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NEWSYSLOG(8) DragonFly System Manager's Manual NEWSYSLOG(8)
newsyslog - maintain system log files to manageable sizes
newsyslog [-CFNPnrsv] [-a directory] [-d directory] [-f config_file]
[-S pidfile] [-t timefmt] [[-R tagname] file ...]
The newsyslog utility should be scheduled to run periodically by cron(8).
When it is executed it archives log files if necessary. If a log file is
determined to require archiving, newsyslog rearranges the files so that
"logfile" is empty, "logfile.0" has the last period's logs in it,
"logfile.1" has the next to last period's logs in it, and so on, up to a
user-specified number of archived logs. It is also possible to let
archived log filenames be created using the time the log file was
archived instead of the sequential number using the -t option.
Optionally the archived logs can be compressed to save space.
A log can be archived for three reasons:
1. It is larger than the configured size (in kilobytes).
2. A configured number of hours have elapsed since the log was
3. This is the specific configured hour for rotation of the log.
The granularity of newsyslog is dependent on how often it is scheduled to
run by cron(8). Since the program is quite fast, it may be scheduled to
run every hour without any ill effects, and mode three (above) assumes
that this is so.
The following options can be used with newsyslog:
Instruct newsyslog to use config_file instead of
/etc/newsyslog.conf for its configuration file.
Specify a directory into which archived log files will be
written. If a relative path is given, it is appended to the path
of each log file and the resulting path is used as the directory
into which the archived log for that log file will be written.
If an absolute path is given, all archived logs are written into
the given directory. If any component of the path directory does
not exist, it will be created when newsyslog is run.
Specify a directory which all log files will be relative to. To
allow archiving of logs outside the root, the directory passed to
the -a option is unaffected.
-v Place newsyslog in verbose mode. In this mode it will print out
each log and its reasons for either trimming that log or skipping
-n Cause newsyslog not to trim the logs, but to print out what it
would do if this option were not specified. This option implies
the -r option.
-r Remove the restriction that newsyslog must be running as root.
Of course, newsyslog will not be able to send a HUP signal to
syslogd(8) so this option should only be used in debugging.
-s Specify that newsyslog should not send any signals to any daemon
processes that it would normally signal when rotating a log file.
For any log file which is rotated, this option will usually also
mean the rotated log file will not be compressed if there is a
daemon which would have been signalled without this option.
However, this option is most likely to be useful when specified
with the -R option, and in that case the compression will be
If specified newsyslog will create the "rotated" logfiles using
the specified time format instead of the default sequential
filenames. The filename used will be kept until it is deleted.
The time format is described in the strftime(3) manual page. If
the timefmt argument is set to an empty string or the string
"DEFAULT", the default built in time format is used. If the
timefmt string is changed the old files created using the
previous time format will not be automatically removed (unless
the new format is very similar to the old format). This is also
the case when changing from sequential filenames to time based
file names, and the other way around. The time format should
contain at least year, month, day, and hour to make sure rotating
of old logfiles can select the correct logfiles.
-C If specified once, then newsyslog will create any log files which
do not exist, and which have the C flag specified in their config
file entry. If specified multiple times, then newsyslog will
create all log files which do not already exist. If log files
are given on the command-line, then the -C or -CC will only apply
to those specific log files.
-F Force newsyslog to trim the logs, even if the trim conditions
have not been met. This option is useful for diagnosing system
problems by providing you with fresh logs that contain only the
-N Do not perform any rotations. This option is intended to be used
with the -C or -CC options when creating log files is the only
-P Prevent further action if we should send signal but the "pidfile"
is empty or does not exist.
Specify that newsyslog should rotate a given list of files, even
if trim conditions are not met for those files. The tagname is
only used in the messages written to the log files which are
rotated. This differs from the -F option in that one or more log
files must also be specified, so that newsyslog will only operate
on those specific files. This option is mainly intended for the
daemons or programs which write some log files, and want to
trigger a rotate based on their own criteria. With this option
they can execute newsyslog to trigger the rotate when they want
it to happen, and still give the system administrator a way to
specify the rules of rotation (such as how many backup copies are
kept, and what kind of compression is done). When a daemon does
execute newsyslog with the -R option, it should make sure all of
the log files are closed before calling newsyslog, and then it
should re-open the files after newsyslog returns. Usually the
calling process will also want to specify the -s option, so
newsyslog will not send a signal to the very process which called
it to force the rotate. Skipping the signal step will also mean
that newsyslog will return faster, since newsyslog normally waits
a few seconds after any signal that is sent.
Use pidfile as syslogd(8)'s pidfile.
If additional command line arguments are given, newsyslog will only
examine log files that match those arguments; otherwise, it will examine
all files listed in the configuration file.
/etc/newsyslog.conf newsyslog configuration file
/usr/local/etc/newsyslog.conf.d Each file in this directory will be
included by the default
Previous versions of the newsyslog utility used the dot (``.'') character
to distinguish the group name. Beginning with FreeBSD 3.3, this has been
changed to a colon (``:'') character so that user and group names may
contain the dot character. The dot (``.'') character is still accepted
for backwards compatibility.
bzip2(1), gzip(1), xz(1), zstd(1), syslog(3), newsyslog.conf(5),
The newsyslog utility originated from NetBSD and first appeared in
Theodore Ts'o, MIT Project Athena
Copyright 1987, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Does not yet automatically read the logs to find security breaches.
DragonFly 5.9-DEVELOPMENT January 29, 2018 DragonFly 5.9-DEVELOPMENT