How to Run a Windows Service As A Linux Daemon

written on Friday, October 19, 2012

Premise: You've got a Windows service that you want to run on a Linux server

Problem: Your code is written using the .NET framework and some language that targets the CLR (C#, VB, Clojure-CLR, etc.)

Solution: Mono is an open-source implementation of the .NET framework. By installing mono you gain access to a ton of useful stuff, but the relevant item here is the mono-service executable. (Installing mono is out of the scope of this blog post, but odds are pretty good mono is available from your distro's package management system.)

Once installed, you can run your compiled code like so:

mono-service SomeExecutable.exe

By default, this creates a lockfile in /tmp. You can change this by using the -l:<lockfile> option. This is great, because now your service is running in the background! However, this is really flimsy; what if the process dies? What if the server needs rebooted? To solve this I'm using supervisor.

Get It Running In 4 Steps

Once you've got supervisor and mono installed, follow these steps:

  1. Create a supervisor file in /etc/supervisor/conf.d/ with a descriptive name. We'll use mysvc.conf.

  2. Edit mysvc.conf so it looks similar to this1,2

    command=mono-service MyWindowsService.exe --no-daemon
  3. sudo service supervisor update. This will reload the config file you edited above.

  4. To confirm that your process started, run ps aux|grep mono. You should see it in the process list.


Hope this helps. Supervisor has a ton of different options for configuring how a process runs, it's worth it to RTFM.


1. The directory specified in your stdout_logfile parameter must already exist. If you try to start the mysvc process without creating it, supervisor will throw an error. Also, the user parameter should be set to a user that has permissions to write to the directory where you're keeping the stdout_logfile. Please consult the relevant supervisor docs for more about users & processes.

2. You must use the --no-daemon flag to avoid creation of the lockfile which indirectly allows supervisor to capture/redirect stdout/stderr to a logfile.

This entry was tagged clr, dotnet, mono, mono-service and supervisor