats + Cannonicals use of SystemD in their respective distros (Fedora/CentOS + Ubuntu repectively)
    • Examples of how to dig in and play with each implementation
    • Some quirky decisions were made

This walkthrough was handy and there is lots of go read the man page for more info. But the biggest win was all the small pieces that completed little gaps in my systemd knowledge. I also like how the author is an old school Linux admin. So you get a decent explanation of what the systenmd componoent being explained aims to replace. For example, SYS V Init and upstart for main systemd, syslog for journald etc. etc. ...

Overall Rating: 7/10



  • Explains main configuration in enough detail
  • Good labs to do yourself to understand more + play with more
    • It suggests a Rocky VM + Ubuntu
  • Echo'd a lot why something was done
    • Also stated when the author could not find a good reason for why something was done
  • Explaining cgroups v1 vs. v2 was super handy
  • Showing a distro that used systemd-boot was interesting
    • Who's name elludes me right now (I'm sure arch can use it tho)


  • Some components were hurried over
    • networkd ... but to be fair networkd is just a layered ini configuration system over netlink ...
    • Some components left me wanting more explanations - But i have a good starting point to go play now
  • The writing style at times, pauses, and makes quirky irrelevant statements
    • But not a big deal
  • Complains about man pages / docs a lot ... Not sure if the author went and fixed them / submitted a PR
    • if they did I apologize - But this is something that grinds my gears


Anyways - if you're a sysadmin these days. I reccommend reading this to fill in some gaps with systemd + componenets. It's helped me with lots of small things and to understand things I haven't spent enough time with - e.g. cgroups. It even nicely explains why cgroups v2 is so different and how it scales better (I didn't even understand this and I work @ Meta/Facebook).

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