MultiTail: view multiple logfiles windowed on console

March 21st, 2007 edited by ana

MultiTail is an extremely configurable monitoring tool. With it one can monitor not only logfiles but also output of other commands as well (like rsstail, wtmptail (see users login and logout), nagtail (for nagios status).

MultiTail is a tool for the console. One can also run it, of course, in a terminal window.

When it runs, it can splitup the terminal in multiple smaller windows:

Lots of windows in Multitail

It can not only display in seperate windows but merge as well. So you can display the apache error logging merged with the access logging and if you like you can merge the output of, say, ping and rsstail as well. There are no limits to the number of windows or number of files/commands you merge.

Merging multiple outputs

A powerful feature is that it can apply colorschemes:

Color-schemes selection

Multitail in action inside a gnome-terminal:

Multitail inside Gnome Terminal

Colorschemes are available for all major applications (postfix, apache, sendmail, tcpdump, squid, etc), and adding new ones can be done easily.

Of course it can also filter out lines (or parts of lines) like with grep and sed but it can also convert parts of lines. E.g. in squid and qmail logging the timestamp can be converted to something more readable. It can also convert ip-addresses, errno-numbers and lots more. And if you would like to extend the conversions, you can let MultiTail invoke external scripts (perl, bash, python, etc.) for these conversions. Those external scripts can be used for the coloring as well.

Everything MultiTail can do can be configured in the configuration-file or via the commandline. As the number of options it has are quite large, it has on-line help as well. Also, if one doesn’t like commandline parameters then everything can be setup via interactive menus. When that is finished, MultiTail can write a shell-script to disk with which MultiTail can be started exactly like it ran previously.

It has too many features to list here, but they’re all listed here.

MultiTail is available in Debian stable (3.4.8), testing/unstable (4.2.0) and experimental (4.3.1) and in Ubuntu since Warty. The latest upstream version is 4.3.3. MultiTail is actively maintained. Requests for new functionality are very welcome and most of the time implemented in a few days. Bugreports too, of course.

Target users: everyone who uses the ‘tail’ command


Posted in Debian, Ubuntu |

One Response

  1. Yaroslav Halhenko Says:

    Neat! And I saw this post only 1 day after I configured a screen which has few windows with “tail –follow=name” commands ;-) On some ‘low bandwidth’ files it is better to use such “tail –follow=name /var/tmp/screenlog*” to see the change from the last changed file. This way you don’t need to stare at all of them at once trying to figure out if what is the last changed occured