Functional overview

From version 5.4.0 onwards, ActiveMQ comes with a enhanced shell script for starting, stopping and managing the broker in Unix environment. For basic activemq and activemq-admin scripts functionality take a look at ActiveMQ Command Line Tools Reference.

This activemq script incorporate these two scripts into one and adds some new functionalities. On top of regular activemq and activemq-admin scripts, it adds the following features:

  • start - starts the broker in background. It saves process id in the ${ACTIVEMQ_DATA_DIR}/ for future reference. It accepts the same command line arguments like the original activemq script, so you can do something like

    bin/activemq start xbean:conf/activemq-stomp.xml
  • console - starts the broker in foreground. It is basically the replacement for the old activemq script
    (you can interrupt the )

  • stop - stops the broker that is running in the background. It tries first to stop the broker using shutdown task. If that task doesn't return in 30 seconds (configurable), it will kill the process.
  • restart - stops the running instance (if there's one) and starts the new one
  • status - checks if activemq process is running
    (exitcode: 1 = broker is down, 0 = broker is up)
  • create - create an ACTIVEMQ_BASE directory that separates a broker instance from its binaries, i.e., it creates copies of the ActiveMQ configuration files into the command-line specified directory and points to the binaries. You can start the broker with the /bin scripts in the newly created instance.

    bin/activemq create /path/to/brokers/mybroker 
  • browse - Display selected messages in a specified destination

    bin/activemq browse FOO.BAR # use broker connection from configuration
    bin/activemq browse --amqurl tcp://localhost:61616 FOO.BAR
  • bstat - Performs a predefined query that displays useful statistics regarding the specified broker

  • dstat - Performs a predefined query that displays useful tabular statistics regarding the specified destination type

  • decrypt - Decrypts given text

    bin/activemq decrypt --input 'BkiT42A0CZfL1SanJIgxvQ==' --password asdasdasdasd
  • encrypt - Encrypts given text

    bin/activemq encrypt --password TESTPASSWORD --input FOOBAR
  • export - Exports a stopped brokers data files to an archive file for importing to another brokers like ActiveMQ Artemis

    $ bin/activemq export --file=archivefile
  • list - Lists all available brokers in the specified JMX context

  • purge - Delete selected destination's messages that matches the message selector

    bin/activemq purge FOO.BAR # use jmx access data from configuration
    bin/activemq purge --jmxurl service:jmx:rmi:///jndi/rmi:// --jmxuser controlRole --jmxpassword abcd1234 FOO.BAR
  • query - Display selected broker component's attributes and statistics

    bin/activemq query # use jmx access data from configuration
    bin/activemq query --jmxurl service:jmx:rmi:///jndi/rmi:// --jmxuser controlRole --jmxpassword abcd1234

Configuring the init-script

For ActiveMQ server to run properly some basic system variables must be set. These variables define how much memory broker will have, SSL, logging, JAAS options and similar.

Version 5.11.0 and higher

Configuration file of the init-script

Since version 5.11.0, all default configuration variables are moved to the new env script file, so that they can be easily inspected and configured in a easy way.
There are also other configuration locations

The script scans the following locations for configurations in the following order:

  1. /etc/default/activemq
  2. $HOME/.activemqrc
  3. $INSTALLDIR/apache-activemq-<version>/bin/env

The first existing file is read exclusively - all other files are ignored.
Undefined values are discovered in a automated way.

Versions prior 5.11.0

These parameters were configurable in activemq script itself.

You could use setup command to create additional system wide defaults file to configure the broker.
(modify the settings in this file if neccessary - the default entries look a bit garbled due to an accidentally applied bugfix in this release)

./activemq setup /etc/default/activemq

The configuration of the script can be placed at /etc/default/activemq or $HOME/.activemqrc. Note, this is the configuration for the script not for configuring ActiveMQ.

To use addtional configurations for running multiple instances on the same operating system rename or symlink script to a name matching to activemq-instance-<INSTANCENAME>. This changes the configuration location to /etc/default/activemq-instance-<INSTANCENAME> and $HOME/.activemqrc-instance-<INSTANCENAME>. Configuration files in /etc have higher precedence.

Running activemq as a unix daemon

  • Install activemq broker as "root" to be run as "activemq"

    useradd -m activemq -d /srv/activemq
    cd /srv/activemq
    tar zxvf apache-activemq-<version>-bin.tar.gz$ ln -snf apache-activemq-<version> current
    chown -R activemq:users apache-activemq-<version>
  • Create a global default configuration and edit the configuration

    cp apache-activemq-<version>/bin/env /etc/default/activemq
    sed -i '~s/^ACTIVEMQ_USER=""/ACTIVEMQ_USER="activemq"/' /etc/default/activemq
    vim /etc/default/activemq
    chmod 644 /etc/default/activemq
    • Configure the java heap to a size suitable to your system environment and usage
    • Consider to move the folders "data", "tmp" and "conf" out of the installation path
  • Install the init script

    ln -snf  /srv/activemq/current/bin/activemq /etc/init.d/activemq
  • Activate the init script at system startup
    (TODO: uncomplete)

    # RHEL
    chkconfig --add activemq
    chkconfig activemq on
    # Debian/Ubuntu
    update-rc.d defaults activemq

Running multiple instances

To use additional configurations for running multiple instances on the same operating system rename or symlink script to a name matching to activemq-instance-<INSTANCENAME>.
This changes the configuration location to /etc/default/activemq-instance-<INSTANCENAME> and $HOME/.activemqrc-instance-<INSTANCENAME>. Configuration files in /etc have higher precedence.

Example procedure suitable to the procedure "Running activemq as a unix daemon"

mkdir /srv/activemq/instance1
cp -av /srv/activemq/current/conf/ /srv/activemq/instance1/
mkdir /srv/activemq/instance1/{data,tmp}
ln -snf  /srv/activemq/current/bin/activemq /etc/init.d/activemq-instance-test1
cp /srv/activemq/install/bin/env /etc/default/activemq-instance-instance-test1

Modify the configuration variables in /etc/default/activemq-instance-instance-test1


Control the instance

/etc/init.d/activemq-instance1 start|stop|restart|console|....


Hint: If you are using multiple instances you can only add the main instance to the automatic system start using ("update-rc.d" or "chkconfig") because the LSB Header "Provides" needs to be uniq.

Testing and reporting interoperability problems for unix platforms


The activemq repo provides a testsuite to validate the proper operation of the unix shell script on different platforms.

  • Download the testsuite
    Alternatively clone the sourcecode repo (Source) and pick the file assembly/src/test/scripts/init-script-testsuite

    cd /tmp
    wget -c ";a=blob_plain;f=assembly/src/test/scripts/init-script-testsuite;hb=HEAD"
  • Execute the testsuite

    cd <Installation Dir of the ActiveMQ Script>
    ./activemq stop
    /tmp/init-script-testsuite 2>&1| tee /tmp/test-suite.log
  • Detailed debug information can be provided by the following procedure

    export PS4=' ${BASH_SOURCE}:${LINENO}(${FUNCNAME[0]}) '
    bash -x ./activemq <argument> 2>&1 |tee /tmp/detailed-debugging.log
  • Create a ticket and attach the logfiles to the ticket.


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