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A systemd service to allow for standalone operation of kodi.
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init Improve service Jun 14, 2018


A systemd service unit to run Kodi in standalone mode without the need for a DE.


Arch Linux

Arch Linux users can find a PKGBUILD in the AUR that will take care of everything. Simply install and use.

Arch ARM

Users of Arch ARM should NOT use this method as the distro package provides analogous functionality.

Other distros

Users of other distros should copy kodi.service to /usr/lib/systemd/system/ and should create both a kodi user and home directory as follows:

 useradd -u 420 -U -G audio,video -d /var/lib/kodi -s /usr/bin/nologin kodi
 passwd -l kodi > /dev/null

 mkdir /var/lib/kodi
 chown -R kodi:kodi /var/lib/kodi

Note that the kodi user's home directory is /var/lib/kodi/ in this example, NOT /home/kodi/ like a regular user.


Simply call systemd to start the service:

systemctl start kodi

Dependency List

  • polkit
  • systemd
  • xorg-server with xorg-xinit


Much of the credit for this service goes to the Arch Linux maintainers of the official kodi package. Note that they removed it upon the 1.16-1 release of Xorg.

Tips and Tricks

Service not starting

Most users should not need /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config since the created X server becomes the controlling process of the VT to which it is bound. Most users does not mean all users. There have been reports of some AMD users still requiring this file. As well, users of Xorg's native modesetting driver may also require it.

The recommendation is to first try starting kodi.service without it, but if the service fails to start X, you may need to create /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config which should contain the following:

needs_root_rights = yes

Running Kodi web service on a privileged port

Users wishing to run the kodi web service on a privileged port (i.e. <1024) can simply use a systemd drop-in modification as follows:

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