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:

sudo apt-get install upstart-sysv

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.

sudo update-initramfs -u

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.

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-standard systemd-sysv

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.

sudo update-initramfs -u

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.

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