Provided by: systemd-container_251.4-1ubuntu7_amd64 bug


       portablectl - Attach, detach or inspect portable service images


       portablectl [OPTIONS...] {COMMAND} [NAME...]


       portablectl may be used to attach, detach or inspect portable service images. It's
       primarily a command interfacing with systemd-portabled.service(8).

       Portable service images contain an OS file system tree along with systemd(1) unit file
       information. A service image may be "attached" to the local system. If attached, a set of
       unit files are copied from the image to the host, and extended with RootDirectory= or
       RootImage= assignments (in case of service units) pointing to the image file or directory,
       ensuring the services will run within the file system context of the image.

       Portable service images are an efficient way to bundle multiple related services and other
       units together, and transfer them as a whole between systems. When these images are
       attached the local system the contained units may run in most ways like regular
       system-provided units, either with full privileges or inside strict sandboxing, depending
       on the selected configuration. For more details, see Portable Services[1].

       Specifically portable service images may be of the following kind:

       •   Directory trees containing an OS, including the top-level directories /usr/, /etc/,
           and so on.

       •   btrfs subvolumes containing OS trees, similar to normal directory trees.

       •   Binary "raw" disk images containing MBR or GPT partition tables and Linux file system
           partitions. (These must be regular files, with the .raw suffix.)


       The following commands are understood:

           List available portable service images. This will list all portable service images
           discovered in the portable image search paths (see below), along with brief metadata
           and state information. Note that many of the commands below may both operate on images
           inside and outside of the search paths. This command is hence mostly a convenience
           option, the commands are generally not restricted to what this list shows.

       attach IMAGE [PREFIX...]
           Attach a portable service image to the host system. Expects a file system path to a
           portable service image file or directory as first argument. If the specified path
           contains no slash character ("/") it is understood as image filename that is searched
           for in the portable service image search paths (see below). To reference a file in the
           current working directory prefix the filename with "./" to avoid this search path

           When a portable service is attached four operations are executed:

            1. All unit files of types .service, .socket, .target, .timer and .path which match
               the indicated unit file name prefix are copied from the image to the host's
               /etc/systemd/system.attached/ directory (or /run/systemd/system.attached/ —
               depending whether --runtime is specified, see above), which is included in the
               built-in unit search path of the system service manager.

            2. For unit files of type .service a drop-in is added to these copies that adds
               RootDirectory= or RootImage= settings (see systemd.unit(5) for details), that
               ensures these services are run within the file system of the originating portable
               service image.

            3. A second drop-in is created: the "profile" drop-in, that may contain additional
               security settings (and other settings). A number of profiles are available by
               default but administrators may define their own ones. See below.

            4. If the portable service image file is not already in the search path (see below),
               a symbolic link to it is created in /etc/portables/ or /run/portables/, to make
               sure it is included in it.

           By default all unit files whose names start with a prefix generated from the image's
           file name are copied out. Specifically, the prefix is determined from the image file
           name with any suffix such as .raw removed, truncated at the first occurrence of an
           underscore character ("_"), if there is one. The underscore logic is supposed to be
           used to versioning so that the an image file foobar_47.11.raw will result in a unit
           file matching prefix of foobar. This prefix is then compared with all unit files names
           contained in the image in the usual directories, but only unit file names where the
           prefix is followed by "-", "."  or "@" are considered. Example: if a portable service
           image file is named foobar_47.11.raw then by default all its unit files with names
           such as foobar-quux-waldi.service, foobar.service or foobar@.service will be
           considered. It's possible to override the matching prefix: all strings listed on the
           command line after the image file name are considered prefixes, overriding the
           implicit logic where the prefix is derived from the image file name.

           By default, after the unit files are attached the service manager's configuration is
           reloaded, except when --no-reload is specified (see above). This ensures that the new
           units made available to the service manager are seen by it.

           If --now and/or --enable are passed, the portable service(s) are immediately started
           (blocking operation unless --no-block is passed) and/or enabled after attaching the

       detach IMAGE [PREFIX...]
           Detaches a portable service image from the host. This undoes the operations executed
           by the attach command above, and removes the unit file copies, drop-ins and image
           symlink again. This command expects an image name or path as parameter. Note that if a
           path is specified only the last component of it (i.e. the file or directory name
           itself, not the path to it) is used for finding matching unit files. This is a
           convenience feature to allow all arguments passed as attach also to detach.

