Tutorial: Meerkat as a systemd service

Meerkat is intended to be run as a long-running process via a process manager like systemd. Meerkat is distributed with a suitable service unit file. This tutorial covers how to install that file and other required system configuration.


  • Installed Meerkat. See Installing Meerkat.
  • Permissions to edit system configuration. We are installing files in the /etc directory and changing file ownership.

1. Create a user

Create an underprivileged user “meerkat” that the service will run as:

useradd -d /usr/local/meerkat -s /usr/sbin/nologin meerkat

Ensure that the meerkat directory is owned by the new user:

chown -R meerkat /usr/local/meerkat/

2. Install meerkat.service

Copy the Meerkat unit file from the meerkat installation directory to the systemd service directory. Assuming the default installation directory:

cp /usr/local/meerkat/contrib/meerkat.service /etc/systemd/system/

Systemd needs to be made aware of the new service:

systemctl daemon-reload

3. Install configuration

Meerkat will load its configuration from /etc/meerkat.toml. Write a configuration file to this path if required. For a config file reference see Configuration.

Ensure the meerkat user can read the file:

chown meerkat /etc/meerkat.toml

4. Enable and start Meerkat

To ensure Meerkat starts at system boot time, we can enable Meerkat:

systemctl enable meerkat

To start meerkat:

systemctl start meerkat