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I just realized that /usr/bin/poweroff and /usr/bin/shutdown are symbolic link to systemctl, but I don't know how systemctl is being run.

so is there any difference between /usr/bin/poweroff and /usr/bin/shutdown?

EDIT: when I call any of these two programs, systemctl is being executed but I don't know what command/parameter is passed to systemctl.

when I type systemctl --helpthere are two options that may come into play

  • halt Shut down and halt the system
  • poweroff Shut down and power-off the system

but something tells me that both poweroff and shutdown are the same in here (I'm guessing)

I'm running Archlinux

marked as duplicate by JdeBP, msp9011, Jeff Schaller, thrig, Thomas Dickey Sep 5 '18 at 20:15

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In most systems, every "shutdown" command is just a symlink to a common program/script which changes its behaviour based on how (with which "name") is invoked.

So, poweroff does a kind of shutdown which powers off the machine (usually via ACPI APIs), too and it's equivalent to shutdown -hP, while shutdown as a command is more generic and can do many thigs after "stopping" the OS, based on with which flags is called.

For example shutdown -r reboots the machine while shutdown -h just stops the OS (and the machine is still powered on, while not usable).

  • It's an oversimplification to say that poweroff is equivalent to shutdown -hP. It's equivalent to that in the van Smoorenburg toolset, but in the systemd toolset both the -h and -P options are the defaults anyway and it is equivalent to plain shutdown now. The now is important, by the way. unix.stackexchange.com/a/196471/5132 unix.stackexchange.com/a/465337/5132 – JdeBP Sep 5 '18 at 17:15
  • @JdeBP I agree the now is important (as +mmm minutes, btw) but the OP was asking about differences, not syntax ;) – Mr Shunz Sep 5 '18 at 18:38
  • right, but as far as I can see both programs are a symlink to systemctl, I don't see how systemctl is being used. What makes it interesting is that those flags mention here have not use with systemctl – juanp_1982 Sep 5 '18 at 23:20
  • now is important because without it there is a difference. Pay close attention to the user manual of the systemd toolset. – JdeBP Sep 6 '18 at 0:44

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