           If --now and/or --enable are passed, the portable service(s) are immediately stopped
           (blocking operation) and/or disabled before detaching the image. Prefix(es) are also
           accepted, to be used in case the unit names do not match the image name as described
           in the attach.

       reattach IMAGE [PREFIX...]
           Detaches an existing portable service image from the host, and immediately attaches it
           again. This is useful in case the image was replaced. Running units are not stopped
           during the process. Partial matching, to allow for different versions in the image
           name, is allowed: only the part before the first "_" character has to match. If the
           new image doesn't exist, the existing one will not be detached. The parameters follow
           the same syntax as the attach command.

           If --now and/or --enable are passed, the portable service(s) are immediately stopped
           if removed, started and/or enabled if added, or restarted if updated. Prefixes are
           also accepted, in the same way as described in the attach case.

       inspect IMAGE [PREFIX...]
           Extracts various metadata from a portable service image and presents it to the caller.
           Specifically, the os-release(5) file of the image is retrieved as well as all matching
           unit files. By default a short summary showing the most relevant metadata in
           combination with a list of matching unit files is shown (that is the unit files attach
           would install to the host system). If combined with --cat (see above), the os-release
           data and the units files' contents is displayed unprocessed. This command is useful to
           determine whether an image qualifies as portable service image, and which unit files
           are included. This command expects the path to the image as parameter, optionally
           followed by a list of unit file prefixes to consider, similar to the attach command
           described above.

       is-attached IMAGE
           Determines whether the specified image is currently attached or not. Unless combined
           with the --quiet switch this will show a short state identifier for the image.

           Table 1. Image attachment states
           │StateDescription                      │
           │detached         │ The image is currently not       │
           │                 │ attached.                        │
           │attached         │ The image is currently attached, │
           │                 │ i.e. its unit files have been    │
           │                 │ made available to the host       │
           │                 │ system.                          │
           │attached-runtime │ Like attached, but the unit      │
           │                 │ files have been made available   │
           │                 │ transiently only, i.e. the       │
           │                 │ attach command has been invoked  │
           │                 │ with the --runtime option.       │
           │enabled          │ The image is currently attached, │
           │                 │ and at least one unit file       │
           │                 │ associated with it has been      │
           │                 │ enabled.                         │
           │enabled-runtime  │ Like enabled, but the unit files │
           │                 │ have been made available         │
           │                 │ transiently only, i.e. the       │
           │                 │ attach command has been invoked  │
           │                 │ with the --runtime option.       │
           │running          │ The image is currently attached, │
           │                 │ and at least one unit file       │
           │                 │ associated with it is running.   │
           │running-runtime  │ The image is currently attached  │
           │                 │ transiently, and at least one    │
           │                 │ unit file associated with it is  │
           │                 │ running.                         │

       read-only IMAGE [BOOL]
           Marks or (unmarks) a portable service image read-only. Takes an image name, followed
           by a boolean as arguments. If the boolean is omitted, positive is implied, i.e. the
           image is marked read-only.

       remove IMAGE...
           Removes one or more portable service images. Note that this command will only remove
           the specified image path itself — it refers to a symbolic link then the symbolic link
           is removed and not the image it points to.

       set-limit [IMAGE] BYTES
           Sets the maximum size in bytes that a specific portable service image, or all images,
           may grow up to on disk (disk quota). Takes either one or two parameters. The first,
           optional parameter refers to a portable service image name. If specified, the size
           limit of the specified image is changed. If omitted, the overall size limit of the sum
           of all images stored locally is changed. The final argument specifies the size limit
           in bytes, possibly suffixed by the usual K, M, G, T units. If the size limit shall be
           disabled, specify "-" as size.

           Note that per-image size limits are only supported on btrfs file systems. Also,
           depending on BindPaths= settings in the portable service's unit files directories from
           the host might be visible in the image environment during runtime which are not
           affected by this setting, as only the image itself is counted against this limit.


       The following options are understood:

       -q, --quiet
           Suppresses additional informational output while running.

       -p PROFILE, --profile=PROFILE
           When attaching an image, select the profile to use. By default the "default" profile
           is used. For details about profiles, see below.

           When attaching an image, select whether to prefer copying or symlinking of files
           installed into the host system. Takes one of "copy" (to prefer copying of files),
           "symlink" (to prefer creation of symbolic links) or "auto" for an intermediary mode
           where security profile drop-ins are symlinked while unit files are copied. Note that
           this option expresses a preference only, in cases where symbolic links cannot be
           created — for example when the image operated on is a raw disk image, and hence not
           directly referentiable from the host file system — copying of files is used

           When specified the unit and drop-in files are placed in /run/systemd/system.attached/
           instead of /etc/systemd/system.attached/. Images attached with this option set hence
           remain attached only until the next reboot, while they are normally attached

           Don't reload the service manager after attaching or detaching a portable service
           image. Normally the service manager is reloaded to ensure it is aware of added or
           removed unit files.

