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I am looking for a GUI program, that shows running services from /etc/init.d (and /etc/init), and allows to manage (start / stop / runlevel) them. What can you recommend?

Background: even though I like working with the command line, this could ease things a bit on a test machine dedicated for trying out different services, so that you can see what is running and what not. For example: tomcat 5.5, tomcat 6, tomcat 7 on one machine for testing ... add two RDBMS in some versions, Apache httpd, ...

Last but not least: some CLI tool with decent ncurses menu will do as well.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Try sysv-rc-conf to alter the runlevel settings.

and chkconfig to see what's running

Don't forget that ubuntu (and others?) are starting to use the Upstart Startup Manager, so you'll have to keep an eye on the /etc/init directory too

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On my Redhat (err, Centos) box:

curses: ntsysv

gui: system-config-services

On another note, remember to add the descriptive comment stanza to the top of your file. chkconfig and other tools (like ntsysv) read this.

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If you also consider a web alternative, I suggest you to have a look at webmin.

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Good suggestion but overkill – pwn4g3 Aug 9 '10 at 22:15

Once upon a time I wrote a zenity-GUI myself. In short words: It looks for files in init.d, greps for the case statements, and tries to guess what should be displayed on the fly.

Maybe it doesn't work well for all services, but for my work (cups, postgresql, ...) it's sufficient.

As a side note, it shows how to dynamically fit your window to screensize (maximum) and content size (width, length).

Here it is:

# Show all servives in /etc/init.d in a list, and let the user choose how to start it.
# (c) 2008 Stefan Wagner, license GPLv3
# Search /etc/init.d/ for all executable files
# Get their number, and the maximum name size to produce a fitting window


# The font will influence the optimal window size
# But I don't know how to get them. 
# Probably depending on windowmanager, desktop, usersettings 

function xyFromList 
    for file in $1
        [ $len -gt $wmax ] && wmax=$len

dienstlist=$(ls /etc/init.d/ )
xyFromList "$dienstlist"

dienst=$(zenity --width=$width --height=$height --list --text "Service schalten" --column "Dienst" $dienstlist)
[ "foo"$dienst == "foo" ] && exit

# select options for the service, and display an apropriate window

optionen=$(egrep -h "[a-z]+\)" /etc/init.d/$dienst | sed 's/^[ \t]*//;s/).*/)/;s/#.*//;s/)//g;s/|/ /g' | sort -u)
xyFromList "$optionen"
aktion=$(zenity --width=$width --height=$height --list --text "Service schalten" --column "Befehl" $optionen)
[ "foo"$aktion == "foo" ] && exit
result=$(gksudo /etc/init.d/$dienst $aktion)
zenity --info "$aktion" --text "$result"

On my website I have screenshots, and german comments

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