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D-Bus is an interprocess communication (IPC) system for software applications; software makes use of D-Bus to communicate between services.


USE flags

Portage knows the global dbus USE flag for enabling support for D-Bus in other packages. Enabling this flag will pull in sys-apps/dbus automatically. This is the default for desktop profiles:

FILE /etc/portage/make.confEnabling D-Bus globally

Optional USE flags for sys-apps/dbus:
USE flag (what is that?) Default Recommended Description
X Yes Add support for X11
debug No Enable extra debug codepaths, like asserts and extra output. If you want to get meaningful backtraces see Backtraces
doc No Add extra documentation (API, Javadoc, etc). It is recommended to enable per package instead of globally
static-libs No Build static versions of dynamic libraries as well
systemd No Build with sys-apps/systemd at_console support


After setting at least the dbus global USE flag be sure update the system using --changed-use option so Portage will be sure to notice the changes:

root #emerge --ask --changed-use --deep @world



The main configuration files include:

  • /etc/dbus-1/system.conf for the system bus
  • /etc/dbus-1/session.conf for the session bus



After configuration step, start D-Bus with:

root #/etc/init.d/dbus start

To start D-Bus at boot time, add it the default run level:

root #rc-update add dbus default
Even without adding D-Bus to the default runlevel it often will get started by D-Bus dependent services. This should explain why D-Bus mysteriously gets started even though it has not been added formally added to a system runlevel.


Some useful commands include:

  • dbus-monitor --system - To monitor the activities in the system bus.
  • dbus-monitor --session - To monitor the activities in the session bus.
  • dbus-send <PARAMETER> - To send a message. See the dbus-send man page (man dbus-send) for more information.


Use the dbus-monitor command to monitor the buses. Errors are also redirected to the syslog (/var/log/messages).

See also

  • eudev - A fork of systemd's udev with the goal of obtaining better compatibility with existing software such as OpenRC.
  • udev - The device manager for the Linux kernel.

External resources