           When inspecting portable service images, show the (unprocessed) contents of the
           metadata files pulled from the image, instead of brief summaries. Specifically, this
           will show the os-release(5) and unit file contents of the image.

           Immediately enable/disable the portable service after attaching/detaching.

           Immediately start/stop/restart the portable service after attaching/before
           detaching/after upgrading.

           Don't block waiting for attach --now to complete.

           Add an additional image PATH as an overlay on top of IMAGE when attaching/detaching.
           This argument can be specified multiple times, in which case the order in which images
           are laid down follows the rules specified in systemd.exec(5) for the ExtensionImages=
           directive and for the systemd-sysext(8) tool. The image(s) must contain an
           extension-release file with metadata that matches what is defined in the os-release of
           IMAGE. See: os-release(5). Images can be block images, btrfs subvolumes or
           directories. For more information on portable services with extensions, see the
           "Extension Images" paragraph on Portable Services[1].

           Note that the same extensions have to be specified, in the same order, when attaching
           and detaching.

       -H, --host=
           Execute the operation remotely. Specify a hostname, or a username and hostname
           separated by "@", to connect to. The hostname may optionally be suffixed by a port ssh
           is listening on, separated by ":", and then a container name, separated by "/", which
           connects directly to a specific container on the specified host. This will use SSH to
           talk to the remote machine manager instance. Container names may be enumerated with
           machinectl -H HOST. Put IPv6 addresses in brackets.

       -M, --machine=
           Execute operation on a local container. Specify a container name to connect to,
           optionally prefixed by a user name to connect as and a separating "@" character. If
           the special string ".host" is used in place of the container name, a connection to the
           local system is made (which is useful to connect to a specific user's user bus:
           "--user"). If the "@" syntax is not used, the connection is
           made as root user. If the "@" syntax is used either the left hand side or the right
           hand side may be omitted (but not both) in which case the local user name and ".host"
           are implied.

           Do not pipe output into a pager.

           Do not print the legend, i.e. column headers and the footer with hints.

           Do not query the user for authentication for privileged operations.

       -h, --help
           Print a short help text and exit.

           Print a short version string and exit.


       Portable service images are preferably stored in /var/lib/portables/, but are also
       searched for in /etc/portables/, /run/systemd/portables/, /usr/local/lib/portables/ and
       /usr/lib/portables/. It's recommended not to place image files directly in /etc/portables/
       or /run/systemd/portables/ (as these are generally not suitable for storing large or
       non-textual data), but use these directories only for linking images located elsewhere
       into the image search path.

       When a portable service image is attached, matching unit files are copied onto the host
       into the /etc/systemd/system.attached/ and /run/systemd/system.attached/ directories. When
       an image is detached, the unit files are removed again from these directories.


       When portable service images are attached a "profile" drop-in is linked in, which may be
       used to enforce additional security (and other) restrictions locally. Four profile
       drop-ins are defined by default, and shipped in /usr/lib/systemd/portable/profile/.
       Additional, local profiles may be defined by placing them in
       /etc/systemd/portable/profile/. The default profiles are:

       Table 2. Profiles
       │NameDescription                      │
       │default   │ This is the default profile if   │
       │          │ no other profile name is set via │
       │          │ the --profile= (see above). It's │
       │          │ fairly restrictive, but should   │
       │          │ be useful for common,            │
       │          │ unprivileged system workloads.   │
       │          │ This includes write access to    │
       │          │ the logging framework, as well   │
       │          │ as IPC access to the D-Bus       │
       │          │ system.                          │
       │nonetwork │ Very similar to default, but     │
       │          │ networking is turned off for any │
       │          │ services of the portable service │
       │          │ image.                           │
       │strict    │ A profile with very strict       │
       │          │ settings. This profile excludes  │
       │          │ IPC (D-Bus) and network access.  │
       │trusted   │ A profile with very relaxed      │
       │          │ settings. In this profile the    │
       │          │ services run with full           │
       │          │ privileges.                      │

       For details on these profiles and their effects see their precise definitions, e.g.
       /usr/lib/systemd/portable/profile/default/service.conf and similar.


       On success, 0 is returned, a non-zero failure code otherwise.


