I've rented a server which I access using the Terminus SSH terminal. I've created a program that has prompts and takes input and works as intended when started normally. But I've created a service to automatically launch it at startup, or when it crashes, but when it's launched from the service it doesn't print any output to the terminal or take any input.

If I leave the Standardinput and Standardoutput blank in the unit file, and use the systemctl status command, I can see the prompts that the program is supposed to print when it's started, but I still cant give it any commands.

I've tried setting the Standardinput and Standardoutput to tty and also tty-force and the TTYPath to /dev/pts/0, because it says thats the tty I'm using. When I do that though it still doesn't give any output or take any input, and also doesn't even give any of the starting output when I use the systemctl status command, same when I use the /dev/console as the TTYPath, which I read is supposed to be the default. So I don't know why it would display those prompts in the systemd status when no standardinput or ouput are set but not display them when they're set to /dev/console, if that's the default.

I've also tried several other ttys like ptyp0, ptyp1, tty0, tty2, and stdin/stdout, but still can't get it to work. Any suggestions?

I've realised there may be issues if it tries to connect to the SSH terminal when I'm not connected to it, if that's the case is there a way to setup a virtual terminal that stays open and use that for the input and output, then just connect to that terminal whenever I log in via SSH?

How would I go about creating the virtual terminal via SSH, and also connecting to it? I've tried chvt 0 and chvt 1 but got "Couldn't get a file descriptor referring to the console.", also tried it using sudo su -, but still the same response.

Here's the unit code

Description= Makes sure server stays running



ExecStart=/usr/lib/jvm/jdk-19/bin/java  -cp /apps/server/lib/*:/apps/server/src packages/Server

RestartSec= 30

  • 1
    If you want to be able to attach and detach from a service at will, you'll want to look into screen or its many, varied multiplexers. superuser.com/questions/1276775/…
    – SHawarden
    Jan 9, 2023 at 3:12
  • SHawarden Thanks, I'll look into screen. And Jaromeda, sorry, I'll break it up into paragraphs now
    – Michael
    Jan 9, 2023 at 3:31
  • It'd be better if you add to your question the code. By code I mean both the unit file and the code which your systemd unit runs. Jan 9, 2023 at 11:14
  • Also,what you want to do (if I understood correctly) about giving input to a script which runs in a systemd service it's not possible. So please update the question and include what the systemd service and the script run. Maybe instead of asking for user input you can create a socket, a named pipe, etc. Jan 9, 2023 at 11:20
  • Edgar Magallon, I'll add the untit file but the program it runs is large, it's a server program written in java for a game I'm making. And it has methods for managing it. For instance getting the user list, or removing users. Getting the list of user connections or multiplayer sessions, and their statuses, and how long they've been like that, or any error messages or debug info. And methods to restart or reset any sessions or connection that are frozen up or having issues, without having to restart the whole server program.
    – Michael
    Jan 9, 2023 at 16:56

1 Answer 1


You can use screen for this. For example, consider a trivial script ~/noisy.sh that you've made executable (chmod a+x ~/noisy.sh). In your case it would be your long-running complex application.

while :
    sleep 5

You can push this off into a long-running session with screen like this

screen -S myNoisy -md ~/noisy.sh

The -S <session_name> allows you to identify which screen session is your long running application. I've used myNoisy in the example. As usual you can list sessions with screen ls, attached to this one with screen -r myNoisy, and detach again with Ctrl Ad.

If you want your code to be restarted automatically, use a script like the one I've given as a stand-in example but insert a line between date and sleep 5 with a call to your actual code. Or use screen as the application to start under systemd.

  • I think your onto something. But if I wanted it to launch at start up I'd still have to use systemd right. And just set ExecStart to start a screen running that looping script
    – Michael
    Jan 9, 2023 at 18:42
  • That would work, yes. screen -md doesn't need a tty to start (it creates one inside its session) Jan 9, 2023 at 18:50

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