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NEWSYSLOG(8)            FreeBSD System Manager's Manual           NEWSYSLOG(8)

     newsyslog - maintain system log files to manageable sizes

     newsyslog [-Fnrv] [-f config_file] [-a directory] [file ...]

     The newsyslog utility should be scheduled to run periodically by cron(8).
     When it is executed it archives log files if necessary.  If a log file is
     determined to require archiving, newsyslog rearranges the files so that
     ``logfile'' is empty, ``logfile.0'' has the last period's logs in it,
     ``logfile.1'' has the next to last period's logs in it, and so on, up to
     a user-specified number of archived logs.  Optionally the archived logs
     can be compressed to save space.

     A log can be archived for three reasons:

           1.   It is larger than the configured size (in kilobytes).

           2.   A configured number of hours have elapsed since the log was
                last archived.

           3.   This is the specific configured hour for rotation of the log.

     The granularity of newsyslog is dependent on how often it is scheduled to
     run by cron(8).  Since the program is quite fast, it may be scheduled to
     run every hour without any ill effects, and mode three (above) assumes
     that this is so.

     When starting up, newsyslog reads in a configuration file to determine
     which logs may potentially be archived.  By default, this configuration
     file is /etc/newsyslog.conf.  Each line of the file contains information
     about a particular log file that should be handled by newsyslog.  Each
     line has five mandatory fields and four optional fields, with whitespace
     separating each field.  Blank lines or lines beginning with ``#'' are
     ignored.  If ``#'' is placed in the middle of the line, ``#'' character
     and the rest of the line after it is ignored.  To prevent special
     meaning, the ``#'' may be escaped with ``\'', in this case preceding
     ``\'' is removed and ``#'' treated as ordinary character.  The fields of
     the configuration file are as follows:

             Name of the system log file to be archived.

             This optional field specifies the owner and group for the archive
             file.  The ":" is essential, even if the owner or group field is
             left blank.  The field may be numeric, or a name which is present
             in /etc/passwd or /etc/group.

     mode    Specify the mode of the log file and archives.

     count   Specify the number of archive files to be kept besides the log
             file itself.

     size    When the size of the log file reaches size in kilobytes, the log
             file will be trimmed as described above.  If this field is
             replaced by an asterisk (`*'), then the size of the log file is
             not taken into account when determining when to trim the log

     when    The when field can consist of an interval, a specific time, or
             both.  If the when field is an asterisk (`*') log rotation will
             depend only on the contents of the size field.  Otherwise, the
             when field consists of an optional interval in hours, optionally
             followed by an `@'-sign and a time in a restricted ISO 8601
             format or by an `$'-sign and a time specification for logfile
             rotation at a fixed time once per day, per week or per month.

             If a time is specified, the log file will only be trimmed if
             newsyslog is run within one hour of the specified time.  If an
             interval is specified, the log file will be trimmed if that many
             hours have passed since the last rotation.  When both a time and
             an interval are specified, both conditions must be satisfied for
             the rotation to take place.

             There is no provision for specification of a timezone.  There is
             little point in specifying an explicit minutes or seconds
             component in the current implementation, since the only
             comparison is `within the hour'.

             ISO 8601 restricted time format

             The lead-in character for a restricted ISO 8601 time is an
             `@'-sign.  The particular format of the time in restricted ISO
             8601 is: [[[[[cc]yy]mm]dd][T[hh[mm[ss]]]]].  Optional date fields
             default to the appropriate component of the current date;
             optional time fields default to midnight; hence if today is
             January 22, 1999, the following date specifications are all


             Day, week and month time format

             The lead-in character for day, week and month specification is a
             `$'-sign.  The particular format of day, week and month
             specification is: [Dhh], [Ww[Dhh]] and [Mdd[Dhh]] respectively.
             Optional time fields default to midnight.  The ranges for day and
             hour specifications are:

                   hh      hours, range 0 ... 23
                   w       day of week, range 0 ... 6, 0 = Sunday
                   dd      day of month, range 1 ... 31, or the letter L or l
                           to specify the last day of the month.

             Some examples:

                   $D0     rotate every night at midnight
                   $D23    rotate every day at 23:00 hr
                   $W0D23  rotate every week on Sunday at 23:00 hr
                   $W5D16  rotate every week on Friday at 16:00 hr
                   $MLD0   rotate at the last day of every month at midnight
                   $M5D6   rotate on every 5th day of month at 6:00 hr

     flags   This optional field specifies if the archive should have any
             special processing done to the archived log files.  The Z flag
             will make the archive files compress to save space by using
             gzip(1).  The J flag will make the archive files compress to save
             space by using bzip2(1).  The B flag means that the file is a
             binary file, and so the ASCII message which newsyslog inserts to
             indicate the fact that the logs have been turned over should not
             be included.  The - flag means nothing, but can be used as a
             placeholder when the path_to_pid_file field is specified.  The G
             flag means that the specified logfile_name is a shell pattern,
             which instructs the newsyslog to archive all filenames matching
             this pattern using the same options.  See glob(3) for details on
             syntax and matching rules.  The W flag in conjunction with the Z
             flag or the J flag means that newsyslog should wait for
             previously started compression jobs to complete before starting a
             new one for this entry.  When it is used along with the G flag,
             in the case when several logfiles match the pattern and should be
             compressed, the newsyslog will compress logs one by one, ensuring
             that only one compression job is running at a time.

             This optional field specifies the file name to read to find the
             daemon process id.  If this field is present, a signal_number is
             sent the process id contained in this file.  This field must
             start with "/" in order to be recognized properly.

             This optional field specifies the signal number will be sent to
             the daemon process.  By default a SIGHUP will be sent.

     The following options can be used with newsyslog:

     -f config_file
             Instruct newsyslog to use config_file instead of
             /etc/newsyslog.conf for its configuration file.

     -a directory
             Specify a directory into which archived log files will be
             written.  If a relative path is given, it is appended to the path
             of each log file and the resulting path is used as the directory
             into which the archived log for that log file will be written.
             If an absolute path is given, all archived logs are written into
             the given directory.  If any component of the path directory does
             not exist, it will be created when newsyslog is run.

     -v      Place newsyslog in verbose mode.  In this mode it will print out
             each log and its reasons for either trimming that log or skipping

     -n      Cause newsyslog not to trim the logs, but to print out what it
             would do if this option were not specified.

     -r      Remove the restriction that newsyslog must be running as root.
             Of course, newsyslog will not be able to send a HUP signal to
             syslogd(8) so this option should only be used in debugging.

     -F      Force newsyslog to trim the logs, even if the trim conditions
             have not been met.  This option is useful for diagnosing system
             problems by providing you with fresh logs that contain only the

     If additional command line arguments are given, newsyslog will only
     examine log files that match those arguments; otherwise, it will examine
     all files listed in the configuration file.

     /etc/newsyslog.conf      newsyslog configuration file

     Doesn't yet automatically read the logs to find security breaches.

     Theodore Ts'o, MIT Project Athena

     Copyright 1987, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

     Previous versions of the newsyslog utility used the dot (``.'') character
     to distinguish the group name.  Beginning with FreeBSD 3.3, this has been
     changed to a colon (``:'') character so that user and group names may
     contain the dot character.  The dot (``.'') character is still accepted
     for backwards compatibility.

     gzip(1), syslog(3), chown(8), syslogd(8)

FreeBSD 11.0-PRERELEASE          April 4, 2000         FreeBSD 11.0-PRERELEASE


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