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Syslog, is it needed?
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freedomlives
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:31 pm    Post subject: Syslog, is it needed? Reply with quote

I just noticed that the Gentoo VPS I've been using for the past 2 years doesn't have any syslogd installed. Yet, everything I've been running on there (nginx, mysql, php-fpm) puts a log file there anyway. So I read up a bit on syslog, and notice that it is useful for consolidating log messages from several systems, making alerts to the sysadmin, etc. But for a desktop user, is there any reason it should even be installed? I know, for example, that I can set up my laser print to connect to a syslog server, but as its sitting on the desk next to my computer that doesn't provide me much benefit. This isn't a desperate support question or anything, I've decided for my server to install it and configure to actually email me some errors, but just wondering why the Gentoo Handbook doesn't put it as something optional to install like cron daemon is.
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djdunn
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

syslog-ng has a lot of nice features
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PaulBredbury
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Syslog, is it needed? Reply with quote

freedomlives wrote:
puts a log file there anyway

How about e.g. iptables logging?

I expect there's many apps which will just assume you're running a logger.
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Inekris
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uhm, no. Strictly speaking, there is no need for a logdaemon or logs in general.

Having said that. There is, as PaulBredbury points out, software that expects that there is a logging daemon in place. Gentoo takes care of that, if you emerge such software.

There is a far better reason to have a logging daemon. Lots of software actually use such a daemon to log their errors, problems and such. IF you find yourself wondering why a program isn't running, or acts weird, the logs are a good place to start. A lot of software offers the option, or have it default configured, to log to files directly. That is fine, but an administrative nightmare if you have every program writing it's own logfiles.

But, basically, no you don't need a log daemon, but it can make your life easier.
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Anon-E-moose
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

is it needed? No

is it required? No

is it helpful, especially when oddities show up? Not only yes, but hell yes :lol:

If one is worried about disk space, then there are remote options or even just keeping the last/latest log ie. only one log around

As with anything else, the choice is yours.
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albright
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sometimes, if everything is running perfectly, I turn off the logger

but -- gentoo -- that is rare :)
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luismw
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a regular, stable tree, desktop user, it is most definitely optional, in my experience.

I do not use syslog, furthermore, I have /var/log/ mounted in RAM, so I lose all logs when I power down. I've been doing this during my four years with Gentoo and never regretted it.

But maybe it is just that I like living dangerously.

For a server, and specially a remote server, now that's a different story.
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depontius
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minor anecdotal contribution...

I have one system that for years has been a desktop, as well as my main (only) mythbackend server. Many years ago it started getting a bit flakey, doing spontaneous power-downs, I believe shortly after adding an extra hard drive for recording space. I have had syslog-ng running on that system since installation, but of course there was nothing in the logs because it would only be dumb luck for them to get synced before the crash.

I had a suspiction that the new hard drive might be causing the power supply to cave, even though it should have only been a minor power adder. So I did 2 things: 1 - I added an lm-sensors script to a cron job, reading the power supplies and termperature fairly frequently, sending the results to syslog. 2 - I added remote logging back to my main server. Next crash there was nothing in the remote log, and the most recent supply readings looked decent. I decided it was a flakey power supply, and bought a new one with a somewhat higher rating. The crashes stopped. In this case the remote syslogging was a negative result, but an informative one.
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