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log level is present and set to three. However I don't see it when I do a testparm

and I get next to no logs (I can see restarts and about it not being able to connect to cupsd) which doesn't seem like log level is anywhere close to three, but nothing more shows up regardless of what log level is set to in smb.conf.

This isn't a terribly complicated problem but I can't figure out a way around it.

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What's the version of samba? What OS? Set the log level to 5 and see if you notice a trace like INFO: Current debug levels:. Also, from the indentation of your grep seem log level is under some other [section] comment the current log level and move it under [global] (also log file) – Alex May 16 '14 at 22:29
testparm -v show your current printing? – Alex May 16 '14 at 22:48
up vote 3 down vote accepted

YMMV but with my version of samba (3.6.23) setting the log level works.

log level = 10

From the log.smbd:

[2014/05/16 17:10:23,  5] ../lib/util/debug.c:330(debug_dump_status)
  INFO: Current debug levels:
    all: 10

However, you cannot use testparm to test this because it forces the log level to 2. From the source (./source3/utils/testparm.c):

370 lp_set_cmdline("log level", "2")

In fact it looks like many of the utilities override the log level. I don't know why.

Edit: Try setting it to 10.

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