I'm trying to write a user service:

$ systemctl --user start valheim.service
Failed to start valheim.service: Unit valheim.service has a bad unit file setting.
See user logs and 'systemctl --user status valheim.service' for details.

I minimized it slightly, with the same error resulting:

Description=Valheim Server

ExecStart = /bin/ls


Unfortunately, due to https://askubuntu.com/questions/1328245/how-to-fix-systemctl-status-not-working-as-non-root-user-in-20-04-upgrade, I can't seem to currently use systemctl status to further diagnose.


You need to remove the spaces around =:

  • I think another issue I had, which I didn't specify in the original post, was that the valheim.service was a symbolic link. I used a hard link instead. – bbarker Mar 30 at 23:46
  • Symlinks work fine, I use them all the time for systemd services (global and user), so that shouldn’t have been a problem. – Stephen Kitt Mar 31 at 4:34

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