Wednesday, October 1, 2014

systemd hate - console autologin on Jessie

Quick tip - systemd sucks.

Just kidding, I actually have no opinion on the matter.  I haven't noticed much of a difference yet, except that all the old snippets I find on the internet seem to apply mostly to sysv, and from what I hear, grepping over all of /var/log won't return systemd log results, as they're a binary format.

But I'm a fan of progress, and if systemd fixes some obscure problems deep inside Linux that will eventually bubble up and result in better stuff in my world, then I'm all for it.

The one particular problem I was looking to solve was how to autologin at the console.  Arch's wiki was helpful in this regard.  Unfortunately for me, I failed to realize that Arch and Debian Jessie are different distros, and so when I rebooted to test my console autologin, I instead got a blinking cursor on an empty, unresponsive screen shortly after the kernel messages began their scroll.

After some live booting and poking around, I came to the realization that while agetty is at /usr/bin/ on Arch, it's at /sbin on Debian.  Quick fix, problem solved.

Here's all you have to do to get autologin on Debian Jessie:

root@serv$ mkdir -pv /etc/systemd/system/getty@tty1.service.d/
root@serv$ vi /etc/systemd/system/getty@tty1.service.d/autologin.conf

Then, inside the file type this stuff, substituting $username for the name of the user you want to be automatically logged in:

ExecStart=-/sbin/agetty --autologin $username --noclear %I 38400 linux

If you're actually typing, note the tricky little dash in front of the agetty path, that matters.  Enjoy not having to type two dozen characters the once a year you actually use that physical console on your server!


  1. thanks!! after manually editing the damned /etc/systemd/system/ a ton of times and losing the changes on every systemd-related update (why does it even get updated so often in testing?) I decided to find a proper solution and come across yours...

    fingers crossed - I'm tired of manually editing system files every now and then.

  2. Hey Niky, glad to help, I hope it worked for you! Also, congratulations, you're the first person to ever comment on my blog! Thanks for sharing.