TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Tips & Tidbits

Volume Number: 21 (2005)
Issue Number: 9
Column Tag: Programming

Tips & Tidbits

Centralized Device Logging With Tiger and Syslogd

by Aaron Adams

Many network devices, such as routers, firewalls, and wireless access points, have the ability to send logging information to other listening devices called syslog servers. Mac OS X uses a syslog server daemon to record its own logging information, and that same daemon can also be configured to accept logging information from external devices. In this quick tutorial, we'll do just that by editing a text file, and using a new Tiger feature.

With Tiger, syslogd is initiated upon system startup by launchd, a new Apple daemon that manages the instantiation of other daemons and processes. System daemons are launched with the aid of a plist, an XML text file, placed in /System/Library/LaunchDaemons, and a file in that folder, named com.apple.syslogd.plist, is what we must edit to enable external logging functionality.

It's probably simplest to edit this plist in the Terminal. Backing up this plist file before editing it is a good idea, so start up Terminal and enter this line at the prompt:

cp /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.syslogd.plist ~/Desktop/

For those unfamiliar with the Terminal, this command copies the plist file to the desktop for temporary safekeeping. The command to restore the file back to its original state is inversely thus:

sudo cp ~/Desktop/com.apple.syslogd.plist /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

Next, we proceed to edit the plist:

sudo nano /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.syslogd.plist

This line starts up the text editor nano as the root user to edit the plist file mentioned above. Scroll down to this line:

<string>/usr/sbin/syslogd</string>

...and add the following directly below it:

<string>-u</string>

Save and exit. The -u we've inserted is a switch at the end of the syslogd command that tells the process to listen on UDP port 514. Now that syslogd is ready to receive logging messages from other devices, we have to stop the current running syslogd process and restart it with the new option to listen.

sudo launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.syslogd.plist sudo
launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.syslogd.plist

launchctl is a utility that instructs launchd to load and unload daemons, among other things. To verify that syslogd is receiving logging messages from external devices, we can watch the system log in action with this command:

tail -f /var/log/system.log

The last screen-full of the syslog will be displayed. When new events are received by syslogd, they'll be displayed on the screen and written to the log. Control-c will terminate the syslog watch.

That was easy! Well... wait for it... there's a catch. (You knew that, didn't you?) As of 10.4.1, there is a bug of some kind that affects syslogd. Each day in the wee hours of the morning, your Mac runs a script called /etc/periodic/daily/500.daily. Near the end of that script, the syslogd process is killed using the old-fashioned Unix kill command and when it restarts, for whatever reason, syslogd simply ceases to function. Not only does it not pay attention to log messages sent from other devices, it doesn't bother to record logging information from the local machine.

Fortunately, there's a simple fix. Also near the end of 500.daily, there is a command to call up another file named /etc/daily.local. This file is intended to execute additional commands for specific machines on a daily basis, and it may or may not already exist on your Mac. Either way, let's edit (or create) it with the following command in the terminal:

sudo nano /etc/daily.local

The contents of this file are pretty simple.

launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.syslogd.plist
sleep 1
launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.syslogd.plist

Save and exit. This script stops and restarts the syslogd process via launchd so that it once again will listen for external logging messages. This script differs just a bit from the commands we used at the terminal. Since 500.daily runs as root and calls up daily.local, daily.local also runs as root, so the sudo command is not needed for launchctl. Also, we've inserted a sleep command to give the computer a second to catch its breath.

Finally, the daily.local script needs to be made executable with the following command:

sudo chmod 744 /etc/daily.local

That's it. Done. You are now logging away. Good job.


 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Firefox 37.0 - Fast, safe Web browser. (...
Firefox offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and casual... Read more
Arq 4.11 - Online backup to Google Drive...
Arq is super-easy online backup for the Mac. Back up to your own Google Drive storage (15GB free storage), your own Amazon Glacier ($.01/GB per month storage) or S3, or any SFTP server. Arq backs up... Read more
MacFamilyTree 7.3.4 - Create and explore...
MacFamilyTree gives genealogy a facelift: it's modern, interactive, incredibly fast, and easy to use. We're convinced that generations of chroniclers would have loved to trade in their genealogy... Read more
Yummy FTP 1.10.2 - FTP/SFTP/FTPS client...
Yummy FTP is an FTP + SFTP + FTPS file transfer client which focuses on speed, reliability and productivity. Whether you need to transfer a few files or a few thousand, schedule automatic backups, or... Read more
VueScan 9.5.08 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Iridient Developer 3.0.1 - Powerful imag...
Iridient Developer (was RAW Developer) is a powerful image conversion application designed specifically for OS X. Iridient Developer gives advanced photographers total control over every aspect of... Read more
Air Video Server HD 2.1.0 - Stream video...
Air Video Server HD streams videos instantly from your computer on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple TV. No need to worry about converting or transferring files. We took everything that was... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.7.5 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator... Read more
BusyContacts 1.0.2 - Fast, efficient con...
BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more
Capture One Pro 8.2.0.82 - RAW workflow...
Capture One Pro 8 is a professional RAW converter offering you ultimate image quality with accurate colors and incredible detail from more than 300 high-end cameras -- straight out of the box. It... Read more

