Easy Linux Log Viewing with Log Viewer

Jack Wallen
Mar 13, 2009
Updated • Jul 8, 2014

If you administer a Linux system or you need to troubleshoot an issue, you know that the Linux /var/log directory can quickly overwhelm you. Where do you look and what are you looking for? What about view on a per-date basis? Not an easy task is it? It can be if you scrap the command line and fire up the GNOME Log Viewer application.

Log Viewer is a simple GUI tool that houses all your log files in one convenient location with a point and click interface and a user-friendly calendar that helps you navigate through dates.

Fire It Up

Starting Log View is simple. Go to the Applications menu and click the System Tools sub menu. Within the System Tools sub menu you will see the System Log entry which, when clicked, will ask for your root password. After you enter the root password the Log Viewer application will start.

Log Viewer
Log Viewer

When you first open Log Viewer it will most likely default to the Xorg.0.log file. You will have access to any of the log files within the the /var/log directory. And any of those logs that have dated entries will allow you to click through the calendar to view other dates of your log file. If the log file you are viewing does not have dated entries (or archived entries) the calendar will be grayed out.

To view archived logs you will click the Version dropdown which will reveal how ever many versions (or archives) of the particular log file you are viewing. For instance if I click on the Xorg.0.log file I have the current entry and one other archive. If I click on the messages log file I will see the current entry as well as archives 1 - 4.

You can also add a filter to your viewing. This will be very helpful when you are troubleshooting. Say, for example, you are trying to track down a particular rogue IP address within the secure log. Click the Ctrl-f combination to open the Filter text box and enter the IP address when viewing the secure log file. If the IP address you are searcing for is in the log file, any entry containing that IP address will show up in the viewing area.

Final Thoughts

I am a frequent viewer of log files. Any time I am troubleshooting the /var/log directory is the first place I turn. But sometimes searching for a needle in a haystack can require more time than I have. With the help of Log Viewer this task is made much easier.


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