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Systemd 255 Released: A Major Update for Linux Systems

Systemd 255, the latest stable release of the popular system and service manager for Linux, is finally here. This major update brings a host of new features and improvements that significantly enhance the functionality and usability of the platform.

Systemd 255: New Features

  • Systemd Storage Target Mode: Inspired by macOS, systemd now offers a nifty feature called “systemd-storagetm” that exposes all locked block devices as NVMe-TCP. This allows for remote access and management of storage devices, opening up new possibilities for data center deployments.
  • Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) for Linux: Say goodbye to cryptic error messages! Systemd 255 introduces “systemd-bsod”, a new component that displays emergency logs (LOG_EMERG) full-screen on boot failures. This essentially equips Linux with a BSOD-like experience, making troubleshooting boot issues much easier.
  • Modernized service spawning: Systemd 255 overhauls the way services are spawned for improved efficiency and reliability. It now uses CLONE_VM and CLONE_VFORK via posix_spawn(), eliminating the need for memory sharing via CoW.
  • Managing TPM2 PCRs: Systemd now offers a new tool called “systemd-pcrlock” that allows administrators to manage local TPM2 PCR policies for PCRs 0-7 and similar. This provides enhanced security and control over sensitive data.
Systemd 255 in Arch Linux
Systemd 255 in Arch Linux

Additional updates on systemd 255

  • systemd-vmspawn: This new tool provides VMs with the same functionality as systemd-nspawn for containers, enabling easier VM management.
  • varlinkctl: This tool facilitates interfacing with Varlink services, expanding communication options.
  • LoongArch 64-bit support: SECCOMP now supports the LoongArch architecture, bringing broader compatibility.
  • Unified Kernel Image (UKI) awareness: systemd-bootctl now shows if the system was booted from a UKI, providing valuable insights.
  • New boot menu hotkeys: “B” for reboot and “O” for poweroff offer convenient shortcuts for users.
  • PIDFDs for process tracking: Improved internal process tracking using PIDFDs on supported kernels.
  • Automatic root filesystem soft-reboot: systemctl automatically reboots into a new root filesystem located at /run/nextroot/.
  • “SurveFinalKillSignal” option: This option allows services to survive soft-reboot operations.
  • ConditionSecurity=measured-uki: This option ensures services only run when booted via a measured UKI, enhancing security.
  • TPM measurements logging: TPM measurements are now logged for better monitoring and analysis.
  • Hibernation on Btrfs swap files: Systemd now supports hibernation into swap files backed by Btrfs, offering more flexibility.

Deprecation and removal

  • Split-user support: Support for split-user has been removed in systemd 255.
  • System V service scripts: Support for System V service scripts has been deprecated and will be removed in future versions.

Closing notes

Overall, systemd 255 represents a significant leap forward for the platform. It provides a wealth of new features and improvements that enhance functionality, security, and usability. This is a major update that all Linux users should consider upgrading to.

All the major Linux distributions such as Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, Arch Linux and others will start packaging this as part of the next release. You can get the source code from the official GitHub page.

Via release notes

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