2K Announces WWE 2K, Mobile's First...
It seems like this month has been pretty big for wrestling. First Wrestlemania, then 2K has announces that they're releasing  WWE 2K for iOS. It's a simulation-based WWE game where you'll get to play with several WWE superstars such as John Cena, ... | Read more »
How the Apple Watch Could Change the Fac...
The Apple Watch is still a ways out, but my previous musings on the wearable’s various features got me thinking: what might it be like a year after launch? Two years? Five years? What if it becomes a symbiotic part of the iOS framework to the point... | Read more »
Pie In The Sky: A Pizza Odyssey (Games)
Pie In The Sky: A Pizza Odyssey 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A game about delivering pizza. In space. | Read more »
Chosen Gives Hopeful Singers, Songwriter...
If YouTube videos and reality TV shows like The Voice have taught us one thing, it’s that there are a lot of people out there who are anxious to show the world their talents. And if they’ve taught us a second thing, it’s that there’s an almost... | Read more »
Android's Popular OfficeSuite Now A...
Once only available for Android devices, OfficeSuite has finally landed on the app store. The Mobile Systems app lets you view, edit, create, and share Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents as well as convert them to/from PDFs. It's touted as being... | Read more »
Warhammer: Arcane Magic is Coming Soon,...
Turbo Tape Games has announced that they're joining forces with Games Workshop to bring the turn-based strategy board game, Warhammer: Arcane Magic, to life on the iOS. | Read more »
Fast & Furious: Legacy's Creati...
| Read more »
N-Fusion and 505's Ember is Totally...
| Read more »
These are All the Apple Watch Apps and G...
The Apple Watch is less than a month from hitting store shelves, and once you get your hands on it you're probably going to want some apps and games to install. Fear not! We've compiled a list of all the Apple Watch apps and games we've been able to... | Read more »
Appy to Have Known You - Lee Hamlet Look...
Being at 148Apps these past 2 years has been an awesome experience that has taught me a great deal, and working with such a great team has been a privilege. Thank you to Rob Rich, and to both Rob LeFebvre and Jeff Scott before him, for helping me... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Adobe Brings Powerful Layout-Design Capabilit...
Adobe today announced the availability of Adobe Comp CC, a free iPad app that enables rapid creation of layout concepts for mobile, Web and print projects. With Comp CC, designers can rough out and... Read more
Apple offering refurbished 27-inch 5K iMacs f...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMacs for $2119 including free shipping. Their price is $380 off the price of new models, and it’s the lowest price available for... Read more
16GB iPad mini on sale for $199, save $50
Walmart has 16GB iPad minis (1st generation) available for $199.99 on their online store, including free shipping. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Online orders only. Read more
New 128GB MacBook Airs on sale for $50 off MS...
 B&H Photo has 128GB 11″ and 13″ 2015 MacBook Airs on sale today for $50 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (Model #MJVM2LL/A): $849 $50 off... Read more
13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pro (refurbishe...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pros available for $979 including free shipping. Original MSRP for this model was $1299. Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished Mac Pros for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The... Read more
Samsung Galaxy S 6 and Galaxy S 6 edge U.S. P...
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. has announced the Galaxy S 6 and Galaxy S 6 edge will be available in the U.S. beginning April 10, with pre-orders being accepted now. “We have completely reimagined... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (refurbished) avai...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $829, or $270 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.... Read more
Save up to $80 on iPad Air 2s, NY tax only, f...
 B&H Photo has iPad Air 2s on sale for $80 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $469.99 $30 off - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $549.99 $50 off - 128GB iPad... Read more
iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 1.4GHz iMac: $1019 $80 off - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $1189 $110 off - 21″ 2.9GHz... Read more

Jobs Board

DevOps Software Engineer - *Apple* Pay, iOS...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail...
**Job Summary** Job Summary The Lead ASC is an Apple employee who serves as the Apple business manager and influencer in a hyper-business critical Reseller's store Read more
*Apple* Pay - Site Reliability Engineer - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.