So after some research I found the existence of drop-ins for systemd service units.

I'm trying to get the transmission-daemon package running as the pi user since it's the only way to get correct permission in the folder it downloads to. By default it runs as debian-transmission. I want to steer away from init.d and choose a systemd approach.

Described in the systemd file (/lib/system/systemd/transmission-daemon.service):

Description=Transmission BitTorrent Daemon

ExecStart=/usr/bin/transmission-daemon -f --log-error
ExecReload=/bin/kill -s HUP $MAINPID


With my drop-in replacement in /etc/systemd/system/transmission-daemon.service.d/local.conf:


I ran sudo systemctl daemon-reload and sudo systemctl restart transmission-daemon. The drop-in is listed in sudo systemctl status transmission-daemon and shows as active nevertheless the daemon isn't running correctly and RPC connection doesn't work in a browser.

Thanks in advance if you help, because I'm fumbled.

  • Please check which user account the transmission-daemon process is actually running as (after you start it): ps auxww | grep transmission-daemon also, is there are any errors or warnings in the logs ? journalctl -u transmission-daemon --since today
    – zeppelin
    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:09
  • Also do you really need this empty "User=" entry in your local.conf ? (should not break it, but still)
    – zeppelin
    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:10
  • @zeppelin Just verified what was in original post, transmission-daemon runs as special user debian-transmission as described in the env USER /etc/init.d/transmission-daemon. No journal files found (due to the package using init.d?) The empty User= was removed but makes no difference.
    – thibmaek
    Nov 2, 2016 at 1:02
  • Hmm, well, so it is still being started by the SystemV init script ? And systemd will try to launch a second instance of it (which explains why it does not work well). Please disable the init script with update-rc.d transmission-daemon disable, stop it /etc/init.d/transmission-daemon stop, verify that the process is not running with ps, and then start a systemd unit: systemctl start transmission-daemon, and see if it works (or at least produces some usable logs now).
    – zeppelin
    Nov 2, 2016 at 10:43
  • You may also try to add --log-info to your ExecStart command, to make it produce a bit more detailed log.
    – zeppelin
    Nov 2, 2016 at 10:44

1 Answer 1


Find the answer myself:

Systemd is not the problem since it runs the service correctly but when transmission-daemon runs as the pi user it reads the config from $HOME/.config/transmission-daemon/settings.json owned by pi:pi, instead of /etc/transmission-daemon/settings.json owned by debian-transmission:debian-transmission.

As a solution you can switch to using the config file in $HOME/transmission-daemon or pass -g /etc/transmission-daemon/settings.json in an ExecStart directive in the drop-in.

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