Excellent Utilities: lnav – the log file navigator

Last Updated on May 22, 2022

Other Features

In no particular order, the software also offers the following:

  • Headless mode – use lnav’s log processing features in your own scripts.
  • Supports tab-completion for almost all operations.
  • Built-in log message parser can automatically discover and extract interesting data from plainly formatted log messages.
  • Add comments and tags to log lines.
  • Mark lines with ‘m’ and then press ‘c’ to copy the marked lines to the clipboard.
  • Pretty-print view reformats structured data, like XML or JSON, so that it’s easier to read.
  • Dynamic log line table – log formats that lack message structure, lnav can parse the log message and attempt to extract any data fields that it finds.
  • Carefully considered keyboard shortcuts.
  • Mouse support – use the mouse to mark lines of text and move the view with the scrollbar.
  • Papertrail integration.
  • Cross-platform support – runs under Linux and Mac OS X.

lnav supports a wide range of log message formats.

Log Formats built into lnav
Common Access LogDefault web access log format for servers like Apache
Amazon ALB logLog format for Amazon Application Load Balancers
VMware vSphere Auto Deploy log formatLog format for the VMware Auto Deploy service
Generic BlockGeneric format for logs, like cron, that have a date at the start of a bloc
Candlepin log formatLog format used by Candlepin registration system
Yum choose_repo LogLog format for the yum choose_repo tool
CUPS log formatLog format used by the Common Unix Printing System
Dpkg LogDebian dpkg log
Amazon ELB logLog format for Amazon Elastic Load Balancers
engine logLog format for the engine.log files from RHEV/oVirt
Common Error LogDefault web error log format for servers like Apache
Fsck_hfs LogLog for the fsck_hfs tool on Mac OS X
GlogGoogle glog format
Java log formatLog format used by log4j and other Java software
journalctl JSON log formatLogger format as created by systemd journalctl -o json
Katello log formatLog format used by Katello and Foreman
OpenAM LogOpenAM identity provider
OpenAM Debug LogDebug logs for the OpenAM identity provider
OpenStack log formatLog format for the OpenStack log files
CUPS Page LogCUPS server log of printed pages
Papertrail ServiceLog format for the papertrail log management service
SnapLogic Server LogSnapLogic server log format
SSSD log formatLog format used by the System Security Services Daemon
Stracestrace output format
sudosudo privilege management tool
Syslogsystem logger format found on most POSIX systems
TCF LogTarget Communication Framework log
TCSH Historytcsh history file format
Uwsgi Loguwsgi log format
Vdsm LogsVdsm log format
VMKernel LogsVMKernel’s log format
VMware LogsVMware’s ESXi and vCenter log format
RHN server XMLRPC log formatGenerated by Satellite’s XMLRPC component

Compressed files (gz and bzip2) are automatically detected and decompressed on-the-fly.

The software helps filter out the noise.

Next page: Page 4 – Summary

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Other Features
Page 4 – Summary

Complete list of articles in this series:

Excellent Utilities
AES CryptEncrypt files using the Advanced Encryption Standard
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
brootNext gen tree explorer and customizable launcher
CerebroFast application launcher
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
CopyQAdvanced clipboard manager
crocSecurely transfer files and folders from the command-line
DeskreenLive streaming your desktop to a web browser
dufDisk usage utility with more polished presentation than the classic df
ezaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
Extension ManagerBrowse, install and manage GNOME Shell Extensions
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
fkillKill processes quick and easy
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
horcruxFile splitter with encryption and redundancy
KoohaSimple screen recorder
KOReaderDocument viewer for a wide variety of file formats
ImagineA simple yet effective image optimization tool
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
lsdLike exa, lsd is a turbo-charged alternative to ls
Mark TextSimple and elegant Markdown editor
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
notiMonitors a command or process and triggers a notification
NushellFlexible cross-platform shell with a modern feel
nvitopGPU process management for NVIDIA graphics cards
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
Oh My ZshFramework to manage your Zsh configuration
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
pastelGenerate, analyze, convert and manipulate colors
PDF Mix ToolPerform common editing operations on PDF files
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
RnoteSketch and take handwritten notes
scrcpyDisplay and control Android devices
StickySimulates the traditional “sticky note” style stationery on your desktop
tldrSimplified and community-driven man pages
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
Whoogle SearchSelf-hosted and privacy-focused metasearch engine
ZellijTerminal workspace with batteries included
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