Making better use of your Linux logs

Making better use of your Linux logs

Linux systems maintain quite a collection of log files, many of which you are probably rarely tempted to view. Some of these log files are quite valuable though and options for exploring them might be more interesting and varied than you imagine. Let’s look at some system logs and get a handle on some of the ways in which log data might be easier to probe.

Log file rotation

First, there’s the issue of log rotation. Some Linux log files are “rotated”. In other words, the system stores more than one “generation” of these files, mostly to keep them from using too much disk space. The older logs are then compressed, but left available for a while. Eventually, the oldest in a series of rotated log files will be automatically deleted in the log rotation process, but you’ll still have access to a number of the older logs so that you can examine log entries that were added in the last few days or weeks when and if you need to look a little further back into some issue you’re tracking.

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