tail -f bar/somefile.log would fail immediately when somefile.log does not exist. How do I make tail indefinitely wait for that file to be created (which will happen in a few moments)?

Update: using -F, I see:

tail: cannot open `bar/somefile.log' for reading: No such file or directory
tail: cannot watch parent directory of `bar/somefile.log': No such file or directory

because bar does't exist yet (it will be created in a few moments). when bar was created, and somefile.log was touched, tail didn't pick up the changes at all.


This works:

while ! tail -f bar/somefile.log ; do sleep 1 ; done
  • this is what finally worked for me (for missing parent directory cases). – Sridhar Ratnakumar Feb 20 '12 at 19:48
  • Will this work for Mac? – mCeviker Aug 10 '18 at 20:45

You're not mentioning which OS you need it for, but tailon linux has the --retry and --follow options that will do just that;

tail --retry --follow=name somefile.log
  • 7
    thanks, or tail -F somefile.log. but then, tail fails for a different reason (i've updated my question) – Sridhar Ratnakumar Feb 20 '12 at 19:35

Create the file first:

touch somefile ; tail -f somefile
  • Nice elegant logical solution. – CarComp Jun 12 '19 at 19:37
  • Depending on the application, this might be the best solution. Thanks! – Alex Kaszynski Jan 17 at 17:21

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