A server log is a log file which is created and updated by a server. A common example is an access log generated by Apache (open source web server software), which provides a history of web page requests. However, Apache does not only capture information to that access log. There is also information captured in its error log as well as a process id file, script log and a rewrite log.
These log files are everywhere. Applications capture an enormous amount of information to log files, especially as a server may generate multiple logs. It is important to review log files to obtain feedback about the activity and performance of the server, and to identify hints to solve any problems that may arise. However, the administrator of the system can suffer from information overload, and reviewing the log files in an efficient way can be a very time consuming task.
Here steps in the trusty logfile viewer; a small utility which filters out extraneous information generated in logfiles, identifying specific strings in real time. Logfile viewers used in conjunction with logfile analysers make a powerful combination.
For many years system and kernel logs were handled by a utility called syslogd. Most Linux-based operating systems have since moved to systemd, which has a journal. It’s a giant log file for the whole system. Various software and services write their log entries into systemd’s journalctl.
To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 12 useful Linux logfile viewers. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone needing to examine and process logfile data.
Let’s explore the 12 logfile viewers at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot of the software in action, together with links to relevant resources.
|QJournalctl||Graphical User Interface for systemd’s journalctl|
|journalctl||Query and display messages from the journal|
|lnav||Curses-based utility for viewing and analyzing log files.|
|KSystemLog||System log viewer for KDE 4|
|Xlogmaster||GTK+ based program to keep track of logfiles and devices|
|MultiTail||View multiple logfiles windowed on the console|
|gnome-logs||View and search logs with this graphical utility|
|glogg||Qt graphical log explorer|
|logrifle||Designed to "rifle through" large logfiles|
|frontail||Stream logs to your web browser|
|logmaster-gtk-d||Log viewer for Linux built with GTK and D|
|swatch||Logfile viewer with regexp matching, highlighting & hooks|
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.