Logging system

Applications can log in two ways: according to their autonomous logic or via the system's log daemon: syslog
The syslog daemon has /etc/syslog.conf configuration file: analyze it in order to know where logs are stored.
Usually the directory /var/log/ is used for the system logs.

Many distributions provide tools to manage and analyze the system logs.
Logrotate is a well known log rotation tool which usually is configured in the /etc/logrotate.conf file and may have additional package-defined configurations in the /etc/logrotate.d/ directory

In order to understand what's happening on the system a brief analysys of /etc/syslog.conf is mandatory for checking the main logs positions.

Here is the basic logic used in the main Linux distro:

FEDORA logs the most relevant system messages in /var/log/messages, the mail messages in /var/log/maillog, the authentication attempts in /var/log/secure.
It uses by default LogRotate and provides the useful LogWatch to monitor and analyze system logs.
The command system-logviewer (Menu: System Tools - System Logs) is an handly graphical interface to check various logs.

MANDRAKE logs system messages in /var/log/syslog and /var/log/messages, mail messgaes in the directory /var/log/mail/ with different files for different logging levels, kernel messages in /var/log/kernel/, messages from varios daemons in the directory /var/log/daemons/, Mandrake's own configuration tools messages in /var/log/explanations, every kind of message on the tty12 virtual console, authentication data in /var/log/auth.log.
Interesting security related reports, not generated by syslog, but by Mandrake's own cronjob: /etc/cron.daily/msec are placed in /var/log/security/.
Logrotate is installed by default and supported by most of the packages.

SLACKWARE provides quite standard logging positions, with system messages in /var/log/messages and /var/log/syslog, mail messages in /var/log/maillog, authentication attempts in /var/log/secure. Logrotate is installed by default and supported by most of the packages.

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