Re-enable Upstart on Ubuntu 15.04

Re-enable Upstart on Ubuntu 15.04

Ever since Ubuntu 15.04 launched, the Linux community has been having a discussion about Canonical’s choice to switch away from Upstart towards a different one by the name of Systemd. This whole topic is a huge can of worms. In fact, there was a bit of a shakeup at the Debian project around this very topic a few months back. It’s safe to say that people on both sides are very passionate about their opinions on the subject, and I can definitely understand that.

Why did they choose Systemd? Simple: the Debian project made a decision to switch, so Canonical decided to follow suit. Ubuntu is ultimately a Debian derivative after all. This type of thing makes sense to me. If your parent project is doing one thing, you might as well adopt it instead of creating more fragmentation.

Some people are absolutely thrilled about systemd in the new release of Ubuntu. Others … not so much. Not to worry! All is not lost! There’s a simple trick that you can apply to your 15.04 install that will remove Systemd in its entirety and put Upstart right back in.

How to enable Upstart in Ubuntu 15.04

Before Upstart can be re-enabled on Ubuntu, a package needs to be installed first. Open up a terminal window and enter the following commands:

While installing the Upstart package, Ubuntu will automatically remove the Systemd one from your machine.

Install the Upstart package.

With the Upstart package in place and the Systemd one removed, you’ll need to update the Ubuntu system to reflect the changes you’ve made.

Update the Ubuntu system to reflect the changes.

When you’ve entered all of the commands above, simply reboot your machine. When you boot back into Ubuntu, it’ll be operating with the help of Upstart and not Systemd!

How to re-enable Systemd in Ubuntu 15.04

Did you remove Systemd but decide you want it back? Here’s how you can do exactly that! Open up your trusty terminal and enter the following commands.

When you enter the command above to install the Systemd package, Ubuntu will automatically remove the Upstart one from your system.

Ubuntu will automatically remove Upstart.

With Systemd reinstalled and Upstart removed, it’s time to update Ubuntu’s settings to reflect the changes you’ve made.

Update Ubuntu's settings to reflect the changes.

After that, just reboot your PC. When it powers back on, it’ll be using Systemd again!


When it comes to Ubuntu using systemd, I’m totally in the systemd camp. I think it gives a lot more tools to advanced users and is more useful for sysadmins. That being said, not everyone agrees with me or with Canonical on this. Some people just don’t want systemd as their init system on Linux.

That’s why I’m glad that the Ubuntu developers have made it so easy to swap out one for the other. To have a choice between the two is really awesome! It literally takes a few minutes and your system is booting with the help of something totally different.

Are you using Upstart or Systemd on Ubuntu 15.04? What are your reasons? Let us know in the comments section below!

Derrik Diener Derrik Diener

Derrik Diener is a freelance technology blogger.


  1. Linux Mint claims it will be going to systemd; I suppose one could switch now if so desired using the terminal command given:

    sudo apt-get install ubuntu-standard systemd-sysv


  2. Who the fuck is thinking about to downgrade to UPStart? Systemd is the future, has A LOT of features that make seem UPstart a very bad and useless implementation…

  3. @jakiro, ever installed latest ubuntu 15.10 ? the damn thing is useless and cant even reboot gets stuck complaining about some target reached shutdown, future or not its doesnt work. i am happy to live with working past upstart or init than useless junk futuristic systemd which promises teleportation but fails ‘transportation’.

    Look at these basic unresolved issues:

    when this bug was posted on github where systemd repos are maintained the maintainer of systemd says (and i quote)
    “we cannot support arbitary builds”, recommends rebuilding systemd-222(some version) now why in the world would someone want to rebuild a bootstrap init like process which was working for decades the systemd clan tried to do something ‘great’ and cant make the basic thing work.

    i go back to upstart till systemd is sane.

    1. @menehune don’t complain against systemd, complain against Ubuntu’s poor integration with it.

  4. No doubt systemd is more up to date and more efficient than upstart, but until they remove the one and a half minute wait on shutdown I’ll just have to soldier on with upstart

  5. Hi, i have a question.
    When insert the command “sudo apt-get install upstart-sysv” show this message “package upstart-sysv is not available”

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