Cockpit uses systemd and the DBus APIs it provides to configure and monitor core aspects of the system. Use of alternate system APIs are not currently implemented.

For non root users, systemd controls access to its APIs via Policy Kit and a user logged into Cockpit will have the same permissions as they do from the command line.

Cockpit retrieves information about the host and changes the hostname via the hostnamed daemon. To perform similar tasks from the command line use the hostnamectl command:

$ hostnamectl
   Static hostname:
   Pretty hostname: Pink
         Icon name: computer-desktop
           Chassis: desktop
        Machine ID: ef00b79be229463cbb844c3e715de96c
           Boot ID: 934983d64d34465cb5a8383b5a89ad8c
  Operating System: Fedora 22 (Twenty Two)
       CPE OS Name: cpe:/o:fedoraproject:fedora:22
            Kernel: Linux 4.0.4-301.fc22.x86_64
      Architecture: x86-64

Cockpit configures the system time and time zone via the timedated daemon. To perform similar tasks from the command line use the timedatectl command:

$ timedatectl list-timezones

Cockpit can manage the list of NTP servers used by systemd-timesyncd by putting its own file into /etc/systemd/timesyncd.conf.d/. Note that systemd-timesyncd is not always enabled, depending on the configuration of the machine. In that case, Cockpit disabled the UI for managing the list of NTP servers. In some cases use of ntpd can cause the timedated daemon to behave inconsistently with regards to time synchronization.

Cockpit reboots or powers down the machine by using the shutdown command. To perform similar tasks from the command line, run it directly:

$ sudo shutdown +15
Shutdown scheduled for Sa 2015-09-26 15:49:40 CEST, use 'shutdown -c' to cancel.

Cockpit manages system services and sockets via systemd. To perform similar tasks from the command line use the systemctl command:

$ systemctl status cockpit
● cockpit.service - Cockpit Web Service
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/cockpit.service; static; vendor preset: disabled)
  Drop-In: /etc/systemd/system/cockpit.service.d
   Active: active (running) since Sa 2015-09-26 13:28:02 CEST; 2h 7min ago
     Docs: man:cockpit-ws(8)
 Main PID: 6957 (cockpit-ws)
   Memory: 1.8M
   CGroup: /system.slice/cockpit.service
           ├─ 6957 /usr/libexec/cockpit-ws
           └─29598 /usr/bin/ssh-agent

In order to customize who can perform various actions in system, create polkit rules with the following actions and details:


Permission to manage system services or other units. Details available: unit, verb


Permission to manage system services or other unit files.


Permission to reload the systemd state.

For example, placing the following polkit rule to /etc/polkit-1.rules.d/10-http.rule allows all users in the operators group start, stop, and restart the Apache HTTP service:

polkit.addRule(function(action, subject) {
    if ( == "org.freedesktop.systemd1.manage-units") {
        if (subject.isInGroup("operators") && action.lookup("unit") == "httpd.service") {
            var verb = action.lookup("verb");
            if (verb == "start" || verb == "stop" || verb == "restart") {
                return polkit.Result.YES;