           The maximum log level of emitted messages (messages with a higher log level, i.e. less
           important ones, will be suppressed). Either one of (in order of decreasing importance)
           emerg, alert, crit, err, warning, notice, info, debug, or an integer in the range
           0...7. See syslog(3) for more information.

           A boolean. If true, messages written to the tty will be colored according to priority.

           This setting is only useful when messages are written directly to the terminal,
           because journalctl(1) and other tools that display logs will color messages based on
           the log level on their own.

           A boolean. If true, console log messages will be prefixed with a timestamp.

           This setting is only useful when messages are written directly to the terminal or a
           file, because journalctl(1) and other tools that display logs will attach timestamps
           based on the entry metadata on their own.

           A boolean. If true, messages will be prefixed with a filename and line number in the
           source code where the message originates.

           Note that the log location is often attached as metadata to journal entries anyway.
           Including it directly in the message text can nevertheless be convenient when
           debugging programs.

           A boolean. If true, messages will be prefixed with the current numerical thread ID

           Note that the this information is attached as metadata to journal entries anyway.
           Including it directly in the message text can nevertheless be convenient when
           debugging programs.

           The destination for log messages. One of console (log to the attached tty),
           console-prefixed (log to the attached tty but with prefixes encoding the log level and
           "facility", see syslog(3), kmsg (log to the kernel circular log buffer), journal (log
           to the journal), journal-or-kmsg (log to the journal if available, and to kmsg
           otherwise), auto (determine the appropriate log target automatically, the default),
           null (disable log output).

           Pager to use when --no-pager is not given; overrides $PAGER. If neither $SYSTEMD_PAGER
           nor $PAGER are set, a set of well-known pager implementations are tried in turn,
           including less(1) and more(1), until one is found. If no pager implementation is
           discovered no pager is invoked. Setting this environment variable to an empty string
           or the value "cat" is equivalent to passing --no-pager.

           Note: if $SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE is not set, $SYSTEMD_PAGER (as well as $PAGER) will be
           silently ignored.

           Override the options passed to less (by default "FRSXMK").

           Users might want to change two options in particular:

               This option instructs the pager to exit immediately when Ctrl+C is pressed. To
               allow less to handle Ctrl+C itself to switch back to the pager command prompt,
               unset this option.

               If the value of $SYSTEMD_LESS does not include "K", and the pager that is invoked
               is less, Ctrl+C will be ignored by the executable, and needs to be handled by the

               This option instructs the pager to not send termcap initialization and
               deinitialization strings to the terminal. It is set by default to allow command
               output to remain visible in the terminal even after the pager exits. Nevertheless,
               this prevents some pager functionality from working, in particular paged output
               cannot be scrolled with the mouse.

           See less(1) for more discussion.

           Override the charset passed to less (by default "utf-8", if the invoking terminal is
           determined to be UTF-8 compatible).

           Takes a boolean argument. When true, the "secure" mode of the pager is enabled; if
           false, disabled. If $SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE is not set at all, secure mode is enabled if
           the effective UID is not the same as the owner of the login session, see geteuid(2)
           and sd_pid_get_owner_uid(3). In secure mode, LESSSECURE=1 will be set when invoking
           the pager, and the pager shall disable commands that open or create new files or start
           new subprocesses. When $SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE is not set at all, pagers which are not
           known to implement secure mode will not be used. (Currently only less(1) implements
           secure mode.)

           Note: when commands are invoked with elevated privileges, for example under sudo(8) or
           pkexec(1), care must be taken to ensure that unintended interactive features are not
           enabled. "Secure" mode for the pager may be enabled automatically as describe above.
           Setting SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE=0 or not removing it from the inherited environment allows
           the user to invoke arbitrary commands. Note that if the $SYSTEMD_PAGER or $PAGER
           variables are to be honoured, $SYSTEMD_PAGERSECURE must be set too. It might be
           reasonable to completely disable the pager using --no-pager instead.

           Takes a boolean argument. When true, systemd and related utilities will use colors in
           their output, otherwise the output will be monochrome. Additionally, the variable can
           take one of the following special values: "16", "256" to restrict the use of colors to
           the base 16 or 256 ANSI colors, respectively. This can be specified to override the
           automatic decision based on $TERM and what the console is connected to.

           The value must be a boolean. Controls whether clickable links should be generated in
           the output for terminal emulators supporting this. This can be specified to override
           the decision that systemd makes based on $TERM and other conditions.


       systemd(1), systemd-sysext(8), org.freedesktop.portable1(5), systemd-portabled.service(8)


        1. Portable Services