I'm constantly tailing log files. At any given time I've got half a dozen terminal windows open that are simply running tail -f .

In OS X, the Console app is brilliant. All the usual log files are there (system, mail, apache, etc) and you can add in your own custom logs. Everything in one place, in a searchable interface. If you reboot, just fire up Console and you are right where you left off.

Is there anything similar to Console for Linux?


Not sure about other distros, but Ubuntu has/had the GNOME System Log Viewer.


tail can follow multiple files. You just need to put multiple file names in its command line. And the outputs are labelled so you can easily differentiate outputs from different files.

For example:

% tail -F /tmp/a /tmp/b

==> /tmp/a <==
Wed 31 Aug 2011 22:33:22 MDT

==> /tmp/b <==
Wed 31 Aug 2011 22:33:24 MDT
Wed 31 Aug 2011 22:33:34 MDT

==> /tmp/a <==
Wed 31 Aug 2011 22:33:38 MDT

==> /tmp/b <==
Wed 31 Aug 2011 22:33:40 MDT

==> /tmp/a <==
Wed 31 Aug 2011 22:33:43 MDT
  • 1
    You can also use the -q option to suppress the file name headers. – Keith Sep 1 '11 at 7:09
  • Yes you can suppress the file names but I find it more useful to keep them. Also, the use of -F is more appropriate than -f for log files, because -F can let tail continue to monitor a rotated log. – jeffgao Sep 1 '11 at 14:58

Follow, is an open source java-based log file tailer. It has a tabbed interface (one tab per file), and it remembers the files you have open between sessions.

  • Monitor ("follow") text files to which information is being appended asynchronously (e.g. log files)
  • Jump quickly to the top or bottom of followed files
  • Clear the contents of the text areas which display the contents of followed files (singly or all-at-once)
  • Delete the contents of followed files (singly or all-at-once)
  • Configure the buffering strategy & latency of the threads which follow files
  • Open files using Drag-and-Drop
  • Maintain session data across invocations of Follow (i.e. Follow remembers which files a user opens so it can re-open those files the next time it runs)
  • Pause log files and replay where paused
  • Highlight & search for text within a log file
  • Restart a log while following


Another very nice alternative is glogg, and this is the one closer to the OSX Console I've found so far.

It's available on the Software Center for Ubuntu 11.04+ or you can install it via command line for older releases.

glogg is a multi-platform GUI application to browse and search through long or complex log files. It is designed with programmers and system administrators in mind. glogg can be seen as a graphical, interactive combination of grep and less.

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Tail is the tool to use but you can get a colourised version here which maybe better suited.

Roottail is a useful too as well, but it is not as nice as having it in a window.

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