Watching updates at the end of a file, with or without the tail utility

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122
votes
17answers
58k views

How to have tail -f show colored output

I'd like to be able to tail the output of a server log file that has messages like: INFO SEVERE etc, and if it's SEVERE, show the line in red; if it's INFO, in green. What kind of alias can I ...
82
votes
3answers
4k views

Does tail read the whole file?

If I want to tail a 25 GB textfile, does the tail command read the whole file? Since a file might be scattered on a disk I imagine it has to, but I do not understand such internals well.
45
votes
6answers
69k views

cat line X to line Y on a huge file

Say I have a huge text file (>2GB) and I just want to cat the lines X to Y (e.g. 57890000 to 57890010). From what I understand I can do this by piping head into tail or viceversa, i.e. head -A ...
41
votes
1answer
7k views

How to do a `tail -f` of log rotated files?

On a long running system I usually have a terminal with $ tail -f /var/log/kern.log or something like this open. But from time to time I have to restart such command because no new messages are ...
30
votes
8answers
13k views

How to obtain inverse behavior for `tail` and `head`?

Is there a way to head/tail a document and get the reverse output; because you don't know how many lines there are in a document? I.e. I just want to get everything but the first 2 lines of foo.txt ...
27
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does “tail -f … | tail” fail to produce any output?

Why does the following command not produce any output? $ tail -f /etc/passwd | tail After reading about buffering, I tried the following to no avail: $ tail -f /etc/passwd | stdbuf -oL tail Note ...
26
votes
4answers
42k views

How to monitor only the last n lines of a log file?

I have a growing log file for which I want to display only the last 15 lines. Here is what I know I can do: tail -n 15 -F mylogfile.txt As the log file is filled, tail appends the last lines to the ...
25
votes
1answer
1k views

Do I need to worry about “tail: unrecognized file system type 0xbeefdead”?

I'm trying to follow a regular text file with tail -f -n 50 filename. I get the information from the file just fine, except I always get this error message: tail: unrecognized file system type ...
24
votes
3answers
20k views

How does the “tail” command's “-f” parameter work?

$ tail -f testfile the command is supposed to show the latest entries in the specified file, in real-time right? But that's not happening. Please correct me, if what I intend it to do is wrong... I ...
24
votes
2answers
5k views

The 'less' command-line equivalent of 'tail -f'

I would like to open up a file using less, and have it automatically scroll the file similar to tail -f. I know that I can do less file, and then hit Shift-F to forward forever; like tail -f. I need ...
21
votes
4answers
4k views

monitor files (ala tail -f) in an entire directory (even new ones)

I normally watch many logs in a directory doing tail -f directory/*. The problem is that a new log is created after that, it will not show in the screen (because * was expanded already). Is there a ...
20
votes
9answers
32k views

Command to display first few and last few lines of a file

I have a file with many rows, and each row has a timestamp at the starting, like [Thread-3] (21/09/12 06:17:38:672) logged message from code..... So, I frequently check 2 things from this log file. ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Coloring different sources for tail

I'm watching different logs by tail -q -f /var/log/syslog -f /var/log/fail2ban.log -f /var/log/nginx/error.log How can I have the output of each log colored differently?
18
votes
3answers
13k views

Piping from grep to awk not working

I am trying to grep the ongoing tail of file log and get the nth word from a line. Example file: $ cat > test.txt <<EOL Beam goes blah John goes hey Beam goes what? John goes forget it Beam ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there a way to make tail -F beep?

Is there a way to make tail -F or less beep (ring the bell in a terminal) when new data comes in (a new line is added to the file). Or is there any other unix utility to do this on a linux or mac.
17
votes
6answers
11k views

Best way to follow a log and execute a command when some text appears in the log

I have a server log that outputs a specific line of text into its log file when the server is up. I want to execute a command once the server is up, and hence do something like the following: tail -f ...
16
votes
4answers
5k views

How do I make Vim behave like “tail -f”?

I would like to know if there is a way to make Vim behave like tail -f. Even the best Vim plugin I've found so far doesn't do what I expect. I really want to see the file update in real-time. Even ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I “cat and follow” a file?

A file is being sequentially downloaded by wget. If I start unpacking it with cat myfile.tar.bz2 | tar -xj, it may unpack correctly or fail with "Unexpected EOF", depending on what is faster. How to ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

How to do a continous 'wc -l' with gnu texttools?

I know of course that cat logfile.txt | wc -l 120 will tell me the number of lines in a file. Whereas tail -f logfile.txt will show me the new lines that another program writes to logfile.txt. ...
13
votes
7answers
15k views

grep and tail -f?

Is it possible to do a tail -f (or similar) on a file, and grep it at the same time? I wouldn't mind other commands just looking for that kind of behavior.
12
votes
2answers
1k views

“tail -f | iconv -fsjis” does not output anything

I want to tail -f a file, but its content is in sjis encoding, so I need to have it converted to the native (utf-8) encoding of my terminal. When I do tail -f x | iconv -fsjis there will be no ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

Output file contents while they change

I want to output a file's contents while they change, for example if I have the file foobar and I do: magic_command foobar The current terminal should display the file's contents and wait until, I ...
11
votes
4answers
11k views

Grep from the end of a file to the beginning

I have a file with about 30.000.000 lines (Radius Accounting) and I need to find the last match of a given pattern. The command: tac accounting.log | grep $pattern gives what I need, but it's too ...
11
votes
1answer
595 views

How to do `head` and `tail` on null-delimited input in bash?

find command can output names of files as a null-delimited strings (if -print0 is provided), and xargs can consume them with -0 option turned on. But in between, it's hard to manipulate that ...
11
votes
2answers
284 views

How to start tailing a file that has not been yet created

I use tail to monitor the progress of jobs that I know will write their progress to disk. Almost always, I know which file they will create before they start running (the jobs are dispatched by a ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

Follow a pipe using less?

