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needrestart checks which daemons need to be restarted after library upgrades. It is inspired by checkrestart from the debian-goodies package.

There are some hook scripts in the ex/ directory (to be used with apt and dpkg. The scripts will call needrestart after any package installation/upgrades.

needrestart should work on GNU/Linux. It has limited functionality on GNU/kFreeBSD since /proc/<pid>/maps does not show removed file links.

Restarting Services

needrestart supports but does not require systemd (available since v0.6). If systemd is used you should use libpam-systemd, too. If needrestart detects systemd it will assume that libpam-systemd is used and relies on cgroup names to detect if a process belongs to a user session or a daemon. If you do not use libpam-systemd you should set $nrconf{has_pam_systemd} to 0 within needrestart.conf.

If systemd is not available or does not return a service name needrestart uses hooks to identify the corresponding System V init script. The shipped hooks support the following package managers:

  • dpkg
  • rpm
  • pacman

The service command is used to run the traditional System V init script.


needrestart uses a modular approach based on perl packages providing the user interface. The following frontends are shipped:

  • NeedRestart::UI::Debconf using debconf
  • NeedRestart::UI::stdio fallback using stdio interaction

Kernel & Microcode

needrestart 0.8 brings a obsolete kernel detection feature. Since needrestart 3.5 it is possible to filter kernel image filenames (required on Raspberry Pi).

In needrestart 3.0 a processor microcode update detection feature for Intel CPUs has been added. Since needrestart 3.5 the AMD CPU support has been added.


needrestart 0.8 brings an interpreter scanning feature. Interpreters not only map binary (shared) objects but also use plaintext source files. The interpreter detection tries to check for outdated source files since they may contain security issues, too. This is only a heuristic and might fail to detect all relevant source files. The following interpreter scanners are shipped:

  • NeedRestart::Interp::Java
  • NeedRestart::Interp::Perl
  • NeedRestart::Interp::Python
  • NeedRestart::Interp::Ruby


needrestart 2.1 detects some container technologies. If a process is part of a container it might not be possible to restart it using Sys-V/systemd.

There are special perl packages (NeedRestart::CONT::*) implementing the container detection and restarting. The following container detectors are shipped:

  • NeedRestart::CONT::docker
  • NeedRestart::CONT::LXC
  • NeedRestart::CONT::machined

Batch Mode

needrestart can be run in batch mode to use the results within other programs or scripts.

There is also a nagios plugin mode available.