Monitor logfiles in multiple windows with MultiTail

Supercharged

Article from Issue 164/2014
Author(s):

MultiTail is not only more powerful than Tail, it's also easier to use.

If you have ever done any system administration, chances are you have used tail [1] to watch the changes to the end of a file. MultiTail [2] is a supercharged version of Tail that uses ncurses to create multiple windows in a single console so you can view more the one file at a time. It includes options for starting a command with a new window or searching through its windows, as well as extensive options for customizing and manipulating the windows. The result is a command that is not only vastly more powerful than Tail, but easier to read and quicker to use as well.

MultiTail is packaged in many distributions and is also available as source code from the project website. It includes an extensive configuration file, /etc/multitail.conf for the system or ~/.multitailrc in the current account's home directory. How to edit either file would be an article in itself [3], but many of the choices are separate color schemes to indicate the various applications you are likely to use with MultiTail, ranging from the kernel or Apache to Squid and Sendmail.

The basic command is the name, followed by a space-separated list of files to open (Figure 1). Strictly speaking, the list of files should be prefaced by -i, but the option is only necessary if a command begins with a hyphen (-). Notice that each MultiTail window has a number that is used to manipulate it, as well as the file name on the title bar at its bottom.

[...]

Use Express-Checkout link below to read the full article (PDF).

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

SINGLE ISSUES
 
SUBSCRIPTIONS
 
TABLET & SMARTPHONE APPS
Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Logfile Viewers

    While users are surfing the web, listening to music, and writing documents, the kernel and various background daemons write information to logfiles. KSystemLog, Gnome System Log Viewer, and MultiTail will help you read and process logfile data.

  • Tool Tips

    Six Linux tools reviewed: FISH 2.0.0, BAD 0.0.2, BLINK, FPING 3.5, LNAV 0.5.0, TOMB 1.4

  • Command Line: File Viewers

    Practical tools such as cat, less, and head are convenient for viewing text.

  • Command Line: Searching Logfiles

    If your hardware or software goes on strike, or the graphical system or your Internet connection fail, checking the logfiles can often be a big help. In this month’s column, we will look at the command-line tools that can help you scour the depths of these critical files.

  • Command Line – Aria2

    Downloading files is central to modern computing. Whether you use your browser's function or rely on more specialized tools, you won't find a more versatile utility than Aria2.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95

News