Sunday, 2 October 2011

Monitoring System Log Information

Logs are an operating systems' way of keeping a diary. Every event that takes place during its 'day' is written in here. So much for an introduction, now we'll discuss logs in Linux (Ubuntu) and Windows (7).

In Windows 7, system logs can be accessed by the 'Event Viewer' application. In this application, ALL logs kept by Windows natively can be accessed.

In Ubuntu, these logs are kept as these files in these directories:

  • /var/log/message: General message and system related stuff
  • /var/log/auth.log: Authenication logs
  • /var/log/kern.log: Kernel logs
  • /var/log/cron.log: Crond logs (cron job)
  • /var/log/maillog: Mail server logs
  • /var/log/qmail/ : Qmail log directory (more files inside this directory)
  • /var/log/httpd/: Apache access and error logs directory
  • /var/log/lighttpd: Lighttpd access and error logs directory
  • /var/log/boot.log : System boot log
  • /var/log/mysqld.log: MySQL database server log file
  • /var/log/secure: Authentication log
  • /var/log/utmp or /var/log/wtmp : Login records file
  • /var/log/yum.log: Yum log files
A general note here, the Windows Event Viewer is a very self-explanatory application, whereas the Linux logs are fairly complicated (to the novice).

Any changes in the system are reflected in the Windows Logs/System tab in the Event Viewer and in the /var/log/message file in Linux.

As for a utility that can parse logs and give the information you want, I found none more convenient and simpler than the Event Viewer in Windows. This application has a very user friendly UI which does not require any kind of high profile know-how and works like a cinch. This utility allows you to find a certain log, filter search results, and a very nice log viewer.

Thank you for reading our blog and I hope you never encounter problems so troubling that you have to read system blogs!

Gagan Khanijau
Harshit Shukla

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