blazing fast Linux watchdog daemon, easy to configure, with a DBus interface
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Latest commit 34eab24 Dec 21, 2016 @muoren committed on GitHub Update list.h


fast watchdog daemon for embedded systems running GNU/Linux.

armourd restarts processes that stopped abnormally, by returning a non-zero exit status code. To watch an application armourd only needs the file path of the application executable; no PID files, no shell scripts.

It works out of the box, as it takes roughly a couple of minutes to set it up. Upon startup armourd interprets its configuration file, which lists the pathnames of the services that need to be watched, e.g.:

# echo 'path/to/foo' > /etc/armourd.conf
# echo 'path/to/bar' >> /etc/armourd.conf

Will put your foo and bar daemons under the watch of armourd.

You can also use file-name globs ('*' wildcard). For example, to watch all the binaries under /usr/local/bin/:

# echo '/usr/local/bin/*' > /etc/armourd.conf


 $ ./
 $ mkdir build && cd build
 $ ../configure
 $ make
 $ make install


  • simplest possible configuration
  • no library dependencies (other than the C library)
  • small memory footprint
  • fast recovery of processes

System Recovery

armourd can also be configured to talk to watchdog hardware. In order to make your system fully reliable, you should have a process feeding a watchdog, although your mileage may vary. Linux provides a very simple interface to watchdog timers (/dev/watchdog) that armourd implements as a non-default feature, to provide an all-round solution. To enable it:

./configure --enable-watchdog

How it works

Reads kernel events from the proc connector, combined with the use of a socket filter (BPF) to keep things quiet. The proc connector is built on top of the generic connector and that itself is on top of netlink.

For more information, you can read this excellent post from Scott Remnant:


armourd is Linux-only by design, because it relies upon interfaces such as epoll(7) or netlink(7) and proc(5) files that aren't available in other unices. It is more suited to sysvinit-based systems; newer init systems, such as upstart or systemd, service recovery is readily available.

armourd does not start services, i.e. its not an init daemon; on the other hand, it runs independently of your init system, and thus is portable across Linux devices.

Forking servers will have their children terminate before restart. Although it is designed to recover system daemon programs, it can actually recover any application, with the limitation that currently only supports single-instance applications unless using the D-Bus interface (see below).

It does not recover applications hanging.


The minimum required versions are:

  • Linux kernel 2.6.27
  • GNU C Library (glibc) 2.8
  • GCC 4.1
  • Autoconf 2.50
  • D-Bus 1.6.x (not required)

D-Bus Interface

Optionally, you can build the daemon with D-Bus support to commuincate with other applications. The D-Bus API exposes runtime information, and a method to watch running processes. The introspection XML data is:

  <interface name="org.freedesktop.DBus.Introspectable">
    <method name="Introspect">
      <arg name="xml_data" type="s" direction="out"/>
  <interface name="com.github.Armourd">
    <method name="ListProcesses">
      <arg type="a{sv}" direction="out"/>
    <method name="WatchProcess">
      <arg name="pid" type="i" direction="in"/>
      <arg name="resultcode" type="u" direction="out"/>


Explicitly request to watch a running process, using DBus, e.g. with dbus-send you would:

$ dbus-send --session --print-reply --type=method_call \
> --dest=com.github.Armourd /com/github/armourd \
> com.github.Armourd.WatchProcess int32:`pidof foo`

Or, using the example Python script:

$ ./ -w`pidof foo`

See for an example of how to build D-Bus


Current version is not production ready, as there aren't any tests. Unit tests to exercise the API's and integration tests to check the runtime behaviour are a must. This could be added as a configure option (e.g. --enable-tests) then the user can run the make check target


  • Testsuite
  • Logging
  • Configuration file parser needs to be rewritten (it is buggy)
  • Enable options in the configuration file and DBus interface to tailor specific needs, e.g. return codes for success, recover script, etc.
  • Send a D-Bus signal when a watched application crashes/restarts