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Getting your scripts to log to syslog

A constant problem when people write scripts is that you end up with loads of different log files scattered across the file system. This brings with it the associated pain of parsing the log files, archiving the old ones, etc. etc.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your scripts to log to syslog? Enter logger, which is present on pretty much all UNIX systems.

At the top of your script, after defining the Korn shell (you are writing in Korn, aren’t you? You do expect your scripts to work across more than one platform, don’t you?) you can add the simple construct:

logger -p daemon.notice -t ${0##*/}[$$] |&

exec >&p 2>&1

And behold! Magical script entries in syslog – in this example, from a script called test_script running on an Origin 200 called frith:

Nov 25 17:40:41 frith test_script[17449]: [ID 702911 daemon.notice] scripty logging goodness

The IRIX manpage for logger says:

Logger provides a shell command interface to the syslog(3B) system log
routine. It can log a message specified on the command line, from a
specified file, or from the standard input. Each line in the specified
file or standard input is logged separately.

The Solaris manpage is a bit more verbose:

The logger command provides a method for adding one-line
entries to the system log file from the command line. One or
more message arguments can be given on the command line, in
which case each is logged immediately. If this is unspeci-
fied, either the file indicated with -f or the standard
input is added to the log. Otherwise, a file can be specified, in which case each line in the file is logged. If neither is specified, logger reads and logs messages on a
line-by-line basis from the standard input.

However the important thing is that logger takes the same key options and works in the same way – giving you a simple, portable way to get syslog entries from your custom scripts, cross platform.

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