Definition: Log files
: UNIX has a strict policy of not reporting error messages to the user interface whenever there might be no user around to read those messages. Whereas error messages of interactive commands are sent to the terminal screen, error or information messages produced by non-interactive commands are ``logged'' to files in the directory /var/log/. A log file is a plain text file that continually has one-liner status messages appended to it by a daemon process. The usual directory for log files is /var/log. The main log files are /var/log/messages and possibly /var/log/ syslog. It contains kernel messages and messages from a few primary services. When a service would produce large log files (think web access with thousands of hits per hour), the service would use its own log file. sendmail, for example, uses /var/log/maillog. Actually, lpd does not have a log file of its own--one of its failings. View the system log file with the follow option to tail: tail -f /var/log/messages; tail -f /var/log/ syslog. Restarting the lpd service gives messages like: [Not all distributions log this information.] . Jun 27 16:06:43 cericon lpd: lpd shutdown succeeded; Jun 27 16:06:45 cericon lpd: lpd startup succeeded.
Source: Rute-Users-Guide / Linux Dictionary V 0.16
Author: Binh Nguyen linuxfilesystem(at)yahoo(dot)com(dot)au
> Linux/Unix/Computing Glossary