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Say, either for a Debian system or a Red Hat one.

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possible duplicate of find top 10 latest modified files – Gilles Nov 2 '11 at 23:51
up vote 4 down vote accepted

For real time monitoring you can use inotify-tools. It can either wait until a certain event occurs, or to run endlessly and report events as they occur. After installing, see man inotifywait for details.

The Debian package has the same name, the Red Hat package too.

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It won't monitor for new changes (unless you make a cron script out of it), but check out find's -cmin/-cnewer/-ctime options.

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The open source version of tripwire will do that. See http://sourceforge.net/projects/tripwire/ for more info. You may have to compile it for your particular OS, or maybe there's a package, but it can be set to provide a daily report of files changed.

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