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This project is unfortunately abandoned by the author (gtk) and is therefore unmaintained. Feel free to take over maintainership. After all its released under the GPL. Thank you for your interest in paralogger.

Paralogger is a Bourne shell script to "tail" your system logs in pseudo transparent borderless Eterm(s).

Paralogger's purpose is to make setting up a "root tail" an easy set and forget.

Paralogger is not for any specific window manager. It works with both Enlightenment and Window Maker as well as all others that plays nicely with Eterm.

Why it might be useful

Because it is nice to know what is going on with your box. It also adds to the eyecandy of your desktop :-)


paralogger-1.0.3.tar.gz (Tarball)
paralogger-1.0.2-1rh73.noarch.rpm (RPM)

Debian packages

There used to be some unofficial ones, any takers?

(License is GPL)

What makes it different from similar scripts?

illustration Well, you could off course just tail -f /var/log/* in any terminal. If you are happy with this, then paralogger is not for you.

Paralogger tries to make the placement of the terminals (geometry) a little more friendly for the user. Normally you would be playing with Eterm options and the --geometry switch only to find out that if you switch your screen resolution later you would have had to readjust the geometry of the terminal.

What happens when you start paralogger, is that it detects your screen resolution. It then uses this information to calculate the base placement of the terminal based on where you want it to be on the screen. Like the illustration shows here, there are 6 predefined base placement modes.

These 6 predefined placement modes can now be specified from the command line like:

$ paralogger -tl /var/log/messages /var/log/secure


Let's say I configure paralogger to open the base window at mc (short for middle center). And my current screen resolution is 800x600. When I start paralogger the base window is in the center of the screen. I then quit X, restart X in 1600x1200 and start paralogger. The base window is still in the center.

It doesn't matter what screen resolution you are running because paralogger will calculate the placement of the terminal for you.

Modes of operation

You may have been wondering what I mean when I am talking about the base window. This has to do with the different modes paralogger can operate in. In single mode, only one window (the base window) get's opened and is tailing all the logs you have specified. In vertical cascade mode or horizontal cascade mode, one window is opened for each log relative to the base window, either below or to the left of this window.


Keep in mind that these are just examples.

With colortail:

paralogger -save -color -F nexus -H 5 -tint 0xff8080 /var/log/messages /var/log/secure

Click for a bigger image

Note the -save option, this means you can get away with running only: "paralogger -load" the next time because paralogger will load the options you specified from the configuration file.

With wildcards:

paralogger -vv /var/log/*

Click for a bigger image

Note that some files are still empty when tailing them here. The files are not colored either, because the default is to use regular tail. There are a lot more files in /var/log/*, but those that are known to be binary or not written to any longer are excluded from the list automatically based on certain criterias. This default behavior can be turned off with -nostop.

Horizontal cascade mode:

paralogger -f lightblue -hcas -F 5x7 -shade 50 -W 60 -H 6 /var/log/samba/*

Click for a bigger image

Here we specify to use horizontal cascade mode -hcas with a smaller font and width of the terminal than default. Observe that you will need a high monitor resolution if you intend to use -hcas with many files.

Similar programs

Here are some other programs with similar functionality:

Last update: September 15 2009 09:50 PM

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