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How can I view a live log on a Linux server, so that I can see new log entries instantly as they are being added?

2 Answers 2

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Over the Terminal

In the most simple case:

tail -f /var/log/name-of-logfile-you-want-to-watch

The -f option "follows" the file and will automatically update the view as the file is being updated. For a list of possible log files, you can see this article or just explore them yourself.


Using a GUI log viewer

If you have GNOME as a graphical environment installed, it comes with a log viewer called gnome-system-log. Open it with:

gnome-system-log &

You will find a manual here.

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  • If there are any other requirements (your question wasn't that specific), just report back.
    – slhck
    Jul 29, 2011 at 10:37
  • Great answer, thanks. Just one more question, what dose the trail function actually do?
    – wowpatrick
    Jul 29, 2011 at 11:50
  • tail not trail. tail prints the "tail" of given file :). By default last 10 lines.
    – Beniamin
    Jul 29, 2011 at 13:03
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You can also use less if you're interested in that interface rather than tail.

less /var/log/syslog

and then press Shift-F to scroll to the bottom. Less will watch for more text.

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  • Press / to search for words Mar 20, 2014 at 20:06

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