logstalgia: pong-like apache log viewer

October 5th, 2008 edited by Tincho

Article submitted by Andrew Caudwell

Logstalgia (inspired by glTail) is a website traffic visualization tool that replays or streams Apache access logs as a pong-like battle between the web server and an unrelenting army of requesting hosts. It is rendered using OpenGL, so you’ll need a 3D accelerated video card to run logstalgia.


Requests appear as colored balls (the same color as the host) which travel across the screen to arrive at the requested location. Successful requests are hit by the pong paddle while unsuccessful ones (such as 404s) are missed and pass through.

The paths of requests are summarized within the available space by identifying common path prefixes.

Related paths are grouped together under headings. For instance, by default paths ending in png, gif or jpg are grouped under the heading Images. Paths that don’t match any of the specified groups are lumped together under a Miscellaneous section. Groups can be customized to the page layout of your website fom the command line by specifying a heading, an associated regular expression and a screen percentage.

The simulation can be paused at any time by pressing space. While paused, individual requests can be inspected by passing over them with the mouse.

Logstalgia can read from either a file or standard input. To replay an apache log just run:

logstalgia /var/log/apache/access.log

You can combine Logstalgia with other tools like tail and ssh to watch the access.log of your web server in real time. eg:

ssh tail -f /var/log/apache/access.log | logstalgia -

Check out a video of Logstalgia in action:

Logstalgia is available in Debian since Lenny and in Ubuntu intrepid. A version of the package for Debian Etch is available on the homepage.

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu |

4 Responses

  1. Xan Says:

    That is cool to look at and actually useful too. And thanks for the tip about SSH; I’d _probably_ have figured it out eventually…

  2. RzR Says:

    Funny, but the pong feature is not that usefull

    I would prefer a world map , and some way to follow sessions of users …

    Do you know other program that can visualize activity of a web server in real time ?

  3. dosius Says:

    great work!

    i’ve to check it out right now..

  4. Don Christie (normnz) 's status on Thursday, 20-Aug-09 01:32:21 UTC - Says:

    [...] [...]