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Unix tail tail command is a standard way of watching log files in Unix. There is also less well known, but more useful utility called logtail. This is a Perl script which allows a system administrator to watch entries, as they are added, in any number of log files on one or more machines on a network. Logs which transfer to new files are automatically followed, and an option allows translation of numeric Internet addresses into the corresponding hostnames where possible. Log items can be relayed to one or more other hosts on the network, permitting a machine's local log files to be monitored there.
logtail [-t] -flogfile [-ooffsetfile]
logtail reads a specified file (usually a log file) and writes to the standard output that part of it which has not been read by previous runs of logtail. It prints the appropriate number of bytes from the end of logfile, assuming that all changes that are made to it are to add new characters to it.
logfile must be a plain file. A symlink is not allowed.
logtail stores the information about how much of it has already been read in a separate file called offsetfile. offsetfile can be omitted. If omitted, the file named logfile.offset in the same directory which contains logfile is used by default.
If offsetfile is not empty, the inode of logfile is checked. If the inode is changed, logtail simply prints the entire file. If the inode is not changed but logfile is shorter than it was at the last run of logtail, it writes a warning message to the standard output.
-f logfile to be read after offset
-o offsetfile stores offset of previous run
-t test mode - do not change offset in offsetfile
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This program will read in a standard text file and create an offset marker when it reads the end. The offset marker is read the next time logtail is run and the text file pointer is moved to the offset location. This allows logtail to read in the next lines of data following the marker. This is good for marking log files for automatic log file checkers to monitor system events.
The package also provides logtail2, which better deals with rotated log files: If logtail2 finds that the inode of the file was changed, it assumes that the log has been rotated, and tries to find the file it was rotated to using heuristic plugins. If it finds the file, it will print the remainder of the file starting at the offset saved to the offset file. If a file with the correct inode was not found, logtail2 will only print the new file in its entirety before writing a new offset file.
inotail is a replacement for the 'tail' program found in the base installation of every Linux/Unix system. It makes use of the inotify infrastructure in recent versions of the Linux kernel to speed up tailing files in the follow mode (the '-f' option). Standard tail polls the file every second by default, while inotail listens to special events sent by the kernel through the inotify API to determine whether a file needs to be reread.
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