For logrotated files one usually uses tail -F instead of tail -f to follow the log file contents. Does multitail(1) automatically follow the name instead of the inode (which likely changes with the log rotation)?

I sifted through the documentation and also searched on the web, but wasn't able to come up with a conclusive answer.

Thanks to the accepted answer I found that the man page does mention the option I wanted, but uses the term "descriptor" instead of "inode". So this question and the answer should be the glue for the next person researching the topic.

-f Follow the following filename, not the descriptor.

  For all files after this switch: follow the following filename, not the descriptor.

1 Answer 1


According to the multitail manual:

There are a few other options not fitting elsewhere, these are:
-f  This makes MultiTail follow the file. In case the original file gets
    renamed and a new file is created with the original filename, MultiTail
    will start watching the file with the original filename (the one you

To me, this implies that by default it follows by inode / file descriptor rather than filename.

A cursory reading of the source bears this out; in exec.c:79, the follow_filename var (set in cmdline.c:889 or ui.c:966) defines whether the follow-by-filename flag (-F, --follow=name, etc.) is passed to tail.

  • Thanks, that's it. I see that yet again it was mys search term which was the limiting factor. Jan 31, 2013 at 0:43

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