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Is there any point in keeping logs on my laptop? This is not a server to debug problems via syslog. I occassionally want to look at dmesg | tail but that does not mean I need anything on disk. Wastes space and also the SSD has a limited number of write cycles.

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4 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

There is no point in disabling logging because of SSD characteristics.

SSD firmwares are even able to distribute repeated writes to the same sector 'wear leveling' - and the specified maximal write cycle count (for each sector) is quite high.

For example Hitachi specifies its SSD drives for '10 full drive writes per day for five years'. As a vendor, you don't just make up such statements if you want to stay in business. And independent computer magazines publish similar calculations.

About wasting space:The space is not really wasted because the system automatically rotates the logs, i.e. delete old entries after a duration-threshold. For example on my laptop /var/log only occupies 36 MiB. And this includes some non-default daemons, like webserver, databases etc.

Also keep in mind that dmesg does not include log messages from daemons, like crond, CUPS, MTA or something like that.

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I have personally never found myself looking through my laptop's logs, mainly because nothing critical has happened. Thinking back, I've never NEEDED to look at the logs for any of my personal devices (I know, this is a bold statement). Logs are a critical part of enterprise computing, but for a home user they are only useful in a handful of cases.

If you had a traditional hard drive I would say keep them, but seeing as you have a SSD and are concerned about writes I don't see a problem in removing the logging application.

I would play it safe and keep syslog on the computer, but disable it at every boot by placing the following in a startup script:

/etc/init.d/syslog stop
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Well, ok for the answer, but the command to use could depend on the OS, and in Linux from the particular distro. For example it will not works on Debian/Ubuntu, which use rsyslog. –  enzotib Sep 5 '11 at 17:45
    
The OP specified he is using syslog, not rsyslog or syslog-ng. –  MaxMackie Sep 5 '11 at 18:00
    
I am not so sure he intended so: the log file is called syslog also on Debian, but the daemon producing it is rsyslogd. And the service is often referred to generically as syslog. –  enzotib Sep 5 '11 at 18:06
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I totally agree with maxschlepzig. If you really want to reduce IO on your drive you can follow this guide to log on tmpfs: http://www.iamnota.net/sw:debianembedded

In fact I use this configuration on a router, but with additional logging to a syslog server.

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Try:

/etc/init.d/syslog stop

or:

service syslog stop

That will stop all logging

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This would only stops the running service, but do not disable it for next boot. –  enzotib Sep 5 '11 at 16:42
5  
It's also not what was asked -- he asked if there's a point to logging on a desktop, not how to shut it off –  Michael Mrozek Sep 5 '11 at 17:34
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