After executing the command service --status-all I get a listing of all the services on my machine. I get an output like this.

[ ? ]  acpi-fakekey
[ ? ]  acpi-support
[ + ]  acpid
[ - ]  anacron
[ + ]  apache2
[ + ]  atd
[ - ]  bootlogd

What does a ? mean? I have always assumed a + means the process is started and a - means the process is stoppped. What state is a service preceded by ? in?

Here's the contents of my /proc/version file incase it helps anyone to answer me.

Linux version 2.6.32-5-amd64 (Debian 2.6.32-45)

Thanks in advance!


The question mark in the output of service --status-all is printed when the /usr/sbin/service script does not find status line in the case structure in the related script under /etc/init.d.

If you look at the /usr/sbin/service script, you can find an if statement like this:

if ! grep -qs "\Wstatus)" "$SERVICE"; then
    #printf " %s %-60s %s\n" "[?]" "$SERVICE:" "unknown" 1>&2
    echo " [ ? ]  $SERVICE" 1>&2
  • 1
    ... and since that regular expression is not correct, it will also falsely print a ? if the status) line does not have a non-"[:alnum:]" character in front of it. – faker Nov 7 '12 at 17:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.