Can less follow (by pressing F) a piped input (similarly to a file)? For a file that is being written to, the command less <file> will follow the file when pressing F. But if I have a ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Open a text file and let it update itself

How can I open a text file and let it update itself? Similar to the way top works. I want to open a log file and watch it update itself on the fly. I have just tried: $ tail error.log But just ...
10
votes
4answers
842 views

What is the easiest way to execute text from tail at the command line?

Sometimes I'm working on a new (ubuntu) box and I type git and am alerted: The program 'git' is currently not installed. You can install it by typing: apt-get install git-core If that happens I ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I make a shell script that sends output to a process

I'm currently running a server console program in a screen because I need to both read it and occasionally send commands. I'd like to run the app as a deamon in the background (start/stop it with ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How to have tail -f show colored output with vim?

In this question, Gilles answered Yet another possibility is to run tail -f in an Emacs shell buffer and use Emacs's syntax coloring abilities. Because I'm a vim user, I'd like to do this with ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

How to tail multiple files using tail -0f in Linux/AIX

I tried tailing two files using the option: tail -0f file1.log -0f file2.log In Linux I see an error "tail : can process only one file at a time". In AIX I see the error as "Invalid options". ...
8
votes
0answers
274 views

scroll through output using `less` or `tail -f` while keeping the header visible [duplicate]

I am trying to scroll through some data formatted thus- NFI T[PSEC] T[K] EKIN(PSI) E(RHO) ECONS ANNEE ANNER !> 1 0.00012 0 0.45873 16.26904 16.72777 ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

`tail -f` until text is seen

I've got a CI server with a command-line interface that allows me to remotely kick-off a job (jenkins CI server and the jenkins-cli.jar tool). After I kick the job off I tail -f the log (sorry for ...
7
votes
2answers
7k views

Reading from a continuously changing logfile [duplicate]

There is /location/of/thefile, which is a continuously changing logfile. The average density of refreshes is 4 per minute, the possible maximal refresh rate could be 30-40 per minute. Every refresh ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

Observe multiple log files in one output

Is there an easy way to do something like tail -f mylogfile but to have the changes of more than one file displayed (maybe with the file name added as prefix to each line)? Or maybe a GUI tool? I am ...
6
votes
2answers
747 views

Is it possible to follow a command (run repeatedly)? as one would follow a file using tail -f?

I have a script which produces a file 'Detail.out'. I know that the script is completed whenever the file contains a certain number of lines (roughly 21025). So I find myself sitting at the command ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Suppress 'file truncated' messages when using tail

I'm tailing a log file using tail -f messages.log and this is part of the output: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Fusce eget tellus sit amet odio porttitor rhoncus. Donec ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Tail log file on multiple machines over ssh

I'm trying to tail a log file on multiple remote machines and forward the output to my local workstation. I want connections to close when pressing Ctrl-C. At the moment I have the following function ...
6
votes
1answer
213 views

Is `tail -f` more efficient than `less +F`?

This article pointed out some reasons to use less +F over tail -f. Most of the reasons are about the features, not technical reasons: less +F can highlight, search, navigate through file. How about ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

How to follow (a la “tail -f”) a binary file from the beginning?

Is it possible to follow a binary file from the beginning, a la tail -f? This is useful in some cases, for example if I'm scping a file to a remote server, and at the same time I want to feed it to ...
6
votes
1answer
113 views

Not able to see the progression of a file with “tail -f”!

It's a surprise why now this command isn't working which earlier was. See I've the below command to run for backup. ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo tar -cvf /media/ubuntu/My*Linux/ub*data/zebra.tar ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I do the equivalent of tail -f with ls? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it possible to follow a command (run repeatedly)? as one would follow a file using tail -f? I would like to monitor files that are being downloaded to a directory in ...
5
votes
3answers
872 views

tail -f, Determine if a file is no longer being written to [closed]

I am using tail -f to follow the growth of a log file. I am having trouble finding a way to detect if the process that is writing to the log file (when it crashes or is otherwise terminated) is no ...
5
votes
3answers
405 views

Open a directory and let it update itself using “tail -f”

Similar to my last question: Open a text file and let it update itself; is there a way I could do the same but for a folder instead? As I have a log folder, can I use tail -f with a folder? i.e. $ ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Negative arguments to head / tail

Variants of this question have certainly been asked several times in different places, but I am trying to remove the last M lines from a file without luck. The second most voted answer in this ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

is there an alternative to tail -f that has convenient scrolling? [duplicate]

I'm usually inside GNU Screen or tmux, which doesn't give me excellent scrolling functionality. Is there an alternative to tail -f that allows me to quickly scroll up? A tool that is like most is to ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Show tail of files in a directory?

I have a directory that is too huge to browse by any means. Grepping returns argument lists too long, WINSCP crashes when trying to open the directory. Is there a way I can view just the last 200 ...
4
votes
4answers
288 views

Make tail not modify the charset of the terminal

In a linux terminal (CentOS) I am using the command tail --follow=name my-rolling-file.log in order to see the logs of my application. Sometimes in the log there is some binary data dumped (I dump ...
4
votes
4answers
7k views

How to get lines 10 to 100 from a 200 line file into a new file [duplicate]

I have file with 200 lines. I need to extract lines from 10 to 100 and put them into a new file. How do you do this in unix/Linux? What are the possible commands you could use?
4
votes
1answer
116 views

tail -f produces no output in Ubuntu live CD

For some test I start Ubuntu Live from USB. I'm trying to use tail command to show debug log, but it doesn't work. I also test opening two terminals (t1, t2) with this code: t1: touch a t2: ...