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In UNIX (OS X BSD to be precise), I have a "tail -f" command on a log file. From time to time I want to delete this log file so I can more easily review it in my text editor.

I delete the file, and then my program recreates it after new activity. However, my tail command (and anything else that was watching the old log file) doesn't update; it's still watching the old, deleted log file.

I think I understand why this is (file names simply being pointers to blocks of file data). I'd like to know how I can work around this. Ideally, my tail command (and anything else I point to the file) would be able to read the data from the new file when the file name has been deleted and recreated.

How would I do this?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Have a look at the -F option. I think it suits your purpose.

From info tail:

     This option is the same as `--follow=name --retry'.  That is, tail
     will attempt to reopen a file when it is removed.  Should this
     fail, tail will keep trying until it becomes accessible again.
share|improve this answer
Exactly what I wanted; thanks. – Craig Walker Dec 26 '10 at 20:03

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